RISING SUN, MD – Overcast skies and the threat of rain seemed to have no bearing on a determined group of 11 hard-working Watershed Stewards Academy (WSA) studentsand their helpers as they set out on Saturday, May 5th to complete a stormwater management project at the Rising Sun Branch of the Cecil County Public Library.
With shovels, rakes and wheelbarrows the group worked diligently to construct a 150 square foot rain garden that captures and treats runoff from a portion of the library rooftop and sidewalks. The day-long project involved excavating and moving soil, placing a blended soil media called biosoil, and then planting a rain garden with an array of native plants including Yellow Sneezeweed, Great Blue Lobelia, Woodland Phlox, Pennsylvania Sedge, Wild Oats, Royal Fern, and several Red Twig Dogwood.
The project location was identified during previous class field trip where students evaluated the potential to install small-scale stormwater practices at different sites around the County. Following meetings with library staff and the development of a project design, the class participants engaged suppliers to generate material lists, cost estimates and developed a maintenance plan.
This class project is the practical application of what WSA participants have learned as part of a year-long training program on how to identify and treat stormwater runoff in and around their communities. As part of the WSA program, participants typically spend 60 hours in the classroom learning about stormwater management, community outreach and education, identifying resources and building partnerships to address water quality issues. Participants also spend time in the field learning about the installation and maintenance of small-scale stormwater management practices.
“We’re excited about the future educational opportunities that this rain garden will provide for local citizens who visit the Rising Sun Library Branch,” said Marshall McSorley with the Cecil County Department of Public Works Stormwater Management Division, “and we encourage everyone to stop by and visit the rain garden for themselves.”
Members of the WSA are currently working on an educational brochure and signage that will be displayed at the library. A fascinating time-lapse video shows the day-long project, from beginning to end, in a little over 4 minutes and can be viewed on our website at:
The WSA, now in its third year in Cecil County, is a partnership between the Stormwater Management Division of the Department of Public Works and the University of Maryland Sea Grant Extension. The program trains and supports community leaders in Maryland to serve as Master Watershed Stewards, who can identify and assess areas to implement stormwater management practices, educate local citizens, and assist the County in reaching its Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) goals.
The project would not have been possible without the interest and support of Morgan Miller, Director of Cecil County Public Library and other key library staff. The Cecil County WSA is also grateful for project supporters and vendors including the Octoraro Creek Watershed Association, A-1 Mulch, Chief Mountain Farms LLC, North Creek Nurseries, and Stancills Inc. For more information about the WSA program, contact Marshall McSorley at firstname.lastname@example.org.