The Town of Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission and the Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in Valparaiso recently became the first two recipients of rain barrels through the Rain Barrel Demonstration Grant offered by Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction.
The Town of Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission will use the barrels for demonstrating green infrastructure best practices within its four-acre redevelopment site at the corner of Haglund Road and State Road 149. The water will be used for the small community garden on site.
Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center will use water from the barrels for their gardens and to help clean cages and equipment.
“We are very excited to have the rain barrels, as we anticipate they will not only tie in very well with our education outreach events highlighting water conservation and how clean water impacts wildlife, but also because it can be used around our facility to help water our wild flowers and maintain our garden,” said Nicole Harmon, wildlife educator for the center.
“The rain barrels will be implemented during our summer camps to teach the campers about clean water, water ecology, and point source pollution,” Harmon said. “Our plan is to have the campers paint the barrels, and we will then install them at the education center along with education materials for visitors to the center to see.”
There is still time for schools and community organizations in Porter County to apply for rain barrels through the Rain Barrel Demonstration Grant. Approved applicants can receive up to two rain barrels that they can install in public spaces and become active stewards of local watershed water quality.
The grant is available through Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction, thanks to funding provided in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Lake Michigan Coastal Program.
“We are a big proponent of water quality,” said Therese Haller, executive director, Porter County Recycling.
“We sponsor household hazardous waste collection events to give Porter County residents the best choice to dispose of products like chemicals and poisons without harming our water quality. It is logical for our agency to promote the use of rain barrels as a way to reduce the amount of pollutants impacting watersheds.”
Haller said examples of organizations that can apply for the grant include homeowners and property owners associations, community gardens, schools and parks, and those applicants can use rain barrels in public greens spaces, such as gazebos, parks and gardens.
“Applications will be judged on innovation, effectiveness, transferability, and sustainability,” she said. “We hope these organizations are able to model rain barrel use and help encourage homeowner use.”
Grant applications are available on www.PorterCountyRecycling.org. For more information, contact Therese Haller, 465-3615.
Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction is an agency dedicated to improving the environment and quality of life by providing services and educational programs which help residents reduce, reuse, and recycle.