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Schools, Organizations Receive Rain Barrels for Conservation, Education


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Two schools and two organizations will be collecting rain water with the use of rain barrels thanks to a grant offered by Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction.

Porter County Career and Tech Center, Neighbors’ Educational Opportunities, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the Porter County Farm Bureau received up-cycled rain barrels through the Community Rain Barrel Demonstration Grant. Not only will the barrels help these organizations conserve water and enhance their environmental stewardship, but the barrels will serve as examples for others to learn about what they can do to make a difference in the environment.

“We will use the water to help maintain the plants outside the building,” said Jon Groth, principal, Porter County Career and Tech Center. The school is restoring the 1912 Grand Trunk Railway Station, 207 Bush St., Valparaiso, and converting it into a cosmetology school.

“The building is very visible to the public, so others will see the rain barrels and hopefully replicate the same idea at home,” Groth said. “We also recycle and reuse everything we can, so the barrels will educate our students as well.”

“Using rain barrels helps prevent water runoff from transporting ground contaminants into our local bodies of water,” said Therese Haller, executive director, Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction. “We hope the grant recipients’ rain barrel projects serve as great environmental inspiration to community members.”

Along with rain barrels, recipients receive signage that offers passersby additional education.

Other organizations that received rain barrels through the grant include Housing Opportunities, Church of 4 Seasons United Methodist Church, Porterco Conservation Trust, Town of Burns Harbor Redevelopment Commission, and Moraine Ridge Wildlife Rehabilitation Center.

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There is still time for schools and community organizations in Porter County to apply for rain barrels through the Community 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.

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 green spaces, such as gazebos, parks and gardens.

“Applications will be judged on innovation, effectiveness, transferability, and sustainability,” Haller 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, 465-3815.

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.

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