Maggie Morgan, Four Rivers Basin Coordinator, and Vicki Boatright, Education Coordinator for Marshall County Conservation District, have teamed up with Kristen Chumbler and her fine art classes to inform students about water resources and the effects of nonpoint source pollution.
Morgan and Boatright have been visiting Miss Chumbler’s classes and teaching the students different ways to check pollutants and water sources. As water runs across or through the land during rainfall events or snowmelt, pollutants on the land are picked up and carried directly into local streams, including excess fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, oil, grease and toxic chemicals, to list a few examples.
Together, they have been making trips to the creek near the school, collecting data, checking PH levels and checking for different insects. Students have also created rain barrels to be stored throughout the county. The water saved in your barrel can be used to water flowers, gardens and lawns throughout the summer-even in times of drought. In addition, reduced water demand can save money by lowering use of municipal water supplies.
Rain barrels connect to your downspout, collecting rain water and decreasing the amount of rain that runs off your property into local streams, thus decreasing the amount of pollutants picked up and carried to local streams during precipitation events.
“Miss Chumbler is very good at incorporating different subjects into her art classes,” Morgan said.
The Rain Barrel Project was brought to Benton Middle School last year. Morgan said she hopes it will spread to other schools but they need to collect more barrels first.
The Marshall County Conservation District is hosting its annual Earth Day Celebration on April 19 at Mike Miller Park. As part of the celebration this year, the barrels designed and painted by Benton Middle School art students will be raffled. Tickets are available at the Marshall County Conservation District and Benton Middle School. Proceeds from the sale of the tickets will be used to purchase additional barrels and supplies to support the on-going rain barrel program for Benton Middle School students. Additional barrels will be installed at Mike Miller Park and at the Children’s Art Center in Benton upon its completion.