Repurposed Land to Improve Pollution Control

Some of you may have seen what appears to be the mulched pond outside of the Campus Center and wondered what exactly it was, or what purpose it was serving. And now, there is an explanation: it’s a rain garden.

Professor Jackie Takacs, of the Environmental Science program, is heading this project. She explains that a rain garden is “a shallow depression that captures stormwater runoff, and filters out sediments and nutrients that would otherwise end up in our waterways and pollute them.” Thus, it will help out the St. Mary’s River, Potomac River, and the Chesapeake Bay.

The area where the rain garden is being started was chosen because the space was designated to hold water, so the depression was already made. The garden itself is low-maintenance, requiring “minor seasonal deadheading and weeding” according to Takacs.

Takacs decided to make the rain garden project a part of her ENST-450 class (Environmental Science for the K-8 Classroom) because they are “great outdoor projects that teachers and students can do together.”

Students in Takacs’ class are also very excited about becoming a part of this project. Amanda DeLand, a senior, is really enjoying the experience. “I like choosing the plants and things that are to be planted in the garden,” she says. “There’s a lot that goes into choosing which plants to put where, but I like choosing and planning out the native species to go into the garden.”

DeLand agrees that the rain garden will be beneficial in many ways to St. Mary’s, both environmentally and cosmetically. She explains, “The rain garden will definitely make the campus more attractive. The mulch pond [that it used to be] was just so pointless and out of place. It’ll give visitors a better impression of us.”

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