A team of Anne Arundel Community College volunteers recently planted a rain garden at the entry to the employee parking area on the Arnold campus, using leaf compost, plants and mulch purchased with funds from a grant from the Unity Gardens Inc. Greening Program.
The 300-square-foot garden is diverting runoff from Dividing Creek, a tributary of the Magothy River. The project was a collaborative effort between faculty from the college Biology department, Professional and Support Staff Organization (PSSO) members, the college Facilities department and its Landscaping Committee. Professors of Botany and Horticulture and a professional landscaper who is a PSSO member designed the project.
Volunteers planting the garden as part of Earth Day activities included faculty, staff and students from Botany and Environmental Science classes. Plants include coneflower, black-eyed susan, red cardinal flower, iris, blue-eyed grass, sweetbay magnolia, winterberry, summersweet and buttonbush. These native plants will tolerate drought conditions as well as provide a food source and cover for birds and butterflies.
Unity Gardens is a nonprofit organization based in Anne Arundel County that helps build partnerships by creating green projects, promoting environmental enhancement and environmental education. This rain garden provides employees entering the lot with a daily visual reminder about environmentally friendly storm water management techniques.
Student volunteers will maintain the garden through AACC’s Service-Learning Program. They will perform the volunteer work as part of their grade in classes that have a service-learning component or for extra credit. AACC has several other rain gardens on the Arnold campus near the dining hall and its adjacent parking lot as well as beside Ring Road.