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Halsted Middle School Students Install Rain Garden on School Campus

Monday, July 15, 2019


NEWTON- Halsted Middle School students who participate in the Choose 2 Connect (C2C) program recently worked side-by-side with the SCMUA-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group to install a rain garden in the front of their school. The project was modeled after the successful installation of another rain garden at nearby McKeown Elementary School in Hampton Township and is part of a much larger stormwater management initiative being led by the SCMUA-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group in partnership with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) and the William Penn Foundation as part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative.

The Halsted School rain garden will collect and filter stormwater that is running off of the school’s parking lot and will help to decrease the volume of polluted water entering the Paulins Kill River via the storm drains. The rain garden not only offers ecological benefits for water quality and pollinator habitat, but it has also provided opportunities to bring numerous partner organizations together.

With permission from the Newton Board of Education to begin construction, employees from the Newton Department of Public Works and Newton School Buildings and Grounds Department dug out the rain garden according to a set of design plans developed by Rutgers Water Resources Program. The SCMUA-Wallkill River Watershed Management Group then worked with the Newton School administrators, teachers, and students to incorporate the rain garden installation into the Choose 2 Connect program’s “Summer of Water” theme. During a week of programming, students learned about non-point source pollution, the difference between impervious and pervious surfaces, how rain gardens function, and the benefits of rain barrels for reducing stormwater volume. Students also had an opportunity to paint and construct rain barrels in addition to planting the rain garden with native flowers, shrubs, and grasses purchased from Cerbo’s Nursery. Funding for the rain garden was provided by the NJDEP.