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Vote Early, Vote Often

Calling all forward-thinkers!  All competitors!  All educators, community leaders!  People with common sense!

We would like to share an idea with you…it’s a great idea, and part of what makes it great is that, first of all, it’s part of a competition (ladies and gents, start your engines!), and second, unlike many ideas, it can easily move from proposal to tangible action with the involvement of an inspired and informed community.  That would be you! We have the knowledge, the tools and the man power, but we need your vote.

So, what’s the big idea?  Rain Bird has established a grant for The Intelligent Use of Water Awards,which gives $10,000 to fund projects that focus on water conservation and environmental sustainability for community green spaces.  An interesting twist is that the winners are 100% reliant on the number of online votes cast for a project.  It’s like the American Idol of environmental grants!  The program is particularly unique in that anyone – non-profits, homeowners, educators, retailers, industry professionals, you name it – can participate and submit a project proposal.

The horticulture staff at the IMA would like to implement the second phase of the rain garden that was built to capture run-off from the Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse parking lot in 2009.  That first rain garden has been incredibly successful, but it doesn’t account for 15,500 square feet of the parking lot where a directional shift in gradient directs water away from the rain garden. The parking lot sits at the crown of a hill where there is a ongoing need to capture the remaining portion of water to prevent erosion, filter  petroleum products and pollutants, and reduce the amount of sediment and run-off from entering directly into waterways, including the Indianapolis Central Canal which runs adjacent to the museum property.  The goal is to retrofit a section of the historic Interurban Railway below the current rain garden with a 3,450 square foot bioswale that uses native plants as a filtration system.  It is important for us to unite art and engineering in a rainwater management system that is useful, efficient and aesthetically appealing, and to be able to use this expanded project as a practical, instructive model for both the homeowner and professional.  Implementation of this project will involve a plant list of native grasses and perennials that will have lower maintenance requirements once plants are established, having thick plantings for the prevention of weed establishment and lessening the chance for exposed soil to dry out prematurely.

Greenhouse parking lot from which run-off is generated.

Original rain garden by Madeline F. Elder Greenhouse

Site for future bioswale in Interurban Railway.

It is a given that we are all motivated to action by different things, and while many of us will never reach the status of Rachel Carson or Aldo Leopold in our lifelong dedication to environmental advocacy, we should have an intrinsic responsibility for making a positive impact on our community and our quality of life with the realization of many small projects.  Whether or not you participate in it, the simple fact is that you are a part of your community and will be affected by what happens within it.  Water quality is so intricately tied to a community, and efforts made on even an individual’s practices are valuable.  In our case, we feel responsible for our rainwater run-off that adds to the stress of municipal sewer infrastructure and the risk of down-stream flooding, and the reduced water quality from eroded sediment and other pollutants.  In the longterm, we are looking at the direct ties between water and environment to improve wildlife habitat as a result of our efforts, and desire to share our success (and failures) with those who participate in our community.

Help us succeed in this; it is one more step forward, and the benefit belongs to you.

You can vote daily through March 15th here.

Filed under: Art and Nature Park, Greenhouse, Horticulture

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