Not only do raingardens help reduce stormwater runoff from negatively impacting salmon and orcas; they are also a great place for outdoor learning! Both before and after raingarden installation at your school, Orcas Love Raingardens offers interactive classroom visits through our partnerships with the City of Tacoma's EnviroChallenger program, the Pacific Education Institute, and the Pierce Conservation District. It is our hope that through hands-on activities in your school's raingarden, as well as by involving students in raingarden design and installation, students will have a deeper understanding and appreciation of the role we all can play in reducing our community’s impact on wildlife in the Salish Sea.
Orcas Love Raingardens is here both to help coordinate raingarden installation and maintenance and to connect you with educational resources. As part of our classroom engagement, we suggest scheduling three or more classroom visits with our partners. Each visit would address a different theme, building to a hands-on project. The themes we recommend are:
- Identifying the problem - Overview of the problem of stormwater runoff and how it impacts salmon and orcas. Raingardens and green stormwater infrastructure can be introduced as one solution.
- Investigating the solution - There are several activities students can do to calculate the stormwater generated on campus. There are also activities they can do to help with raingarden planning (conducting soil infiltration tests, researching plants for the raingarden, designing the raingarden layout, conducting a maintenance check in the spring, etc.)
- Taking action – This is the hands-on planting and/or maintenance aspect of the project. We will work with you to coordinate on a date and time that works best for you and your students. Plantings are recommended to take place in October or November.
Classroom visits are always optional - we will never require you to schedule classroom visits in order to receive financial assistance with raingarden installation. If you do choose to schedule these visits, they can be tailored to meet your specific needs and for your grade level.
Between visits, teachers are welcome to use any of the free resources available in our curriculum library. Again, using these is entirely optional.