Planting clean water: Rain garden to be installed at Clark, April 18

A rain garden will be planted outside of the Bassett Admissions Center at Clark between 2 and 5 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18, hosted by Clark students who will also offer a public presentation about rain gardens, which are a way to filter polluted water before it reaches streams and rivers. Clark and Main South community members are invited to help plant the garden.

" The Rain Garden Team has made a lasting and positive contribution to sustainability at Clark and in the community."

~ Jenny Isler, Sustainability Coordinator

Last fall, a team of students researched and designed the rain garden as their final project in a course titled “The Sustainable University,” receiving approval for an Earth Day installation. The students collaborated with Sustainable Clark and with student organizations, Clark’s grounds crew and Physical Plant, the Blackstone River Coalition, the office of Worcester’s former Mayor Joseph O’Brien, and Worcester Polytechnic Institute students. The Clark Sustainability Collaborative provided most of the funding, with added support from the Admissions office, Clark Undergraduate Student Council, and Physical Plant.

“There is growing concern about pollution from storm drains; this dedicated group of students saw the problem, designed a solution, and stayed with the project long after their class was over,” said Clark Sustainability Coordinator Jenny Isler. “I love how simple a rain garden solution is — any homeowner can build one, and using native plants makes it a haven for wildlife, too. The Rain Garden Team has made a lasting and positive contribution to sustainability at Clark and in the community. Our hope is that Worcester residents will visit Clark’s rain garden and be inspired to make their own.”

The Sustainable University, which is taught by assistant professor Jennie Stephens, is a graduate-level course for undergraduates and graduate students together. Subtitled “Sustainability and the Role of Higher Education,” it is part of Clark’s Environmental Science & Policy program within the International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE) Department.

“Professor Stephens’ class was a great opportunity for me — coming in as a first year — to become acclimated to the Clark environment and be part of a meaningful project,” said William Maxwell, Class of 2015.