Middle School Students Solve for Runoff

May 1, 2018


Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) offers educational displays and resources to teachers and individuals who want to teach students and the public about water quality. Learn more on our Education page.

Teens pouring water into tubes of soils
Students at Maplewood Middle School turned part of their school’s lawn into a blossoming rain garden.

Now, every time a shower passes, students can observe three rain gardens on the grounds doing their job, capturing runoff. “When it rains, it fills with water. It’s very obvious the water is staying there versus running into the parking lot and down the street,” said eighth grade teacher Julie Cazett.

During a stormwater engineering unit at Maplewood Middle School, science teachers Sara Palchik and Julie Cazett encouraged their students to think of real world solutions to the runoff generated by lawns and parking lots on their own school grounds. After weighing the options, the students suggested planting a rain garden.

Little did they know, Sage Passi and her colleagues at the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District had also identified the school as a prime site for rain gardens to reduce runoff into impaired Kohlman Lake. Passi brings over 20 years of experience, working with students and community groups to build projects that protect area lakes and streams. The serendipitous timing meant that the eighth graders were able to make their ideas a reality. “It was exciting that kids who designed the solution could see what they’re learning in class connect with actual solutions,” said Palchik.

[Read more on Clean Water MN]

These blog posts are courtesy of Clean Water MN, a program of the Metro Watershed Partners, a coalition of over 70 public, private, and non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities metro area that works to inspire individuals to improve water quality in their own watersheds.