Posts Tagged ‘Sustaianbility’

Rain Garden Construction at Frazee Gardens Presentation

April 23, 2011 (Brownburg, Indiana)

Frazee Gardens hosted a special presentation on the need for rain gardens in our community. Kathy Dillon, Wastewater Superintendent for the Town of Brownsburg gave an update on the the City’s stormwater plans.

Below are the three presentations.

Cleaning up the Dirty Truth about Water

Tom Barrett of Green Water Infrastructure began by sharing with you the dirty facts about what happens to surrounding Indianapolis waterways almost every time it rains. After you understand the limitations we are faced with relying on our current storm drain system, you will begin to see why rain gardens are such a vital necessity in our urban landscape.

Here is a copy of Tom’s Presentation on Stormwater and Rain Gardens:

Native Plants for Rain Gardens

Ronda Fischer of Fischer Design, LLC will followed with a discussion about the benefits of using native plants in rain gardens. Native plants are already adapted to Indiana’s extremes in temperature and precipitation requiring less maintenance. They also improve infiltration, drainage and water retention while providing important wildlife habitat.

Here is a copy of Ronda’s Presentation on Native Plants for use in Rain Gardens:

Constructing Rain Gardens

Frazee Gardens installed a rain garden on site for homeowners to view as well as native plants that work best in rain gardens for our area.

Here is a copy of the Frazee Gardens’ Presentation on Constructing their Rain Garden:

Rain Garden Construction from Frazee Gardens (April 23, 2011) 

View more presentations from Tom Barrett.
Here are some comments from the participants:
I have a better understanding about native plants and how to build a rain garden.”
– Loren and Sandy Hunt
I would like to learn more about the relationship between the environment and human health.”
– Sarah Wood
My favorite part was having an actual rain garden and multiple speakers. Thank you for having the presentation.”

Green Infrastructure: Creating Sustainable Sites & Livable Communities

Tom’s next presentation, entitled “Green Infrastructure: Creating Sustainable Sites & Livable Communities” is May 12th at the Chicago Center for Green Technology. There is no charge for this presention. You can Click Here to Register.

Maintaining Native Prairie Ecosystems

Controlled or Prescibed BurningPrairie Fire Image

One of the most important factors in maintaining a native prairie community is prescribed burns. Prescribed burns are usually conducted every three to five years. Prairies are fire-dependant ecosystems. The primary purpose of the prescribed burn is to manage and reduce the layer of dead and decaying vegetation which naturally accumulates over several growing seasons. The benefits of prescribed burning are an increase in forbs or flowers for several growing seasons, an increase in plant diversity, and controlled burns release plant nutrients back into the soil. Additionally, prescribed burns control the growth of volunteer trees and shrubs. If left alone, a native prairie will grow into a forest.

Safety is Important

It is important to have a plan for a prescribed burn. Safety is the most important concern. Some things to consider are:

  • Time of year (spring is usually best).
  • Acceptable and unacceptable weather conditions. Do not burn in windy conditions or unusually dry conditions.
  • Create fire breaks.
  • Burn small areas at a time.
  • Have adequately trained personnel on hand (this activity might serve a dual purpose of training fire department personnel).
  • Have proper fire equipment on-hand so that the burn does not get out of control.
  • Notify neighbors and public safety officials prior to the burn.

Other Thoughts

If you do’t burn at all you will see a reduction in plant diversity. One or two plant species will dominate the prairie. Eventually, if left alone the prairie will turn into a forest.

The residence need to be notified of the burn. It is important to develop a public education program that explains why the City of Champaign is conducting a controlled burn. Do not conduct the burn when winds may blow smoke into the residence area. However, when properly conducted, a controlled burn has very little smoke. Fire will actually consume smoke. To experience this, let the smoke from a blown out candle drift into a the flame of a burning candle. Here is a link to a public education piece developed by the Minneapolis Parks Department: