Grand Rapids University Prep Academy
On the east side of the school building, a natural swale guides stormwater into two storm drains. Students studied the pattern of rainfall and determined where to add native shrubs, grasses, and perennials to slow down the flow and increase infiltration in a manner that emulates the natural character of riparian areas. To mimic a more natural condition, students studied areas along the Grand River and an existing bioswale at the Downtown Market. They explored both good examples of streambank planting that controls erosion, as well as poor examples that contribute sediment to the river.
This project identified for the 7th-9th graders a problem in the community and enabled them to solve a part of the problem at the scale of their schoolyard. The scope of the solution they designed and built also serves as an educational display. Fittingly, the Native Plant Bioswale at University Prep is located in a highly visible area referred to as the Outdoor Learning area.
Fostering Lifelong Stewardship:
Students are now more aware of the watershed in their hometown, and even in their own yards. They realize the impact of runoff into the Grand River in their own back yard, and are able to identify places where runoff is creating issues in their own neighborhoods.
Grand Rapids Downtown Market, Wellhouse, City of Grand Rapids
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality