Rain Gardens (Raingers)

What is a Rain Garden?

A rain garden is a sunken garden designed to capture, absorb and filter stormwater. During heavy rainfalls and after seasonal snowmelts, stormwater runs off impervious surfaces, accumulating pollutants along the way and depositing them into streams and storm drains, contributing to the degradation of Hamilton Harbour’s water quality.

A strategically placed rain garden will intercept the flow of stormwater and allow water to slowly infiltrate into the ground rather than enter the storm drain. Compared to a conventional patch of lawn, a rain garden increases ground water infiltration by about 30%. Rain gardens are low impact development stormwater management tools that link closely to the City of Hamilton Stormwater Management Master Plan. In addition to reducing stormwater runoff, rain gardens provide habitat and food for a variety of birds and butterflies. 
BARC is excited to be partnering with Green Venture over the next three years to build rain gardens in schools throughout the Hamilton Harbour watershed.

Why Build a Rain Garden at Your School?

Climate change is now a very present and complex reality for many communities in Ontario. Rain gardens provide the perfect setting to learn about climate change and connections to water quality, habitat creation and the impact of student actions on protecting Hamilton Harbour and its watershed. The plants in a rain garden have high tolerance for excess moisture and increased levels of nutrients often found in stormwater. Rain gardens can be used as teaching gardens in any grade level as wonderful resources for enhancing science, social studies, creative writing and art. Rain gardens offer an opportunity to teach about plant adaptations as students learn about the deep rooted species in this type of garden and their efficient manner of removing deadly pollutants. These gardens can be a powerful tool to make connections among climate, land development, water quality, and personal actions.

Rain Garden Curriculum Links:  

Grade 1 • Needs and Characteristics of Living Things
Grade 2 • Growth and Changes in Animals
Grade 3 • Growth and Changes in Plants
Grade 4 • Habitats and Communities 
Grade 5 • Conservation of Energy and Resources
Grade 6 • Biodiversity
Grade 7 • Interactions in the Environment
Grade 8 • Water Systems