Free rain garden workshop at Fitchburg Public Library

Spring is the ideal time to create a rain garden.  Please join us on May 12 for a 6:30 pm workshop about how to beautify your yard and help keep streams healthy.  Ed Himlan of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition will present a slideshow on the design and benefits of rain gardens.

119 West-Appleton reduced v.3Rain gardens attract birds and butterflies, while protecting local streams and ponds.  These gardens are planted with flowers, shrubs and grasses that are easy to maintain and thrive without fertilizers & pesticides.   The slideshow will explain where to place a rain garden, how to select plants and how to keep the garden flourishing as a beautiful accent for your home or business.

Storm runoff is a big problem as forests and fields are replaced by buildings, parking and hard surfaces. Rain garden plants and soils filter storm water and recycle nutrients that can harm water quality.  The bowl-shape design also allows rain to recharge the groundwater that keeps streams and ponds healthy during dry times.

Rain gardens can be placed in sunny or shady locations, and there are many plants that supply food and habitat for wildlife.   These natural areas make yards more attractive and nurture mini-ecosystems that you can enjoy watching.

This workshop is part of the Clearwater Revival Project.  Participants will receive a free Pocket Guide with helpful tips about rain gardens and other runoff remedies.  A shorter version of this Guide can also be downloaded from:  http://commonwaters.org/images/stories/pdfs/raingardn_gde.pdf

The May 12th workshop in the Garden Room at Fitchburg Library is cosponsored by the Montachusett Opportunity Council, Inc. and the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition. The program is free and no reservations are required.  For more information, contact Jenna David at 978-343-6259 ext. 228.

Tenth Annual Earth Day Celebration in Townsend MA

earth-day-2014Bring your family & friends on April 25, 10 am – 3 pm. for the Earth Day Celebration: “Water, Water, Everywhere?” at the Townsend Common, intersection of Route 119 & Route 13.

There will be plenty to do.  Nearly 100 vendors, crafters, businesses and non-profit groups will be at the festival – including the MA Watershed Coalition that will offer information about keeping water clean and healthy.

4-H Camp Middlesex will have food for sale and children’s games will be run by the NMRHS Relay for Life Committee.  Continuous entertainment including live music will be at the Townsend Common gazebo.

Items you can bring to Earth Day include returnable bottles and cans for Boy Scout Troop 10; outdoor plants for the free plant swap; ride-able, gently used bikes for Friends of Pepperell Recreation; and empty wine bottles for Blackmoon-Recycled Art.

Have boxes of files to be shredded?   Sordano Real Estate has contracted with a paper shredding company and files can be shredded for free in minutes. Also, there will be a donated textiles competition among schools and people from surrounding towns can participate. The good textiles will be donated to TEO and the not so good to Bay State Textiles for recycling.

Rain Date is Sunday April 26th, noon-4 pm.  If the ground is still too wet, an alternate location on pavement will be arranged. (If needed, there will be a sign posted on the Townsend Common with the alternate location.)

Soak Up The Rain

With the return of spring, we enjoy getting outside and thinking about home improvements. Yardwork and landscaping can also make a difference in keeping streams and lakes healthy.

Austin St raingarden[1]EPA New England has a helpful website that shows how to sustain local waters and improve your yard.  This Soak Up the Rain site provides free guidance about rain gardens, tree planting, rain barrels, porous paving and other ways to keep runoff from harming brooks and ponds. Home landscaping can use plants and soil to prevent pollution, reduce flooding and recharge groundwater.  These “green practices” will enhance the neighborhood, as well as attract birds, butterflies and fauna you can enjoy watching.

The Soak up the Rain website also has practical ideas for town officials, youth groups, businesses and lake associations that are looking to prevent or fix stormwater problems.  There are links for how-to guides, videos, mobile phone apps, and EPA’s Stormwater Calculator. The Calculator is a desktop tool that estimates runoff from a specific site using local soil conditions, topography, and rainfall records.  Home builders, landscape services, homeowners and community groups can apply this tool to consider low impact practices that protect streams and ecosystems. For more information, visit the website at http://www.epa.gov/region1/soakuptherain.