Owosso Students Turn School Eyesore Into Rain Garden

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A group of dedicated students at Owosso High School works to improve the environment, by turning a school eyesore into a garden.

The environmental club at Owosso High School have built a rain garden in front of the high school. It's an area to grow native plants and create a natural habitat, but it also has a larger purpose of helping remove pollution from rain water.

"Last year we came through and redesigned everything because it had become a nuisance and an eyesore for the community," said Nick Krueger, a science teacher at Owosso High School.

"I had first seen it and wondered why there was a patch of weeds in front of the school," said junior Samantha Traylor.

So Krueger led his environmental sciences students on a mission to transform that overgrown patch of weeds into a beautiful rain garden.

"First we went out and identified the plants, learned about the process of making a rain garden and what the function is," said senior Stephen Fitnich, president of the school's environmental club. "After that we removed the plants we wanted to keep and discarded ones we didn't want to keep."

And the garden the students redesigned doesn't just look better, it serves a greater purpose.

Instead of the rain water just collecting on the roof, a drainage system brings it through pipes and into the garden.

"So the pollutants aren't getting down into the water," said Traylor. "It's filtering out through the plants, which I thought was a really cool concept."

"It's removing a lot of pollutants people don't think about," Krueger explained. "Normally people think of pollutants as big oil spill, but they don't think of the small amount of pollutants constantly being flushed into the water system."

The school has secured grant funding to maintain the rain garden for the next three years. The students say the hard work has a very visible pay-off.

"It's a source of pride for me whenever I hear people commenting on how nice it looks," Traylor said. "It makes me feel good because I was a part of making it look how it looks."

Krueger says he hopes the project gives his students a love of being outside and an appreciation of nature. The environmental club will help maintain the garden. Right now, there is about a dozen students involved in the club, but the group is actively recruiting more students to grow the organization.

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