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April 6: What is a Rain Garden?

GREENFIELD, MA – Come see the Greenfield Public Library’s rain garden, and learn how you can beautify your yard or community, while attracting butterflies, keeping our rivers and steams clean, and replenishing our ground water.

Ed Himlan, of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition, will present a slideshow on how to build a rain garden on Tues., April 6, 6:30 – 8:30 pm at the Greenfield Public Library. This event, organized by Greening Greenfield, and co-sponsored by many organizations, is free. Refreshments will be served.


“We are thrilled to be able to bring Ed Himlan to Greenfield and partner with so many wonderful groups,” said Nancy Hazard, co-chair of the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee, and organizer of the event. “Rain gardens have captured my imagination! They not only beautify our neighborhoods, but also help us rejuvenate the Earth.”

Rain gardens rejuvenate the Earth and reduce health risks by cleansing storm water runoff. They collect rain water from our roofs, lawns, streets and parking lots, and replenish the ground water that keeps streams flowing during dry seasons. In the process the garden removes harmful pollution from our cars, roofs or lawns. State and federal environmental agencies agree that stormwater runoff is the leading cause for damages to streams, ponds and water supplies.

These special gardens are planted with flowers, shrubs, and grasses that attract bees, birds and butterflies. They are easy to maintain and thrive without fertilizers or pesticides. Ed Himlan will present a slideshow that explains where to place rain gardens, how to select plants, and how to create this attractive feature for your home, business, church, or other location.

Ed Himlan is the executive director of the Massachusetts Watershed Coalition, which aims to protect and restore streams, ponds, and water supplies, reduce human health risks, and restore ecosystems. He has thirty years experience in community education and watershed management, and a degree in Natural Resources Planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to working with Paul Gorecki and the Greenfield Public Library on its rain garden, he has been involved in planning, designing and constructing over 30 rain gardens in Massachusetts.

“It was easy for the Planning Board to say “Yes” to co-sponsoring such an interesting event,” said Roxann Wedegartner, Planning Board chair. “Rain gardens offer Greenfield one more way we can seek to be a green community.”

Chelsea Gwyther, Executive Director Connecticut River Watershed Council, agreed when she said that “The Council wholeheartedly endorses the installation of rain gardens. Their simplicity and logic is undeniable. Rain gardens preserve groundwater, reduce nonpoint source pollution, and attract beneficial wildlife. The results are beautiful.”

On a more local note, Marie-Francoise Walk, Chair of the Deerfield River Watershed Council added that “Stormwater is probably the number one water quality problem in the Deerfield River watershed, particularly in Greenfield. I am thrilled that Greening Greenfield is being pro-active with the Library’s demonstration rain garden and the workshop it is offering on that topic.”

The workshop is organized by Greening Greenfield, a collaborative effort of the Greening Greenfield Energy Committee and the Town of Greenfield, which aims to use “greening” as the economic and inspirational engine to build a sustainable Greenfield so current and future generations can enjoy live in this beautiful abundant valley. The workshop is co-sponsored by the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the Deerfield River Watershed Council, the Greenfield Garden Club, the Greenfield Planning Board, the Greenfield Public Library, and the Western Massachusetts Master Gardener Association. For more information go to www.GreeningGreenfield.org or call 774-5667.

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