Fremont Rain Garden

By Don Henning
Muskegon River Watershed Assembly

Fremont Michigan Students planting a rain garden at Fremont High School

Fremont Michigan Students planting a rain garden at Fremont High School

Recently, students from Terry Grabill’s eighth grade Beaver Island Group at Fremont Middle School got their hands dirty and in the process, learned a valuable lesson about the importance of environmental stewardship. In an effort coordinated by Dixie Ward, project manager for the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Mr. Grabill and his students spent the day installing a rain garden on the grounds of Fremont High School.

When asked about the value for the students Terry confirmed that everyone involved appreciated the significance of what they had accomplished. ”The kids worked very hard and were justifiably proud of the finished product. They realize that their efforts will have a positive environmental impact in their community.  We appreciate Dixie’s leadership and hands on involvement. This obviously could not have happened without her. This is the fourth time we have collaborated with the MRWA and we look forward to future opportunities.”   

According to Dixie, a rain garden soaks up and filters water created by rainfall as it runs off flat surfaces like rooftops or parking lots. As a result, plant roots absorb and purify dirty water before it can be flushed directly into rivers and streams.  It is a great idea that helps to keep our fresh water resources cleaner and cooler while providing habitat for a variety of birds and butterflies.

Yet a rain garden is a project that a crew of dedicated amateur gardeners can accomplish with a well-located patch of ground, a good selection of native plants and a willingness to get down in the dirt. A completed garden provides lasting benefits to the environment while often engaging members of the community in an effort that has tangible results.

The Fremont garden is just the latest of several that Dixie has installed throughout the watershed, including one at Velma Matson elementary school in Newaygo and at Camp Newaygo on Pickerel Lake. It will come as no surprise that the Fremont Area Community Foundation provides the funding for these and many other beneficial environmental projects in Newaygo County.

According to MRWA executive director, Julie Chamberlain, “we are privileged and fortunate to work with a generous partner like the FACF. In my experience, it is rare to find an organization with such a highly developed environmental conscience and the determination to make a difference.”  

In the opinion of Wes Miller from the FACF, they are also pleased with the relationship. “The Community Foundation recognizes that the natural lakes, rivers, and streams in Newaygo County help to make our area a great place to live, work, and recreate. We value the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly’s efforts to educate local students on how to be good stewards of our abundant natural resources.
Learn more about rain gardens and the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly.