Rain barrel art project teaches lessons in water conservation

Bay County youth help beautify their schools, reduce runoff pollution.

Bay County students paint rain barrels as part of an environmental art project

Bay County students paint rain barrels as part of an environmental art project. The barrels will be on display at various locations in Bay County during August. Photo: Katy Hintzen | Michigan Sea Grant

Bay County youth are taking a creative approach to improving water quality and increasing the visibility of green infrastructure in their community. More than 150 youth and 30 educators from five different schools and youth organizations participated in a rain barrel art project organized by Michigan State University Extension, Michigan Sea Grant and 4-H. The project was funded through a Community Action Grant from the Saginaw Bay Watershed Initiative Network with matching contributions from The Andersons, Inc. and Bay County Farm Bureau.

Youth from Washington Elementary, Hampton Elementary, Bay County 4-H, the Bay County 4-H Tech Wizards Mentoring Program and MacGregor Elementary learned about the impacts of stormwater and runoff pollution on water quality and painted rain barrels to be used at their schools and local public buildings. The youth also researched and designed educational signs to explain how rain barrels help reduce runoff pollution and conserve water.

The rain barrels and signs will be featured in a public art display showcased at several locations around Bay City throughout August 2016. Through the art display, Bay County youth will share their knowledge of green infrastructure and encourage others to take their own actions to decrease stormwater runoff and improve water quality in local waterways.

The art display will open 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Aug. 9, 2016, at the Bay County Board of Commissioners meeting, 515 Center Ave., Bay City. After the barrels have been on display at various locations they will be installed for use at Bay City schools and public buildings.

The barrels will also be on display:

  • Aug. 11-13, 2016: Bay County Fair, 800 Livingston, Bay City, Mich.
  • Aug. 15-21, 2016: Bay City State Recreation Area, 3582 State Park Drive, Bay City, Mich.
  • Aug. 22-28, 2016: Alice and Jack Wirt Library, 500 Center Ave., Bay City, Mich.
  • Aug. 29-Sept. 2, 2016: Bay County Building, 515 Center Ave., Bay City, Mich.

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