Sylvania’s local streams are on their way to becoming healthier as a result of a rain garden designed and implemented by Lourdes students Cindy Carnicom, Austin Duris, Ashley Gerkin, Jill Hojnacki, and Kelsey Schmidt. The team crafted plans for the rain garden as part of their ENV 432 Ecological Restoration and ENV 433 Ecological Restoration Practicum coursework, and through a grant from the Sylvania Franciscan Village Green Fund, saw the project realized last summer. Once completed, the garden will achieve a number of environmental benefits:

  • Capture and cleanse a portion of the 1300 gallons of annual storm water runoff from Carmel and Learning Center Halls by diverting water from 7 down spouts on both buildings.
  • Decrease polluted water inputs to Heath Ditch, a tributary of Ten Mile Creek, by using biological, chemical, and physical processes of ecosystems to improve water quality in the Ottawa River Watershed.
  • Increase native plant and pollinator diversity on campus with the propagation of 27 species and planting a minimum of 22 plant species
  • Reduce excess water flows into Heath Ditch and help reduce flash flooding.
  • Provide educational opportunities informing future and current students, staff, faculty, sisters, and neighboring communities about Oak Openings’ unique characteristics, the importance of wetland services to watersheds and water quality, restoration, green infrastructure, and problems with storm water runoff.

 Group installing the rain garden

“I am very proud of the students who worked so hard to get this project up and running. It is thrilling to see their efforts to implement green infrastructure in the Sylvania Franciscan Village come to fruition! I also offer our sincere gratitude to Lourdes student Sam Alvarado, Bryan Brockbrader of Wild Ones, Keil Farms, the Olander Park System, the Sylvania Franciscan Village, and the Toledo Metroparks Blue Creek Conservation Area. Our students couldn’t have completed this project without their help and support. More projects like this are needed in our region,” adds James Minesky, PhD, Environmental Sciences Associate Professor.