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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - St. Ignatius, Oregon, Ohio, USA

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St. Ignatius, Oregon, Ohio, USA
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James12



Registered: December 2014
City/Town/Province: Oregon
Posts: 1
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Years of abuse has taken its toll on the earth, with its polluted water, overfull landfills, and dirty air, just to name a few. So, when my church decided to help the environment by putting some initiatives in place I thought it was a good idea. The church started a recycling program for paper and plastics, and would put helpful hints in the bulletin about things like conserving electricity, but I wanted to do more. I decided that I wanted to build the church a rain water collection system that could be used to water the five community gardens. Since the vegetables grown in the gardens are donated to the local food pantries I felt the rain water collection system would serve two purposes. First, it would help the environment and second, it would assist in feeding the hungry.
There are many environmental benefits of having a rain water collection system. It would reduce the amount of water being used from the city’s water supply. Nationally 30% of water usage is used outdoors. When you use rain barrels you reduce storm runoff and keep the water in the natural system and out of the sewer systems. When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides and other things from the polluted surface and runs into streams, lakes and other bodies of water. Runoff increases algae growth in lakes and excess soil alters the habitat for fish. Bacteria can even make water dangerous for recreation activities.
Shortly after my rainwater collection system was finished, our neighboring communities had a water emergency. For two weeks residence could not drink or bathe in the city water supply because of an enormous algae bloom that formed in Lake Erie. The city water was toxic and there was a shortage on bottled water. Babies did not have water for their formula and hospitals had to have water shipped in so they could provide safe and adequate care. Water is a very important resource that many people take for granted, and when it is no longer available panic and fear set in. Steps need to be taken to help protect our water and one thing everyone can do is collect and use rainwater.
If it rains ˝ an inch on a 1000 square foot roof you will collect 315 gallons of rain water. Toledo gets an average of 28 inches of rain from spring to fall. This gives the possibility of 17,640 gallons of water that can be collected and used for gardening, keeping it out of the sewer systems. Just think of how many gallons could be saved if everyone conserved water this way.
Rain water is also better for gardening than city water. Tap water contains inorganic ions and fluoride that accumulate in the soil and harm plant roots and microorganisms in the soil. Tap water also contains chlorine, lime, and calcium which will inhibit the health of plants and soil. Rain water does not contain the same additives found in tap water. It benefits plants in your garden by cleaning the soil of salt buildup, causing better root development. Rain water has a natural PH level and is highly oxygenated, which is better for watering gardens. When rainwater is used more plants are produced and those plants are bigger and healthier than those watered from city water. So, not only was my project beneficial to the environment, but it also provided the food pantries with more nutritious food.
To prepare for my project I spent a couple months fund raising and then gathered some volunteers who had skills that were needed to make my rain water collection system successful. For my rainwater collection system, I built a wooden deck that was two feet high, two feet wide, and ten feet long. On the deck I put four 55 gallon food grade containers and used PVC pipe to create a header that runs under the deck. I then connected the downspout of the garage whose roof I was using the collect the rain to the first barrel. On the last barrel I added an overflow pipe in case the barrels get too full. I added a spigot to the end of the header and purchased a garden hose that would reach the community gardens. Too make the area look nice I surrounded the barrels with a nice decorative lattice and used landscape bricks and river rocks around the base of the deck.
Although I am only 16 years old, I made a difference. I am very proud of my project and what it does to help the church, the environment, and the community. I know it will be put to good use for many years to come, and I hope others will see it and will want to build one for their church, school, park, or home.
· Date: December 2, 2014 · Views: 1722 · File size: 17.2kb, 3586.9kb · : 4272 x 2848 ·
Hours Volunteered: 97
Volunteers: 9
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 16 & 14 to 72
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