Announcements / Progress

UVM Rain Garden Makeover by Engineers without Borders

The University of Vermont (UVM) Votey rain garden has undergone its transformation, thanks to Elle Mountain and the UVM Engineers without Borders.

The UVM team of Engineers without Borders at the Votey Rain Garden on one of their work days

The UVM team of Engineers without  Borders at a Votey rain garden work day.

Elle Mountain is a student at UVM who serves on the leadership team of the student chapter of Engineers without Borders (EWB). In the fall of 2017, she led the group in the renovation of a rain garden on the UVM campus. You can read more about their design in an earlier blog post on the project.

The EWB team, with funding provided by the Lake Champlain Basin Program, and technical support from the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Green Infrastructure Collaborative staff, were able to restore and re-design the Votey Rain Garden. They borrowed tools from the Plant and Soil Science Department and UVM Grounds Services, and had help from up to 25 volunteers.

Over two workdays, the team removed built up sediment, put in new soil, and planted three species of plants: Red Osier Dogwood, Windflower, and Hostas. Red Osier Dogwood is suitable for rain gardens due to its high tolerance to inundated soil; it also provides a dramatic effect in the winter with its bright red stems. Windflower is a native Vermont plant that has a high salt tolerance, and therefore, well placed on the roadside of the Votey rain garden. Although Hostas are not Vermont native, they are tolerant to salt, hardy, and require little maintenance.

The new plantings, Red Osier Dogwood -red stems - and Hostas

The new plantings: Red Osier Dogwood (red stems) and Hostas.

When the rain garden blooms in the spring and summer we can expect white and purple flowers being pollinated by bees, ladybugs, butterflies, and moths. More information on suitable plantings for Vermont rain gardens can be found on the Lake Champlain Sea Grant website. The Votey Rain Garden is featured on the Burlington Green Infrastructure bike tour map developed by a collaboration with VT DEC and the Lake Champlain Sea Grant.