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How To Make a Model Rain Garden: Day of Giving at Brown Elementary School

Posted By Mary Atkins on June 11, 2015

Wessler's Day of Giving is a regular event to give back to the communities in which we work. Our latest Day of Giving was spent at Brown Elementary School in Brownsburg, Indiana. 


According to their NPDES stormwater permit for Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4s), the Town of Brownsburg is required to educate school-aged students on stormwater pollution prevention.

The Town offers a stormwater utility credit to the schools for the educational programs that are conducted in the schools. Educating school-aged children about stormwater pollution prevention in a fun and hands-on way is a great example of community stormwater education

At Brown Elementary, our engineers spent the day with 85 second grade students. This was the second year that we volunteered at the Brown Elementary School to teach them about rain gardens. Each student built a model rain garden in a cup, and in this post we will teach you how to do this activity with your own family or community.

What can Rain Gardens do?

  • Collect water from streets, roofs, and yards and allow it to soak into the ground.
  • Reduce standing/stagnant water in front yards, ditches, and streets.
  • Reduce areas of standing water that could lead to mosquito breeding.
  • Naturally cleanse stormwater of common pollutants.
  • Provide an opportunity for stormwater to soak into soil, renewing groundwater.
  • Filter pollution in runoff.
  • Conserve water.
  • Improve water quality.
  • Protect rivers and streams.
  • Increase beneficial insects that eliminate pest insects.
  • Create habitat for birds & butterflies.
  • Reduce garden maintenance.


Build your own model Rain Garden!

Here's what you need:

  • Clear plastic cup
  • Pea gravel
  • Cheese cloth
  • Sand
  • Potting soil
  • Flower seed and water


  1. Place an inch layer of pea gravel in bottom of a clear plastic cup.
  2. Place the cheese cloth on top of the pea gravel to keep the sand from mixing with the gravel.
  3. Add a half inch layer of sand.
  4. Add about 2 inches of potting soil.
  5. Plant a flower seed and water lightly.

Check out the full photo album on our Facebook page.  

Key Elements for Creating a Storm Water Utility