- Sponsorship -

Students plan, plant rain garden to help protect Rum Creek

Rum Creek will flow a little cleaner this summer, thanks to a rain garden installed by fifth-graders from nearby Parkside Elementary School.

Shortly before school let out, 150 students planted 2,000 native plants in a depression to collect stormwater runoff from roofs, sidewalks and parking lots that can carry pollutants into the creek. Instead, runoff is gathered by the plants into the soil, where it soaks in and is cooled and cleaned.

The students worked with several partners, including Trout Unlimited, Plaster Creek Stewards, Miller Pipeline (which donated excavation) and the City of Rockford under the guidance of teacher Tara Dzirbowicz. The project was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a regional effort to protect and restore the world’s largest system of fresh surface water.

It’s part of the Rogue River Home Rivers Initiative Project, a water-quality effort funded by the Frey Foundation, the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, the Wege Foundation, the Wolverine Worldwide Foundation and the Schrems West Michigan Trout Unlimited.

Dzirbowicz, whose students previously documented the removal of an old dam from Rum Creek, said she integrated science, reading, writing and public speaking into the rain garden project. They tested the health of the creek, researched possible solutions to improve it, and presented a plan that was approved.

“Real learning happens when we give students purpose,” Dzirbowicz said. “I have never seen such excitement over a project. Planting the garden was a huge reward at the end.”


How Much Greener Can You Get? Emerald!

- Sponsorship -
Charles Honey
Charles Honey
Charles Honey is a freelance writer and former columnist for The Grand Rapids Press/ MLive.com. As a reporter for The Press from 1985 to 2009, his beats included Grand Rapids Public Schools, local colleges and education issues. Honey served as editor of The Press’ award-winning Religion section for 15 years. His freelance articles have appeared in Christianity Today magazine, Religion News Service and the Aquinas College alumni magazine. Read Charles' full bio or email Charles.


The year of learning differently

SNN asked a sampling of students from across the county how it’s going for them so far in a school year of multiple instruction models...

‘I want it to look happy’

With help from generous donors, elementary teachers worked to make welcoming, kid-friendly space while following the rules of social distancing and sanitation...

New VP says ‘It feels like joining a family’

Aaron Romoslawski is the new vice principal of Sparta High School. He takes over for Stacey Rumsey, who was named Sparta High School principal last spring...

The changing of guard – as long-time educator and AD welcomes a new one

Godwin Heights Football Coach Brandon Kimble will take over as the district’s athletic director when Robert Hisey, dean of students and athletic director, officially retires Nov. 2...


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Related Articles

Small-town girl, athlete, talker, with her eye on the tiger

Kelly Amshey is the new principal of Rockford Virtual School. SNN gets to know her in this edition of Meet Your Principal...

The virtual classroom: 18 students, three screens and one busy teacher

Teaching online, from a classroom, requires multitasking and multiple screens for this fourth-grade teacher...

Oh no, I’m late! Oh wait, I’m not

Teacher Matt Banta wakes up in a panic on the first day of school, in his video for students about starting the school year online
- Sponsorship -


Engagement: The Most Important Measure of Student Success

Polls find that students’ engagement in their school work declines as they ascend the grades. Tests that don’t relate to their real-life experiences exacerbate the problem...


Food ‘angels’ support hungry kids through pandemic

They work all across Kent County, guardian angels with peanut butter on their hands and crumbs on their shirtsleeves...
- Sponsorship -


Maranda Where You LiveWGVU