Caring for our Watersheds

Caring for our Watersheds

May 23, 2013 11:36 ET

Colourful Rain Barrels Accumulate Attention

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - May 23, 2013) -

Editors Note: There is a photo associated with this Press Release.

Rain barrels are designed to collect water, but one distinctive rain barrel designed by students at Daysland School in central Alberta is garnering just as much attention as it is water.

Butterflies, toads, dragonflies and other flora and fauna help depict a healthy watershed on a rain barrel designed by 20 students from grades five to 12 at Daysland School. It also helped the classroom win $1,000 through an international rain barrel giveaway and art contest sponsored by Agrium's Caring for our Watersheds ("CFW") program.

Dianna Kroetch, a teacher at Daysland School, organized their cycle of life themed rain barrel. "Our art teacher, Sandra Popowich, is phenomenal and was the artistic driving force behind the entry. She inspired the kids to do their best and pointed them in the right direction about thinking about what should be on the rain barrel," explains Kroetch. "She encouraged the students to do their research to find out what their local water quality is like, telling them, 'It's a watershed project so we should have animals that live in the watershed, representing the cycle of life.'"

"The students would work on it before and after school and at lunch time and a few kids who were taking Art 20 dropped some of their projects they were working on, to participate in this one," says Kroetch.

The idea of decorating rain barrels to promote environmental stewardship originated at two schools, located 3,200 kilometers (2,000 miles) apart. Making stewardship fun was easy for Kysha LaPlante and Dan-Elle Kramchynski from St. Edward School in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and the 2012 grade six classroom from Kenmore Middle School in Arlington, Virginia. As part of the CFW program these students decided it was time the community use rain barrels to save money, energy and collect water that would otherwise be lost to runoff; it's an even better idea if the barrels are inspired by the students!

With Agrium's help 300 free rain barrels were given away to communities in North and South America. Students were encouraged to paint the rain barrels and just for fun an art contest was held. A panel of international judges from community conservation groups selected their favourite - Daysland School won first place.

"Caring for our Watersheds is an opportunity to empower students and help them make their ideas a reality. The rain barrel giveaway was a great project to share with others and provide inspiration to preserve and protect the environment," says Lindsey Metheral, Agrium Program Advisor.

All entries can be seen on the CFW Facebook page.

CFW is a curriculum-based, environmental competition that encourages youth to improve their local watersheds. Students submit a written proposal explaining a realistic solution they have to address an environmental concern. Prizes are awarded to the schools and students who participate, plus implementation funding is available. The rain barrel project was one of the ideas that competed and won the implementation funds.

Kroetch says their school's industrial arts teacher plans on lacquering the rain barrel to help protect and preserve their winning entry. "The kids were so excited," says Kroetch on finding out they had won the contest. "They said 'We knew it was good, but we didn't know if we'd win.'"

The program is currently offered in Canada within Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario; in the United States within Colorado, California, Ohio, Virginia and Washington, DC; in Argentina within San Antonio de Areco and in Australia within Victoria. For more information please visit

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