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May 042011

Two young Rockford artists win a set of rain barrels for their elementary school.

The school will not only use them to water its plants .. but to help students better understand the environment.

These old soap containers have a surprising second use… teaching Marsh Elementary students about water conservation.

"I didn't know how the water got in, how they watered the plants with the rainbarrel."

"What it is, how it holds the water the plants have."

The student council picked third grader America Carreno and fifth grader Nelly Romero's drawings to send into I.D.O.T.s rainbarrrel contest. The girls won… and the teacher says the barrels will fit right into their lessons.

"Encouraging recycling, we recycle paper, all kinds of plastic products, on our own, we like to include the kids in plants understanding they're going to be stewards of the environment."

The 55 gallon barrels will sit under the school's downspouts… storing a free source of water. U of I horticulture specialist Meghan Bowe says that's great for plants.

"Plants prefer rainwater, it doesn't contain the fluoride and the chlorine that are normally in a city water system."

The lessons aside… the girls just wanted spring to show in their designs.

"I thought that it was going to be spring and that would be a nice idea for doing it."

"That day was sort of cloudy and I really wanted it to be sunny so I thought of rainbows and all the pretty flowers."

The barrels the girls won will be finished in June at the end of the school year… allowing kids to start taking water from the rooftops and putting it in their garden.