Washtenaw County Master Rain Gardener Program
This is a good example of:extending popular programs to install and maintain green infrastructure.
Rain Gardens filter and cool storm water before it enters streams and rivers. But siting and maintaining rain gardens for effective stormwater management requires special care. The Master Rain garden program extends the popular Master Gardener programs to create low input, high performing landscapes.
All around the country, Master Gardener programs educate homeowners on best practices for gardening and landscaping. Typically run by local universities and county extension programs, the programs highlight native plants and low input landscaping to reduce water use, fertilizer and pesticides. According to a USDA, survey in 2009, almost 100,000 certified gardeners operate in all 50 states. These volunteers, in turn, provide advice to their community members.
Like planted gardens, rain gardens can provide ecological services. The Washtenaw County Master Gardener program now offers classes in rain gardens. To apply, participants fill out a short survey about their experience and why they would like to become a Master Rain Gardener. The program costs $90 though there are scholarships and reduced rates for several neighborhoods. Participants must attend all five classes, and plant a rain garden to receive their Master Rain Gardener certificate. There is also an online course available for free.