by Susan Greenfield
Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network earned a Girl Scouts Forever Green badge in 2012… well, not exactly. It was actually Brownie Troop 9132 of Milwaukee who built a 170 square foot rain garden at a child care center. However, they built the garden thanks to Root-Pike WIN’s Rain Garden Grant program and the generous support of funders, including Freshwater Future.
The grant program celebrated its fifth anniversary in 2012. In five years, Root-Pike WIN has funded 103 public and home-owner rain gardens. Freshwater Future has funded four of them with a combined square footage of 921 holding back approximately 36,840 gallons of rain water and snow-ice melt annually. Of the 103 gardens, 97 gardens remain functional and are holding back and infiltrating 872,240 gallons annually—a 95% success rate.
Root-Pike WIN credits their success to their educational focus. Those receiving Root Pike WIN grants must attend one of six public workshops taught by Root-Pike WIN in partnership with UW-Extension Cooperative. The workshops teach attendees about climate change and adaptive practices. They learn how to properly build a rain garden, install a rain barrel and many more actions they can take in their yards to reduce stormwater runoff.
A total of eleven rain gardens totaling 3,047 square feet and projected to infiltrate 117,880 gallons of rain water and snow-ice melt annually were funded through RootPike WIN’s program in 2012. Of those, three gardens, including the one established by the Girl Scouts, received funding that is directly attributable to Freshwater Future’s funding. Perhaps Freshwater Future deserves a Girl Scout badge too—but everyone knows a cookie will suffice.