JOPLIN, MO.--- Some local students got some extra time outside of school today, trading the classroom for the great outdoors. Cecil Floyd third graders got the chance to build a rain garden. Describing the process was a bit tough for some of them, but they all agreed it is a good thing.
"We're helping plants grow and putting dirt and moisture on it," said Michael McCallister, Cecil Floyd 3rd Grade Student.
"We're putting the small ones in the front. Right now, we're putting in the foxglove beardtongue plant," said Jayla Ballard, Cecil Floyd 3rd Grade Student.
"There's a big ring around it and the rain falls, it doesn't fall out and make a puddle," said Jack Riley, Cecil Floyd 3rd Grade Student.
Cecil Floyd's newest garden had plenty of enthusiastic volunteers. The students worked under the guidance of the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center.
"We want to create that sense of ownership. That's why we wanted to have the kids involved, because we want them to feel pride in creating this," said Chris Pistole, Wildcat Glades Education Director.
Workers picked a spot near the school that was already seeing erosion from rainwater runoff.
"So we're here by this gazebo, we're catching some of the rainwater off the gazebo. It gets funneled into the rain garden where it can be reabsorbed into the ground, and that helps to reduce the runoff that goes into local streams and also potential sources of pollution," said Pistole.
That rainwater runoff waters the garden, which has native plants that do well in both wet and dry conditions.
"So that water then slowly soaks back into the ground. We heavily mulch to help keep down the weeds and it helps to keep the moisture in," said Pistole.
The project was underwritten by an EPA grant, along with a donation of mulch from Joplin Waste Paper Recycling. A second rain garden was installed at Eastmoreland Elementary this afternoon. A total of eight will be installed by the end of the project.