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E-M:/ WMEACís Rain Gardens Featured in Midwest Living Magazine

Enviro-Mich message from "thornapple river" <thornapple@hotmail.com>

July 6, 2006

For Immediate Release

WMEAC?s Rain Gardens Featured in Midwest Living Magazine
West Michigan Environmental Action Council


West Michigan Environmental Action Council?s rain garden program is featured in the July/August 2006 issue of Midwest Living Magazine ( www.midwestliving.com ). The popular magazine, a subsidiary of Better Homes and Gardens, is distributed throughout twelve Midwest states. The rain garden article is titled ?Drain Rain for Garden Gain?, and features an interview with Patricia Pennell, WMEAC?s rain garden program director. The article appears on page 58, along with photographs of the Carpenter Street rain garden in Grand Rapids, and WMEAC?s rain garden website, www.raingardens.org .

Rain gardens are designed to help alleviate the devastating effects of storm water runoff on our environment. Designed with a dip at the center to collect rain and snow melt, rain gardens are landscaped with low-maintenance native plants that hold and filter storm water. West Michigan Environmental Action Council has a lifelong history of protecting water quality in the Great Lakes region.

?This is such a thrill for us!? said Patricia Pennell, rain garden program director. ?We have worked on this project for over three years, with hundreds of volunteers and many partners. It is a tribute to all of them that our rain gardens are showcased in this way. We will look forward to enjoying a lot of visitors to our rain gardens this summer because of Midwest Living Magazine.?

WMEAC?s rain gardens are planted, groomed and cared for by WMEAC volunteers, students from local schools and colleges, and Michigan State University?s Master Gardeners and
Master Naturalists. The public rain garden addresses are listed on www.raingardens.org. Visitors from Indiana and Illinois have come to Grand Rapids just to see WMEAC?s rain gardens.

One of the most popular rain gardens, in full bloom from June through October, is located by the parking lot behind WMEAC?s offices at 1007 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. The rain garden can be viewed from the observation platform for the green roof on the building. The roof is covered with plants, which soak up 100% of the rain that falls on it during the summer months.

?It?s our rain garden on the roof,? said Patricia. ?Our offices are located in the East Hills Center (of the Universe). This is the first zero stormwater discharge commercial site in Grand Rapids. We use all our stormwater here to nurture lovely gardens. None of it carries any pollution into the storm drain system. If everyone did this, it would make a huge difference to water quality in the Grand River and Lake Michigan.?

?We are very excited about getting regional attention for our rain gardens,? said Lisa Locke, WMEAC?s Associate Executive Director. ?We take to heart the idea of ?Think globally, act locally,? and it is wonderful to know that our work here in Grand Rapids is reaching a wider audience.?

WMEAC?s rain garden program was initially funded by Steelcase Foundation, Grand Rapids Community Foundation, Frey Foundation, and the City of Grand Rapids. The program is in its fourth year.


West Michigan Environmental Action Council is a grassroots environmental advocacy organization that celebrated its 37th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, 2006. WMEAC was instrumental in the passage of the Michigan Environmental Protection Act and the Inland Lakes and Streams Act, and the founding of the Michigan Environmental Council, a Lansing-based advocacy group for statewide issues.


Lisa Locke, WMEAC associate executive director, 616-451-3051.

Patricia Pennell, Rain Gardens Program Director, 616-454-RAIN (or 616-451-3051 ext. 29)


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