Public education about the water cycle and the benefit of rain gardens


Mount Vernon Community School PTA proposes to create and install a sign or series of signs to educate the public about the water cycle, how it relates to the health of our environment and how they can help keep our groundwater clean. The sign(s) will be placed on school property along Mount Vernon Avenue, near the new rain garden area of Mount Vernon Community School playground. The sign(s) will explain how rain garden plants are being grown to sustain the water table and clear it of contaminants, and will relate these benefits to both the recharge of underground aquifers and the cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay.  Specifically, the sign(s) will educate readers about how rain gardens serve to re-create the natural water cycle and reduce water quality problems. A rain garden is a shallow, landscaped basin that pools stormwater runoff on its surface allowing it to slowly infiltrate into the soil. Infiltration through the soil removes solid and dissolved pollutants. Some of the filtered stormwater recharges the groundwater while some is held in the pore spaces between the soil particles and rocks. Both groundwater and the pore space water are available to growing plants.  Presenting information in both English and Spanish, the sign(s) will be written to be understandable to a young audience and will be accessible for anyone walking down Mount Vernon Avenue, on the public sidewalk that borders our school. In addition to educating about the water cycle, this project will inform passersby of what they can do in their own garden or yard to promote the health of the water system.  We anticipate design, production and installation of the signs to cost approximately $2,000 and to be completed no later than spring 2016. The beneficiaries will be the students of MVCS as well as members of the community, since the signs will be accessible to all.


Timely and Relevant Educational Resource for our Community

With water shortages affecting the West, clean water for drinking and growing foods is a topic that affects us all.  I applaud Susan and her team of volunteers in making the MVCS playground not just a place for fun, but also for learning about our environment and what we can do to preserve it.

What's not to love!

What a great idea for an interactive and live view of a planetary process for our MVCS kids and for our Del Ray community!

Thanks Liz Johnston and Kim Fondren!

The tireless co-chairs of the MVCS PTA playground committee had the vision for this project, and for many others that will transform the school playground into a great place for the whole community to gather, play and learn.

Amazing Proposal

Not just Mount Vernon Students, but the entire Del Ray community will benefit from this wonderful project.  Thank you Susan and everyone else who put time into this effort!  Well done!


This is such a great learning opportunity for the kids.  My 5th grader is so bummed to be leaving MVCS as she says she will be missing out on "the best playground in the world!"  She'll be back to visit for sure!

This will help us do science education.

There is a great deal of scientific support for the idea that children learn concepts best when they connect them to actual lived experience. These signs in conjunction with the new rain garden area will help us do just that. The facts that the sign will educate the community about practical conservation they can do at home and support our dual language community ethos are a bonus.

What a terrific program!

I can't wait to have my children access this interactive, learning (and playing) environment.  

Play and learn!

Rain gardens will only grow more important as climate change brings more intense rain storms and growth requires more roads and houses on the land that used to soak up rain. How cool to integrate these important big ideas into an everyday play space that reaches kids and parents from all over the neighborhood - not just MVCS students.

Wonderful proposal!

Thanks Susan and everyone else involved in this great proposal for environmental education for our children and the public.

Susan does great work!

We are lucky to have her working on this.

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