Building the Case for Green Infrastructure: Outreach and Education
Communities across the nation are regularly challenged to engage and educate their community on strategies to improve water quality, such as green infrastructure. As communities vary in size, funding, and regulatory requirements, they often seek creative approaches to outreach and education. This webcast will address strategies and lessons learned from two dynamic outreach and education programs. Madison Quinn from Onondaga County, NY, will present on the Save the Rain program. Mike Heimos from Columbia, MO, will present on the Stormwater Utility Education Program.
November 15, 2016
Madison Quinn, Project Coordinator, Save the Rain Program, Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection
The Save the Rain Program, Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney’s award-winning stormwater management program, has a robust education and outreach portfolio. Since 2010, the County has been working to engage the community in the green infrastructure program in various ways. These include the County’s residential Rain Barrel Program which has distributed over 1800 rain barrels to date; the Street Tree Planting Program through which over 5,500 trees have been planted; public engagement meetings and design charettes; the third grade education program implemented in all 19 public elementary schools in Syracuse in partnership with Baltimore Woods Nature Center; and the newest component, the Connect the Drops campaign, the county’s new outreach program that aims to reduce litter in our waterways.
Mike Heimos, Stormwater Educator, City of Columbia, MO
The Adopt-a-Rain-Garden program is one initiative of many pioneered by the Stormwater Utility Outreach and Education Program. Citizen volunteers (individuals, families, groups or a local business) adopt and help maintain a city-owned best management practice (rain garden, bio-swale, detention basin, etc.) through general maintenance: by removing invasive plants, picking up litter, installing new plants, and mulching edges four times a year. Adopt-a-Rain-Garden commitments are two years and volunteers spend a minimum of 8-10 hours per year or at least three days working in their BMP a year. Stormwater Utility summer intern staff members provide an orientation and onsite training regarding the maintenance of citizen adopted BMPs. The program helps keep maintenance cost at a minimum for the Stormwater Utility and has become a successful part of the Stormwater Outreach and Education Program.
Madison Quinn serves as Project Coordinator for the Save the Rain Program at the Onondaga County Department of Water Environment Protection (WEP). She coordinates the Save the Rain education and outreach programs and curates the vast array of open source content on the Save the Rain website. Previously, she worked as Public Information Specialist for Onondaga County WEP and as Program Coordinator at the Onondaga County Executive’s Office. Madison earned a Master of Public Administration degree from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science & Policy from Clarkson University. She also volunteers with several nonprofit organizations including the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA).
Mike Heimos is the City of Columbia, Missouri Stormwater Educator. He coordinates education and outreach programs for the Stormwater Utility; city wide staff training on BMP’s for good housekeeping; and works with local community groups and organizations to help keep Columbia waterways clean and healthy.