Ecology club adds rain gardens to Colonia High

Photo Credit: Mrs. Allen
While finishing planting in the field house rain garden, Mayor McCormac awarded Frankie Vasquez and Colonia High School with renewable energy awards.

By: Alexa Leviten, Managing Editor & Public Relations

Purpose of the rain gardens

The rain gardens are a part of a larger town-wide project to help manage stormwater. They are meant to capture water that would normally end up in the sewers, water reservoirs, and waterways. Having the rain gardens will bring awareness to the issue of areas that get overflooded.  It also keeps a natural landscape look but still making it more interesting than just grass. The goal of these rain gardens though is to help stop flooding in normal areas where they usually do. 

There is a mix of native species including small shrubs, grasses, and a lot of flowering plants. The color of the flowers are mainly blue and gold to represent Colonia High School colors.  All the purchases were made with the grant money they received and they partnered with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program to design the planting plans. The township green Team brought The Rutgers Cooperative Extension Water Resources Program together with Colonia because of their help with other projects in town. 

Grant writing process

Both Ms. Greffer and Mr. Atzbi have had experience with writing grants in the past. The process of it can be a tedious task and it requires a lot of research to cover all the information needed. They have both been awarded a number of grants in the past as well. This was the largest grant that Mr. Atzbi had applied for though. He was very excited and happy when he found out it was being awarded to Colonia High.

Mr. Atzbi, the Science and Social Studies Department Head states, “There were other schools that applied for the grant and several others who were awarded the $10,000 that we were as well as some who received $2,000. It was given by Sustainable Jersey for Schools and funded in partnership with the NJEA.”

The future awaits

Though the plants have been planted, there are a few things behind the scenes that they still have to wrap up. This includes ensuring that it is maintained and preparing for what it will look like next year. They are also still working on the greenhouse, hoping a new irrigation system will be installed soon. Ms. Greffer had received a grant last year before Covid-19 hit for a solar charging bench as well. They are still working to get that up and installed in one of Colonia High’s courtyards too. The most recent event they have done is a two-day cleanup at CHS to collect any garbage that had been around the school.