This flower-filled Larimer rain garden is officially open for outdoor education
Photo above of the rain garden at Lincoln and Frankstown avenues courtesy of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
The community flower garden at the corner of Lincoln and Frankstown avenues has been blooming since 1995. Last week, this thriving patch of land took on a new purpose: Pittsburgh Public Schools, Pittsburgh Community Services, the City of Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy have partnered to create a new rain garden system that will help retain stormwater and serve as an educational tool for local students.
The Larimer rain garden is located adjacent to Pittsburgh Public School District’s Lincoln PreK-5 School, and it features more than 260 beautiful pollinator-friendly native perennials, including black-eyed Susan, iris, coneflower, beardtongue and more, and nine native trees, including redbud, serviceberry and American hophornbeam.
Students from Lincoln PreK-5 helped to choose those flowers and design the garden.
On July 28, a group of 25 Lincoln students attended the ceremony to celebrate the rain garden’s official opening. Although the heavy rain kept them inside and canceled plans for a scavenger hunt in the garden, the kids did enjoy cookies inside their classrooms.
WHAT CAN KIDS LEARN THERE?
The garden offers outdoor education, helping local students learn about pollinators, the effects of stormwater on our water system, green infrastructure, how native plants and trees help with stormwater capture and more.
The garden now can prevent 2,500 gallons of stormwater runoff each time it rains, potentially intercepting up to 100,000 gallons of stormwater each year for the Larimer community.
“This project is exciting because it brings so many things together that we care about in this community and provides an opportunity for our youth to learn about green infrastructure,” said County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, who attended the rain garden’s opening event.
“Thanks to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, there have long been beautiful flowers and plants to brighten the neighborhood. Now we’re celebrating the addition of an innovative rain garden that helps address stormwater and showcases how to incorporate sustainable projects and practices into our community.”
Pittsburgh Community Services (PCO) received a grant from Richard King Mellon Foundation for the Larimer rain garden’s installation and upkeep, and asked WPC to partner on the project. Conservancy staff and contractors installed the rain garden in partnership with PCO and Pittsburgh Public Schools.
“This rain garden system is not only functional but educational and beautiful, and we are thrilled to provide this wonderful opportunity in Larimer,” said Cynthia Carrow, vice president of the Conservancy. “We are very appreciative of the project partners, the City of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh Public Schools and Pittsburgh Community Services.
Work began on the rain garden in 2020, though the official opening was postponed due to the pandemic. It will be maintained by community garden volunteers (another opportunity for students to get involved!) throughout the year with assistance from WPC staff.
For more information about volunteering in this or any of the Conservancy’s 130 community gardens, you can contact Lynn McGuire-Olzak at 412-586-2324 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit WaterLandLife.org.