Rain Garden Promotes Student Learning and Environmental Sustainability

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Article by: Joe Clark, clarkjx@pgcc.edu

LARGO, Md.—Promoting environmental sustainability and creating new educational opportunities for students are the driving forces behind the development of a rain garden on the Largo campus of Prince George’s Community College. The rain garden, made possible by a $26,628 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust Project, will be located adjacent to the stream across from the college’s Facilities Management Building. The rain garden will impact the college’s stewardship of the environment and provide real-world environmental learning experiences for students enrolled in the Environmental Studies program.

“We have planned student involvement throughout each stage of the development, implementation, maintenance, and monitoring of the rain garden,” said Christine Barrow, dean of Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Math at Prince George’s Community College. “Some of the active learning opportunities associated with the rain garden will be integrated into the curricula for courses in the Environmental Studies program,” added Barrow.

Prince George’s Community College recently launched the Environmental Studies program in which all students are required to complete introductory environmental biology course objectives. Students are introduced to key environmental science principles related to real life experiences and easily translated into a variety of careers. Implementation, maintenance and monitoring of the rain garden will be integrated into the curriculum of the course.

The rain garden will enable purification of surface runoff from a parking lot near the campus’ maintenance and facilities building and deter water likely to contain petroleum and other pollutants from entering the nearby stream. Efforts to promote environmental sustainability on the Largo campus have been steadily gaining momentum in recent years including implementation of bioretention areas, solar panel installation and continuous expansion of the on-campus recycling program.

Prince George’s Community College is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Two-year Education designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security (2010-2015). Established in 1958, Prince George’s Community College provides transfer and career programs that help students transfer to four-year colleges and universities and prepare them for the workforce. Each year, 40,000 students take part in more than 200 academic programs and workforce development and continuing education courses. Located in Largo, Maryland, Prince George’s Community College has additional sites at Joint Base Andrews, University Town Center in Hyattsville, Laurel College Center, Skilled Trades Center in Camp Springs, and Westphalia Training Center in Upper Marlboro. For more information, visit the college website at www.pgcc.edu.  

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