North Dover Elementary Wins State's 'Rain Barrel Challenge'
Rain barrel will eventually be put to work at one of North Dover's gardens
The fifth grade class that designed the winning rain barrel, along with faculty, parents and Principal Colleen McGrath, attended the April 25 Barnegat Bay Blitz event at Cattus Island County Park in Toms River to display their barrel and help kick off the Blitz. They received accolades and a certificate of recognition from DEP Commissioner Bob Martin, and earned enthusiastic applause from dozens of cleanup volunteers, Barnegat Bay Blitz sponsors and partners, media, government officials, employees and other rain barrel contestants.
"The students used reference books, texts and online sources to make their drawings as realistic as possible," said fifth grade teacher Rosa Fisher. "They chose to focus on shoreline and woodland wildlife that live in Toms River and at Island Beach State Park."
Hands-on lessons and written essays about the water cycle, marine ecology, water conservation and the online voting process helped to enhance the students' curriculum this spring in science, language arts, math and social studies. After their ecological designs were painted on the barrel, the class added raindrops with individual student's initials in each drop to signify how humans are part of the water cycle.
The students also created a bulletin board in the hallway that provided directions for voting in the Rain Barrel Challenge. According to Fisher and art teacher Shelby Hand, the overall rain barrel experience compelled the class to work together, use their artistic talents and research abilities, practice patience and determination, and solicit support from other faculty, students, families and friends.
Many of the rain barrels that competed in this year's Barnegat Bay Blitz Rain Barrel Challenge will be showcased at public venues throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed this summer, to be seen by residents, summer tourists and daily visitors. When North Dover Elementary School's winning barrel is finally retired from touring it will be put to work at one of North Dover's gardens.
Rain barrels, according to the DEP, are generally 55-gallon barrels that are placed under the downspouts of gutters to collect rainwater that can carry pollution. In addition to reducing the amount of runoff that is carried into waterways, the collected water can effectively be reused to irrigate gardens and clean garden tools. The use of rain barrels is just one method of reducing pollutants that can be carried into Barnegat Bay from waterways throughout the Barnegat Bay watershed.