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Teens get muddy while going green

By Shannon Ballard Photojournalist: Nick Swann - 10:04 PM June 11, 2014
PALMER, Alaska –

The day after a rainstorm, volunteers from a nearby by church camp take on the mud.

“Some true signs of hard work, muddy extra tuffs and trash bags,” said volunteer Maddie Courrier.

Maddie is no gardening expert but she knows that getting her hands dirty could protect and improve Alaska’s water quality.

“They told us to dig these up and break up the roots so they can grow a little bit more,” Maddie explained.

The project at hand is a rain garden. It’s green infrastructure that uses plants to capture, filter and soak up dirty storm runoff before it gets a chance to flow down storm drains.

The drains flow right into local rivers and lakes.

“There would be times I’d walk out here on my lunch hour and the ditch would fill up and the water would be shooting out on the street. It’s not going to do that anymore,” said Frankie Barker, an environmental planner for the Matanuska-Susitna Borough.

The rain garden outside the Mat-Su Senior Service Center is the newest and largest of 12 rain gardens in the valley, and the final piece of a three-year planning effort to better control and manage water runoff.

The hope is that the project will show home and business owners that they can also do things to preserve water quality in their community.

For more information on how you can get help starting your own rain garden visit Alaska Low Impact Development.

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