For the past 2 years, educators in Northeast Iowa have been invited to bring their students to the Regional Urban Stormwater Demonstration (RUSD) Site on the Northeast Iowa Resource Conservation and Development Campus in Postville, Iowa. Visits to the RUSD Site include a tour of the urban stormwater best management practices and multiple hands-on learning activities that teach students about urban stormwater conservation and how communities affect water quality and flooding. Over 30 Northeast Iowa educational groups have visited the RUSD Site and taken part in the hands-on learning activities available thus far. Teachers who bring their students to the RUSD site are eligible for Watershed Guardian Grants to implement urban stormwater best management practices at their school or in their community.
Due to the closing of Iowa schools during the Spring of 2020, and the introduction of virtual learning in many schools this year, Northeast Iowa RC&D has developed a virtual tour of the RUSD Site. The virtual tour outlines each best management practice installed at the RUSD Site. Viewers learn about the function and importance of rain gardens, bio-swales, rain barrels, permeable pavers, and native plantings in our communities. While the virtual tour is geared towards an upper elementary and middle school age audience, it is a great introduction for all to learn the countless ways urban stormwater can be managed to improve water quality and reduce flooding in Northeast Iowa.
Northeast Iowa RC&D Environmental Education Coordinator Tori Nimrod noted, “The virtual tour provides a great opportunity to reach a wider audience in our efforts to educate residents of Northeast Iowa on the benefits rain gardens, native plantings and other urban best management practices play in reducing the impacts of flooding, and improving water quality in our communities. I hope by watching the tour viewers are inspired to manage their rain water runoff by implementing a best management practice at their home or in their community.”
Those interested in watching the virtual tour can access the video in a couple of ways, 1) Search “RC&D Stormwater Demonstration Site” on YouTube.com, or 2) visit the RC&D website at northeastiowarcd.org/projects/stormwater/
Teachers and student group leaders wanting to schedule an in person class tour, or apply for the Watershed Guardian Program should contact Tori Nimrod, Northeast Iowa RC&D Environmental Education Coordinator at [email protected] or 563-864-7112.