A warm 70-degree afternoon set the perfect Spring stage for our first-ever rain barrel workshop at Wilderness Road State Park with participants learning to create their new tools through a PowerPoint presentation, as well as a hands-on demonstration.
Participants of all ages created 20 barrels to be used for the collection of rainwater from the roofs of their home. Each barrel was constructed from a 55-gallon drum, with participants learning to use a jig-saw to cut out the top, a hole-saw to cut out for the overflow and spigot and good old fashioned elbow grease to complete the project.
A plastic colander, or strainer, was used on the top, to act as a screen to filter incoming water. Two PVC fittings made up the overflow connection with rubber hoses clamped on to allow each participant to feed overflow water away from their homes’ foundation. Participants unable to drill the holes, make the cuts and/or make all the connections, were assisted by park staff, including myself and Jeff Smith.
The PowerPoint portion of the workshop focused on water conservation and how the Earth acts as a natural water purifier. We also explained that like any filter, too much contamination will overwhelm the Earth, which will be unable to fully purify our water.
The collection of rainwater works two-fold: acting as a buffer to keep rainwater from leeching through our fertilized yards and into nearby streams, thus polluting them; and because rainwater can be used for so many outdoor uses, such as watering gardens and flowers, it saves our clean water for drinking and cooking.
The workshop was a wonderful success, with all barrels constructed and taken home for use. We have already received numerous calls, hoping we are able to conduct another rain barrel workshop. The gift shop also reaped the rewards from the workshop, which is just an added bonus!
For more information about future workshops and programs here at Wilderness Road, please call our park office at 276-445-3065 or email us at: [email protected]