Fourth grade students join teacher Christopher Provost in the construction of a rain garden at Chamberlin School.

Chamberlin Soaks Up the Rain

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Thursday September 05, 2013

A third rain garden was installed last week in the Chamberlin Elementary School parking lot located at 262 White Street in South Burlington.  

Thanks to Christopher Provost, a fourth grade teacher, stormwater at Chamberlin is not taken for granted.  This third rain garden is being installed entirely by volunteers, including teachers, parents and students. Fourth Grade students, led by Mr. Provost, kick off their school year by enjoying the outdoors and providing the elbow grease necessary to build the garden and redirect stormwater away from storm drains and back into the ground where it belongs. 

The rain garden will be installed in the grassy median directly in front of the entrance when facing the main entrance. Stormwater generated from the Chamberlin School parking lot and adjacent sidewalk will flow into the new rain garden where it originally puddled along the median.  Stormwater then continued along the parking lot, eroding the surface through ponding, then into a storm drain or into Centennial Brook, which is an impaired waterway.  

A rain garden is an attractive, landscaped garden that is used to treat stormwater runoff (water generated from rain fall or snowmelt), usually from a roof, parking lot, or other impervious surface.   The garden is planted in an excavated shallow depression (usually 4-8” deep) that is strategically located to collect the storm runoff coming from a roof or parking lot during a rain event. During the rain, the garden will temporarily fill with water, but the garden is designed so that any collected water will infiltrate back into the soil within a few hours.  In this way, most of the stormwater is returned to the groundwater supply, instead of running over the land where it can pick up pollutants that run directly into our storm drains, streams, and lakes.  Rain gardens reduce water pollution by intercepting toxins, allowing them to settle out and adhere to soil particles in the garden. 

Materials for the garden were donated by community businesses and transported to the site thanks to the City of South Burlington. Design of the garden was possible thanks to grants obtained through the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Lake Champlain Basin Program.  The overall effort has been coordinated by Fourth Grade Teacher, Christopher Provost, with help the Winooski Natural Resources Conservation District.   

For more information about rain gardens, or how to handle stormwater runoff contact Sophie Sauvé at the Winooski Conservation District at 802-828-4493 x110 or or go to