Sep 27, 2015

WEF Service Project Constructs New Learning Garden at Chicago Magnet School

The Pershing Cultivation Project is the eighth annual WEFTEC community service event

Pershing Cultivation Project WEFTEC Chicago

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) helped cultivate community engagement and educate Chicago youth about the value of water through the "The Pershing Cultivation Project: Growing Green Gardens and Young Minds." Organized as a part of the Water Environment Federation's Annual Technical Exhibition (WEFTEC) 2015 by the Students and Young Professionals Committee, the event took place Saturday, Sept. 26 at Pershing East Magnet School in Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood.

Conference and community volunteers helped transform a portion of the school grounds into a learning garden that will serve as an interactive tool for the school's K-8 students to learn about water, the environment and green infrastructure. Features will include an outdoor classroom and corresponding lesson plans; a permeable path and rain garden to capture and store storm water runoff; and a large traditional garden filled with native prairie grasses and flowers.

To help kick off the project, the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) joined WEF in hosting the third annual WaterPalooza educational fair on Friday, Sept. 25. Students, teachers and parents were invited to enjoy a day of engaging, hands-on environmental activities provided by nearly 20 water companies, Chicago 4th Ward Alderman William Burns, the MWRD and other governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations from across the country.

"The district is very excited to be involved in this educational endeavor for the students of Pershing School," said MWRD president Mariyana Spyropoulos. "These boys and girls will learn a great deal about the environment and flood management by studying, working and playing within this planned storm water garden."

The activities provide a way for WEF to give back to the WEFTEC host city through grassroots solutions that promote environmental stewardship and help raise awareness about the value and importance of water, which is one of the federation's strategic objectives. Local and WEF leadership attended the opening ceremony to share their vision for environmental protection and community involvement and service.

Sponsors include AECOM, ARCADIS U.S. Inc., Bentley Systems, Black & Veatch, Brown and Caldwell, Carollo Engineers, CDM Smith, CH2M HILL, Greeley and Hansen LLC, Hazen & Sawyer, HDR and Vaughan Co. Inc. The service project donors include Advanced Engineering and Environmental Services, Apex Engineering Group, Christy Webber Landscapes, Chemtrol, Engineering America, Entex Technologies, Environmental Operating Solutions Inc., FKC Screwpress, Lubrizol Advanced Materials Inc., Northwind Perennial Farms, Parsons Corp., Trinity Landscaping and Wigen Cos.