AUSTIN MILL POND RAIN GARDEN PROJECT 2010
Chapter 10 is a major stakeholder in the $17,000 project which will improve water quality of the Mill Pond. The rain garden will be approximately 1.5 acres of native plants (prairie) that run along the northwest side of the pond. The garden will act as a buffer to pollutants and reduce rainfall runoff. It will also be utilized as an outdoor classroom by Austin High School students.
Project partners include the Austin Park and Recreation Department, Austin School District, Mower County Water and Soil Conservation District, Cedar River Watershed District, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, A.C.E.S, and Spruce-Up Austin. A $5000 matching grant from the Minnesota Lakes, Rivers, and Streams Partnership, which was founded by Michelob Golden Draft Light/Anheuser-Bush and the National Wildlife Foundation, has been applied for.
Mark Owens, Chapter 10 Vice President, initiated this project and followed through with partnering groups to make this project a success!
Each fall, Chapter 10 funds a 7th grade program called "Wetbugs". The students learn about the various water insects in a general presentation at school, then students go to the Hormel Nature Center to wade in Dobbins Creek and collect insects they've learned about in the classroom. In addition, students perform water quality analysis of Dobbins Creek.
Leo Reding, legislator and Chapter 10 member, helped pass legislation to have water pollution fines returned to Mower County. This funding was used by Chapter 10 to create a Non-Point Source Pollution Pilot Project. With the guidance of several Ike's members, an education program was developed in the 4th grades in Mower County. Nine learning station models consisting of plexiglass cubes, each showing an aspect of non-point pollution were used in the 4th grades. Storytellers illustrated aspects of non-point pollution. These cubes could be placed next to each other to show a larger countryside view of these pollution problems. This program generated continued interest in the project and other cities later commissioned development of similar learning stations. They continue to be used throughout the Austin school system. In 1991, the NPSP Learning Stations and hands-on program were on display and demonstrated at the 20th Annual Conference of the North American Association for Environmental Education held in St. Paul.
Chapter 10 has been involved with the Game and Fish Building displays at the Mower County Fair since the late 1920's. The Ikes provide supervision, technical support, and educational materials during the fair.
In 1999, Chapter 10 spearheaded a $13,000 project that replaced all fish display tanks and electrical service and wiring at the Game and Fish Building.