50th Anniversary


Master Rain Gardener Class Offered at the Food Innovation Center



The first Kalamazoo area Master Rain Gardener course, co-hosted by the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council and Kalamazoo Nature Center in partnership with Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Museum, begins on March 21 at the Food Innovation Center on the campus of Kalamazoo Valley Community College, 224 E. Crosstown Parkway.

The term “rain garden” may be new to a lot of people. A rain garden mimics nature by letting rain water soak into the ground. It’s a garden bed planted in a shallow depression with plants specially adapted for dry and wet conditions.

The hands-on course is focused on creating beautiful landscapes that protect the environment and improve property. Participants in the in-depth and in-person class will learn to create a living rain garden. The class will cover all phases, from locating and designing to planting and maintaining a beautiful and functional rain garden.

Classes take place on Tuesdays from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. beginning March 21 and ending April 25, 2017 (no class on Tuesday, April 4). Students who attend all five classes and plant a rain garden will receive their Master Rain Gardener certification and a sign for their garden.

March 21: Introduction to Rain Gardens
March 28: Moving Dirt to Move Water & Site Selection Principles
April 11: How To: Measuring, Planning, Digging, Sculpting
April 18: Plant Designs: Rain Garden Plant Palette
April 25: Present Your Plan
Optional: Rain garden tour (late May/early June, based on growing season)

The classes will be taught by Anna Kornoelje, Ecological Services Director at Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Jamie McCarthy, Watershed Coordinator at Kalamazoo River Watershed Council.

Kornoelje works with landowners to create native landscapes that benefit birds and butterflies, as well as people. She manages prairie, lakeshore and wetlands restoration projects and water quality programs throughout Southwest Michigan. She earned bachelor and master’s degrees in biology from Grand Valley State University.

McCarthy manages watershed conservation and restoration projects throughout the Kalamazoo River watershed. She works with volunteers and residents on river stewardship activities, paddle events, and education projects. She has a bachelor degree in biology from Calvin College and a master’s degree in natural resources and environment from the University of Michigan.

The instructors will continue to be available as a resource to students as they begin digging and planting their rain gardens after the course has ended. An optional field trip will be offered during that time to check out established rain gardens throughout the community. As part of our Master Rain Gardener community, students will have access to plant sales, exchanges, and other continuing education opportunities.

This project has been funded in part through Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Nonpoint Source Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

Tuition, normally $125, is reduced to $45 for the first program, due to this support. To register or for more information, visit www.kvcc.edu/trainingschedule or call 269.353.1253.