Thursday, February 7, 2008

Rain barrel workshops

It’s hard to make issues like water conservation and drought tangible for children. We managed, although it was a bit of a struggle at one point, to teach Will not to flush the toilet for no reason. But I think the most convincing lesson for Will that water is a valuable resource involved watching Rob save his bath water and carry it out by the bucketful to water outdoor plants during the warmer months.

Of course, with a little upfront effort there are more efficient ways to save water. Rain barrels for outdoor watering are one easy place to start. And if you live in the Columbus area there are a few workshops in the upcoming weeks where you can learn how to build one (and, if you go to the Callaway Gardens workshop, actually come home with a ready-to-use rain barrel). See my article in today’s Ledger-Enquirer for more information about building and using rain barrels.

Rob and I are planning to try to construct one ourselves so that Will and eventually Owen can get more hands-on lessons in conservation (although we are notorious procrastinators on projects like these, so I need to set a deadline for myself or we’ll never get it done).

In case you decide to make water conservation a project for your family too, here are some useful links:

For instructions on how to build a rain barrel, complete with photos, go to
this Walter Reeves Web site.

Go here to read the University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service publication “Xeriscape: A guide to developing a water-wise landscape.” Click on “Durable Plants for Xeriscape-type Landscapes” in the Contents for a list of drought-tolerant plants.

For water conservation information go to

To purchase a rain barrel, the Georgia Adopt-A-Stream Program recommends these sites:, and

And in case you missed it in the article, here' the details on those workshops:

“Drought-surviving tips for your garden”
When: 2 to 3 p.m. Sunday (Feb. 10)
Where: Oxbow Meadows Environmental Learning Center, 3535 South Lumpkin Road, Columbus
Details: Katie Cook, interpretive horticulturalist at Callaway Gardens, will discuss water conservation techniques for your yard and provide information about drought-tolerant plants. Learn how to use a rain barrel to collect rainfall runoff from your rooftop for indoor or outdoor use.
Cost: Free
More information: 706-687-4090

“Sustainable Landscapes and Rain Barrels”
When: 9:30 a.m. to noon Feb. 23
Where: Callaway Gardens
Details: Discover plants that perform best and maintenance practices that require minimal resources. Create a rain barrel by recycling a 50-gallon drum adapted to catch, store, and distribute rainwater as needed in your garden.
Cost: $50 per rain barrel. Workshop fees include admission to Callaway Gardens.
Registration: Enrollment is limited and pre-registration is required for all programs. Call the Education Department at 1-800-CALLAWAY (225-5292) ext. 5153, 706-663-5153 or email

“Learn to Build a Rain Barrel”
When: 1 p.m. Feb. 23
Where: Rocky Branch Garden Center, 248 S. Main Street, Pine Mountain
Details: Learn how to make your own rain barrel as Amy Waite from Oxbow Meadows shows you how.
Cost: Free
Registration: Pre-registration is required. Call 706-663-9940.

1 comment:

Aquabarrel said...

Rain Barrel Kits are available online at This product is superior in design and really works well. Don't forget to check out the downspout filters and downspout diverters to make owning a rain barrel even less challenging.