*Update: The raingarden clean-up event has been re-scheduled from Earth Day to Saturday, May 5, 10am-noon due to continued snow and cold weather.*
Stillwater is a town that everyone loves, and it’s easy to see why. Nestled on a bend of the Wild and Scenic St. Croix River, Stillwater oozes natural beauty and small-town charm. There is a Main St. with shops and restaurants actually owned by people who live here. Historic homes are scattered across the south and north hills in a variety of colors and styles. There are family-friendly festivals and community events throughout the year, the parks and playground are superb, and paved trails make it easy to bike and stroll along Brown’s Creek, Long and McKusick Lakes, and the St. Croix River.
Over the years, Stillwater has also developed a reputation as a garden community. The St. Croix Valley Garden Tour, once an annual event for FamilyMeans, attracted 700-1000 participants per year and there are several garden clubs in town. Since 2006, citizens and local government partners have also installed more than 100 raingardens in Stillwater to protect the St. Croix, Brown’s Creek, and our local lakes. Raingardens catch runoff from rooftops, driveways and streets and soak it into the ground before it can reach a storm sewer or nearby waterway. In addition to reducing stormwater pollution and beautifying the city, raingardens also provide food and habitat for birds and pollinators. However, keeping more than 100 raingardens looking good and functioning properly can be a lot of work!
New this year, Sustainable Stillwater MN and the Lily Lake Association have teamed up with the Middle St. Croix Watershed Management Organization to develop an Adopt-a-Raingarden program. The partners hope to engage individuals, families and community groups in helping to care for raingardens around town. Stillwater Area Foundation has provided $4200 to help cover start-up costs.
The Stillwater Adopt-a-Raingarden program will launch this spring with a city-wide Raingarden Clean-up event on Saturday, May 5, 10am-noon. Sustainable Stillwater and Lily Lake Association will be leading teams of volunteers in tidying up raingardens near Lily Lake, Staples Park, and the Oak Glen Golf Course. During the event, volunteers will clean out sediment built up in the raingarden inlets, pick up litter, and cut down last year’s dead vegetation. During a follow-up event on Thursday, June 7, 6:30-8pm, teams will pull weeds as well.
In addition to these kick-off events, project partners are asking local residents to “adopt” raingardens in their neighborhoods that need a little extra care. Some of these were planted by elderly homeowners who can no longer maintain them, and others are located in public right-of-ways or parks. A map of raingardens, sign-up form, and basic raingarden maintenance information can be found at www.mnwcd.org/AdoptARaingarden. Volunteers are asked to visit their gardens two to three times per year, pick up litter, remove built-up sediment in the inlets, weed and thin plants, and inform the Washington Conservation District if there are any major problems, such as water not draining within 48 hours after it rains.
The May 5 and June 7 raingarden clean-up and weeding events will be an opportunity for community members to get fresh air and exercise, protect local waterways, and help keep Stillwater beautiful.
To learn more about the Adopt-a-Raingarden program, visit www.mnwcd.org/AdoptARaingarden.
RSVP for the May 5 event at:
- Sustainable Stillwater MN (raingardens near Staples Park and Oak Glen): 651-230-7882 or email@example.com
- Lily Lake Association (raingardens near Lily Lake): firstname.lastname@example.org