The importance of water conservation is at the center of a recent project Setauket Elementary School first-graders are working on with the help of STEM teacher Gina Varacchi.
After a discussion on the importance of harnessing rainwater, the students attended an assembly provided by Cornell Corporative Extension speaker Mark Cappellino. During the program, Mr. Cappellino spoke about animals’ and plants’ need for clean water, how much water is wasted daily and the concept of creating rain gardens. These spaces collect water from storms and individuals use the liquid to feed plants and gardens.
Inspired by the conversation, the students are now working to create their own rain garden in the school’s courtyard. To prepare, they fashioned three-dimensional models using cardstock and straw downspouts. They then tested their models using spray bottles and observed how the water traveled from the roof of the building into the rain catcher.
This May, the students will plant close to 80 species of plants in the school’s courtyard with the help of Mr. Cappellino, which they will maintain with a new school rain garden.