School Raingardens in North Lanarkshire

Novembers blog comes from Emilie Wadsworth at Central Scotland Green Network Trust, part of the team leading on the 10,000 Raingardens for Scotland campaign on behalf of SGIF:

Throughout 2019, North Lanarkshire Council, Central Scotland Green Network Trust and the 10,000 Raingardens for Scotland project have been working on an innovative school raingarden project.

The aim is to install a range of raingarden features within schools that suffer from flooding resulting in their playground being unusable at certain times of the year. Alongside this, and educational programme is being run to teach the pupils about environmental issues such as flooding, pollution and the impacts that urban expansion and development can have of the water cycle. They learn about how these can be reduced through the use of raingardens, and nature-based surface water management interventions, and the advantages that these can have over traditional pipes and drains.

The children are integral to the design and location of the raingardens to be installed at their school. During the class sessions, they identify areas of flooding in the school grounds, from puddles, to muddy swamps on the grass, and from blocked drains to temporary “streams” that run across the grounds during or just after rainfall. Following this, they are involved in a co-design workshop where they start to think of solutions to the problems, using examples from across the world.

So far, five primary schools have been involved, with concept designs produced for each one. Following discussions with the council, teachers and maintenance staff, some designs will be worked up in to detailed plans and installed in early 2020. The educational sessions will be finalised and supplemented so that they can be run by teachers in their own classrooms and will become an online resource with clear links to the Eco-school curriculum highlighted, for any schools to use.