Toledo Resident becomes a Green Infrastructure Advocate

It’s that season again, the rainy season I once spoke of in a blog back in 2009 when American Rivers was working with the City of Toledo, New England Rain Barrel Company, and Rain Garden Initiative of Toledo – Lucas County offering rain barrels at a reasonable price.

This was the first sale of its kind in the area and we were able to sell nearly 500 rain barrels through this program. Since our last sale in 2009, American Rivers looked for more “local” ways residents of Northwest Ohio could buy or make rain barrels.

We promoted “make and take” rain barrel events hosted by Olander Park System and looked for sources of food grade barrels that we could offer to area residents. During this time we had a few sources of free barrels, which we were very grateful for.

We partnered with Toledo GROWS who is known in this area for their many community gardens and job corp program. Making rain barrels seemed to be a good fit for them. They’ve also participated in a few rain garden installations as well. This year we connected with Coca-Cola here in Toledo and asked them how we could collaborate.

Coca-Cola has their own sustainability initiatives and were willing to provide 50 gallon barrels to be made into rain barrels as well as larger 250 gallon totes to be used as water harvesting devices at community gardens in the area. We felt like we hit the motherload….seriously.

So, what does that have to do with this Toledo resident? A few days ago, there was a spot on a local television station where a Toledo man was speaking about rain barrels and why he owned one. The barrel he was talking about was a bright blue New England Rain Barrel from one of our initial sales.

I’m very proud of the work we’ve been able to accomplish in Northwest Ohio and the partnerships we’ve made over the years. The idea of a rain barrel has come a long way in this area and I’m always a little giddy when someone comes up to me at an event and says they are so happy that American Rivers and partners have continued to promote these practices.

We can all do out part to curb stormwater pollution. It just takes that first step.