Save the Sound to host rain garden planting workshop at Beardsley Zoo Saturday

Volunteers will get their hands dirty on Saturday while learning about the benefits of green infrastructure at a rain garden planting workshop led by Save the Sound, a bi-state program of Connecticut Fund for the Environment. The workshop will be held from 10-12:30, at the Beardsley Zoo, 1875 Noble Ave., Bridgeport, in parking lot next to the Hanson building.

The volunteers’ efforts will reinforce a rain garden previously built by Save the Sound, and help filter polluted rainwater before it flows into the Pequonnock River and Long Island Sound—an ideal way to celebrate National Estuaries Week.

The Beardsley Zoo green infrastructure project, a partnership between CFE/Save the Sound and Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo, broke ground in April. CFE/Save the Sound and partners installed a rain garden and a porous walkway that allows stormwater runoff from the Zoo’s parking lot to percolate into the soil. Together, the porous walkway and the rain garden provide a two-step process for capturing and filtering stormwater runoff, and releasing clean water into the Pequonnock River. In addition, the rain garden and walkways prominent location in a highly-trafficked Connecticut tourism destination function as a public education site.

Thirty local youth from the Beardsley Zoo Conservation Discovery Corps and Groundwork Bridgeport attended a workshop with environmental engineering firm Fuss & O’Neill in May, then put what they learned into practice by planting water-loving native shrubs and grasses in the rain garden to help aid the filtration process. Saturday’s planting will add to their efforts.

The Beardsley Zoo green infrastructure project is generously supported by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation, Jeniam Foundation, and Newman’s Own Foundation.