Shelburne students help protect Lake Champlain

SHELBURNE, Vt. (WCAX) Students in one Vermont community are doing their part to protect Lake Champlain.

"We wanted the kids to become Stewards and we wanted them to care about their community and think about ways that they could improve drainage and runoff around the school property," says Vasanthi Meyette.

The result was a new rain garden at the Shelburne Community School. This was a few years in the making and was built a couple of months ago.

Rain water from here drains into McCabe's Brook and Shelburne Bay, both of which flow into Lake Champlain. Instead of dirty rainwater from the school's roof or paved surfaces heading right to the storm drains, it will flow into the garden, where it can be absorbed into the soil preventing runoff.

The fourth, fifth and sixth graders have been learning about the water cycle, watersheds, and how storm water moves.

Meyette says, "Kids are super curious. They're really interested. They love trying to solve a problem. It makes them engineers. It makes them invested in the community, but also gives them a point to ask, what am I going to do with my life. Maybe some of these small activities from the beginning will maybe lead to their further education in college and beyond."

Work will continue when the students return in the fall. The rain garden will eventually be filled with all natural plants that can tolerate a variety of conditions. The School teamed with the Lewis Creek Association and the town of Shelburne to make this possible.