CARLISLE, Pa. — In 2021, the Penn State Extension Master Watershed Steward program received a $10,000 Healing the Planet Grant from Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful.
This grant funding is supported by the Giant Corporation and provided for the installation of 30 demonstration downspout planters across the state, two stormwater basin naturalization projects, and one live stake nursery installation.
The Master Watershed Steward program of Cumberland/Franklin/Adams counties were included in this grant and installed four demonstration downspout planters in Cumberland County.
Downspout planters are decorative landscaped planters specially designed to absorb and filter stormwater before it enters stormwater management or sewer systems. Downspout planters are filled with a base layer of gravel to allow for drainage, a stormwater-friendly soil mix, and native perennial vegetation that will return every spring.
During storm events, some of the water from the roof flows into the planter and is captured. If the volume of water is greater than the capacity of the planter, it exits the planter through an overflow outlet or can be diverted back into the original downspout. The native plants in the planters provide pollinator habitat and beautification for homeowners.
During June 2022, four of these demonstration downspout planters were installed by Master Watershed Steward volunteers from Cumberland County.
One planter was installed at Hamilton Elementary School, Carlisle. One each were installed at the municipal buildings at Lower Allen Township and East Pennsboro. The fourth one was installed at Memorial Park in Mechanicsburg.
Now that the downspout planters have been installed, Master Watershed Stewards can work with municipal staff and school faculty to develop educational materials for residents and youth to teach the importance of stormwater management and the benefit of planters such as these.
For more information about this project, or the Master Watershed Steward program, contact the Cumberland/Franklin/Adams coordinator, Holly Smith at email@example.com.
–Penn State Extension