Youths create new rain garden at Broad Meadow Brook in Worcester
By Kaylee Johnston, Special to the Telegram & Gazette
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at 6:31 PM Updated Aug 11, 2017 at 5:48 AM
[Benjamin Kojo Weah works Wednesday at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Center in Worcester. He and others from the Worcester Youth Center help maintain the garden and trails in the summer.] Photo/Kaylee Johnston
[Deziah Griffin of the Worcester Youth Center helps Wednesday to finish the two-month rain garden project started by Paris Jensen at Broad Meadow Brook Wildlife Sanctuary and Conservation Center in Worcester.] Photo/Kaylee Johnston
WORCESTER – A recent Bancroft School graduate brought a new rain garden to Broad Meadow Brook Conservation Center & Wildlife Sanctuary this summer.
Starting as a co-op project, the rain garden was a two-month project led by Paris Jensen, who used to be a camper at the sanctuary.
“It’s amazing to see all the progress that’s been made, the whole idea behind it, of conservation and just creating something that’s really beautiful and aesthetically pleasing,” Ms. Jensen said. “I’m going to be overseas for a couple months so I’m really excited to come back and see how everything grows in.”
A rain garden is a depression in the ground used to collect rainwater that is used by plants instead of being sent into storm drains or other places where it may cause flooding or erosion. According to Ms. Jensen, having native plants is important for a rain garden because they have adapted to the environment and can thrive in the garden.
The previous garden, a showpiece for Worcester’s rain garden movement in 2008, had been destroyed by a sewer line break in 2016.
“We occasionally get college folks and others that come in and volunteer, but it didn’t really go anywhere,” said Martha Gach, conservation coordinator.
“Paris embraced this project way back in April or May. It was set up to be a co-op intern(ship) for her senior year, and she and another girl started the garden project and put in their required hours, and the garden was not nearly finished. Paris just cheerfully said, ‘I just really like gardening and I’d like to see it through completion.’ We were fully expecting we’d have to bring in other people and she’d get tired, but she fought through until the bitter end and it’s beautiful now.”
Although Ms. Jensen’s gardening experience had been building since the sixth grade, she couldn’t complete the project on her own. The Worcester Youth Center assisted. The youth center has had a longstanding relationship with Mass. Audubon outside of the rain garden project, with youths working every year to help maintain the sanctuary.
“It helps them definitely with structure and discipline, teaching them that they have to push forward even when they’re tired, responsibility with showing up on time, and it’s a good first experience, because for a lot of them this is their first job so it gives them discipline and humbles them a little bit,” four-year Youth Center employee Gina Antuna said.