U.S. Water News Online
LAKELAND, Fla. -- Four Lakeland schools are putting a
little art in local yards. Students at Lincoln Avenue Academy Magnet,
Lawton Chiles Middle Academy, Lakeland Christian School and Rochelle
School of the Arts are painting colorful rain barrels that will be
sold at the city's Spring Obsession.
Anne Yasalonis, coordinator for the county's Florida Yards and
Neighborhoods program, brought the rain barrel idea to the schools. A
grant from the Southwest Florida Water Management District is paying
for the project, she said.
"I hope they're learning a little about water conservation and
what they're painting and what they're used for," she said.
The barrels, equipped with spigots, are positioned near roofs to
collect rainwater that can be recycled. The water is good for
watering plants or washing tools and helps save tap water.
The money from the barrel sales will go back to the schools.
Lincoln Avenue students have painted about a dozen barrels. They
feature colorful underwater scenes, water fowl and flowers. The
barrels will be sold for about $20 to $30 at Spring Obsession, said
Lincoln science resource teacher Shannan Combee.
Lincoln fourth-grader Tucker Wyma, 9, explained the scene he
decided to paint. "Half of it's under water and half of it's above
water," he said. "And it has like these really cool plants. And
there's fish under the water, where the blue is. It's just really
Gabrielle Segree, 8, a third-grader, chose to paint a swan on her
barrel with the help of her dad, Donald. She said it took five to 10
days to finish. "It can collect the rain," she said. "And you can
save your water resources."
Combee said the project works very well with the magnet program at
the school, which focuses on science, math and technology. She wants
her students to understand the importance of conserving natural
"We do a lot of recycling here at our school," she said. "We
recycle aluminum cans and newspapers and ink cartridges and tennis
shoes. . . . This is just one more way to practice conserving our
"It's one thing to teach the kids," she said. "And it's another
thing to have them involved in the conservation."
Yasalonis said there would be awards for the first, second and
third best rain barrel in three age groups. There will also be a best
overall award for one rain barrel.
She said she would have about 50 plain barrels for sale at Spring
Obsession for folks who want to paint their own. Those buckets will
cost $15 with proceeds going to Common Ground, a new playground for
children of all ages and various physical abilities.
Yasalonis regularly conducts classes in rain barrel-making for
adults. She said it's one of her more popular classes and an easy
project to finish.
"It's a small thing to do for water conservation," Yasalonis said.
"But when people do small things, they start thinking about other
things they can do. So it's a stepping stone."
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