Bartholomew County

IUPU Columbus Campus

The demonstration rain garden in Bartholomew County is located on the IUPU Columbus Campus in a parking lot island and had previously been a flat and open, windswept area occupied by turf grass adjacent to a mature oak tree. During the winter, it often receives snow and ice melter scraped from the parking lot. This particular site was chosen for a number of reasons. Because of the snow melt that the particular area received, it was a prime site for a rain garden. The stakeholders also played an important role in the location of the garden. Two professors from the University advocated for this site so they could use it for teaching field biology and botany. They were also seen as a great partner to help maintain the garden.

Bartholomew County Demonstration Rain Garden

The Rain Garden made in Bartholomew County

The garden was planted with native prairie plants such as prairie drop seed, big bluestem, and compass plant, and designed by Kris Medic, a Bartholomew Count Extension Educator. Having the right soil composition as well as hardy perennials to fill the garden was an important factor in the design process. It was installed by the Rainscaping education course in Bartholomew County as part of the demonstration garden for the course. Coordinators were able to help with the planting along with the partnership by Indiana University Professors Luke Jacobus and Barbara Hass Jacobus. This partnership was critical to the success of the project and aided coordinators in getting this project off the ground. When the demonstration garden planting day was to start, campus security was concerned about this project going underway, but the partnering professors on campus advocated for the project to be done and the planting day was able to continue.

The garden has made significant impacts on the campus community and the environment since its opening in September 2015. Having native species on campus provides an oasis of sorts for pollinators and songbirds on a mainly grass and trees campus. Additionally, a killdeer has made the Garden its home, nesting within the site. This site also provides great learning opportunities for student learning in regards to ecology and botany and has created a lot of educational opportunities through positive media attention for the University and school administration.