Master *Rain* Gardener

What is it? 

This Kalamazoo area Master *Rain* Gardener course is co-hosted by the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council and Kalamazoo Nature Center in partnership with Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

The course is an in-depth and in-person class that will teach you everything needed to create a living rain garden at your home or place of work.  The class will lead you through all phases, from locating and designing to planting and maintaining a beautiful and functional rain garden.  Students who attend all five classes and build their own rain garden or adopt a public rain garden will gain their certification.  Become an expert and share your knowledge with your community.


Track Volunteer Hours

Class Syllabus

Week 1:  Introduction to Rain Gardens
Week 2:  Moving Dirt to Move Water & Site Selection Principles
Week 3:  How To: Measuring, Planning, Digging, Sculpting
Week 4:  Plant Designs: Rain Garden Plant Palette
Week 5:  Present Your Plan


Class Offerings

FALL 2018
Dates:          September 4 – October 2, 2018
Time:           Tuesdays, 5:30 – 7:30 PM
Organizer:  Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and partners
Location:    KVCC Food Innovation Center
Cost:            $45.00

Instructors will continue to be available as a resource to students as they beginning digging and planting their rain gardens after the course has ended.  Optional field trips will be offered throughout the growing season so participants can check out established rain gardens in the community.  As part of our Master *Rain* Gardener community, students will have access to plant exchanges, volunteer opportunities,  and other continuing education.  Students who attend all five classes and plant a rain garden will receive their Master Rain Gardener certification and a sign for their garden.


All classes will be held at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College Food Innovation Center located at 224 E. Crosstown Parkway at the corner of John Street just south of downtown Kalamazoo (get directions).


Anna Kornoelje, Ecological Services Director at Kalamazoo Nature Center
Anna works with landowners to create native landscapes that benefit birds and butterflies, as well as people. She manages prairie, lakeshore and wetlands restoration projects and water quality programs throughout Southwest Michigan. Anna has Bachelor and Masters degrees in biology from Grand Valley State University.

Jamie McCarthy, Watershed Coordinator at Kalamazoo River Watershed Council
Jamie manages watershed conservation and restoration projects throughout the Kalamazoo River watershed. She works with volunteers and residents on river stewardship activities, paddle events, and education projects. Jamie has a Bachelor degree in biology from Calvin College and Masters degree in natural resources and environment from the University of Michigan.

What’s a rain garden?

We know this term is new to a lot of people.  A rain garden mimics nature by letting rain water soak into the ground.  It’s a garden bed planted in a shallow depression with plants especially adapted for dry and wet conditions.  Explore the Kalamazoo River Watershed Council’s rain garden webpage for more info.

What has the program accomplished?

As part of the Master Rain Gardener program, students who finish the class and plant their own rain garden gain their rain gardener certification.  Check out the rain gardens we have planted so far!

Want to join our email list?

Subscribe below and we’ll shoot you an occasional email about the class and rain garden tours.

Project partners

We would like to recognize the many community partners involved in the Kalamazoo Master *Rain* Gardener class and greater green infrastructure project lead by Kalamazoo Valley Community College.  Thank you to many KVCC departments, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, Kalamazoo Nature Center, MSU Extension and Master Gardeners, Kalamazoo County Land Bank and Common Grounds, Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner, Kieser & Associates, Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioner’s Office, InSite Design Studio, Inc., Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.





This NPS Pollution Control project has been funded in part through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s Nonpoint Source Program by the United States Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement #C9975474-16 to Kalamazoo Valley Community College for the Gardening Kalamazoo for Clean Water project. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the United States Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Environmental Quality, nor does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.