Master *Rain* Gardener

image_mrgJoin us for a hands-on course focused on creating beautiful landscapes that protect the environment and improve your property.


What is it?

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

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.  Become an expert and share your knowledge with your community.

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
Optional:  Rain garden tour (late May/early June, based on growing season)


Tuesday evenings from 5:30 – 7:30 PM beginning March 21 and ending April 25, 2017 (no class on Tuesday, April 4).

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.  An optional field trip will be offered during that time to check out established rain gardens throughout the community.  As part of our Master *Rain* Gardener community, students will have access to plant sales, exchanges, and other continuing education opportunities.  Students who attend all five classes and plant a rain garden in the next year will receive their Master Rain Gardener certification and a sign for their garden.


The class will be held at the Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s new 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.

How do I sign up?

Register through the Kalamazoo Valley Community College’s Life Enrichment program website for this non-credit course.  Tuition has been reduced from $125 to only $45 for the Spring 2017 class due to special grant funding.


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 several 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, 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, no does the mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.