Spring 2017 Master *Rain* Gardener Class

Welcome to the Kalamazoo Master Rain Gardener class.  Everything you’ll need for the class will be posted here.  The course will be taught indoors, so no special clothing or equipment is required for class.  Students will need access to gardening supplies and equipment to test their soil percolation rates and dig and plant their rain gardens.

Spring Class Information

Dates:  Tuesdays, March 21 – April 25 (**no class Tuesday, April 4**)
Time:  5:30 – 7:30 PM
Location: KVCC Food Innovation Center classroom
Instructors: Anna Kornoelje (akornoelje@naturecenter.org) and Jamie McCarthy (krwc@kalamazooriver.org)

Class Resources

Class Schedule

MARCH 21   |   Class 1:  Introduction to Rain Gardens

  • Class video
  • Guest speaker:  Dr. Patricia Crowley, Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner
  • Homework:
    • Start thinking about where you’d like to put your rain garden. It can be at your home, place of business, or a willing friend’s yard. Or you choose to adopt an existing rain garden; check out page 10 of the coursepack and talk to Jamie and Anna for ideas.
    • Take photos of the area
    • Post photos to the group facebook page or bring photos or notes about the site to class next week
    • Read pages 3-5 and 9-11 of the coursepack
    • Take the quiz


MARCH 25   |   Class 2:  Moving Dirt to Move Water & Site Design

  • Class video
  • Guest speaker:  Ruth Caputo, Master Gardener/Wild Ones Member
  • Homework:
    • If you revised your garden location, post another photo to the group facebook page or bring photos or notes to the class next week
    • Do a percolation test in the spot you plan to put your rain garden (dip 18″ deep hole and fill completely with water, wait for it to soak in, fill again second time, and record number of hours it takes to drain completely)
    • Measure the approximate area of the impervious area that will feed into the rain garden and calculate the area in square feet (see coursepack, pages 12-13)
    • Post your percolation rate and impervious area to the group facebook page
    • Read pages 12-13 and 24-29 of the coursepack
    • Watch this video on how to dig a rain garden
    • Take Quiz 2 (you’ll need to look at these photos)


APRIL 11   |   Class 3:  How to — Measuring, Planning, Digging & Sculpting

  • Class video
  • Guest speaker:  Karma Hassell, Common Ground Kalamazoo Community Gardens
  • Homework:
    • Measure your space using the methods discussed in class and outlined in the coursepack page 14
    • Draw the outline of your rain garden on the base sheet (the bottom, berm, and cut edge).  Make sure bottom is big enough.  Do the number of squares (square feet) in the bottom correspond to the number of square feet you calculated you would need? (If slightly under-sized, plan for more wet condition of plants; if slightly over-sized, plan for more dry condition of plants).
    • Draw the rain water conveyance (pipe location, swale, or direction of overland flow)
    • Post a photo of your rain garden shape to the group facebook page or bring it to class next week
    • Think of some plants you’d like to try in your rain garden, post them on the group facebook page
    • Read pages 14-21 in the coursepack
    • Take Quiz 3


APRIL 18   |   Class 4:  Plant Design & Palette

  • Class video
  • Guest speaker:  Chad Hughson, Hidden Savannah Native Plant Nursery
  • Homework:
    • On your base sheet, draw in the areas where you’ll put different plants, be sure to take into consideration the zones of the rain garden (from wettest to driest) and the sun light conditions
    • Post a photo of your base sheet with your plant palette to the group facebook page or email your plan to Anna or Jamie for final review
    • Read pages 22-23 and 30-31 of the coursepack
    • Prepare a creative presentation of your final rain garden design to present to class next week (e.g., poster, 3-D model using clay/legos/food/etc., short video or slideshow [must provide your own tablet or computer], or any other format you choose!)


APRIL 25   |   Class 5:  Present Your Rain Garden Plan

  • Class video
  • Student presentations
  • Going forward:
    • Keep in touch as you begin digging!  Feel free to contact Anna or Jamie with questions.
    • Join us on our rain garden tour in June (date TBD)
    • Once you’ve finished you rain garden, complete the Rain Garden Tracking Form and send it to Jamie.  She’ll arrange to give you your certificate, rain garden sign, droplet (if you’re a master gardener), list your business on the certified contractors list (if applicable), and your Master Rain Gardener decal — post it with pride!
    • Map your finished rain garden on the www.networkedneighbors.org website

THANK YOU to the many partners who have worked hard to bring this training course to Kalamazoo, especially Kalamazoo Valley Community College, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Valley Museum, MSU Extension and Kalamazoo Master Gardeners Program, Kalamazoo County Land Bank, Kalamazoo County Drain Commissioner, Washtenaw County Water Resources Commissioners Office, Michigan Department of Environmental Quality – Kalamazoo District, Kieser & Associates, City of Kalamazoo, and our many guest speakers, volunteers, and committed residents.

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.