Master *Rain* Gardener

What is it? 

The Kalamazoo area Master *Rain* Gardener program aims to increase the number of rain gardens filtering stormwater throughout the greater Kalamazoo area.  The program consists of a 5-week training course, hands-on experience building a rain garden, and on-going volunteer component to maintain and expand rain gardens.

The course is an in-depth and in-person class that will teaches students everything needed to create a living rain garden at home or place of work.  The class leads students through all phases, from locating and designing to planting and maintaining a beautiful and functional rain garden.  Those who attend all five classes and build their own rain garden, volunteer on a group project, 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


Dates:          Wednesdays, February 20 – March 27, 2019 (No class February 27)
Time:           5:30 – 8 pm
Organizer:  Kalamazoo River Watershed Council, Kalamazoo Nature Center, Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and partners
Location:    KVCC Food Innovation Center
Cost:            $45.00
Register:    How to register for courses:
a. Online at
b. In person by visiting the College’s Groves Campus at
7107 Elm Valley Drive
c. By mail (please call to confirm course availability before sending a check.)
Make check payable to Kalamazoo Valley Community College and mail to the
following address:
Kalamazoo Valley Community College
The Groves Campus
PO Box 4070
Kalamazoo, MI 49003-4070
d. Need assistance? Call 269.353.1253

Instructors are 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.

Patty Hoch-Melluish, Watershed Coordinator at Kalamazoo River Watershed Council
Patty 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. Patty has a Bachelor’s degree in biology from Western Michigan University and Master’s degree in Water Resources Science from the University of Minnesota.

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!

Certified Master *Rain* Gardeners

  • Monique Kinney
  • Bonita Alkema
  • Sherryl Arno-Bosker
  • Jane Bruns
  • Colleen Cook
  • Robert Diemer
  • Gina Frasson-Hudson
  • Kimberly Ginn
  • Hannah Hudson
  • Kim LaViolette
  • Kendra Leep
  • Megan O’Kon-Osetek
  • Greg Potter
  • Diane Wenger
  • Rich Harrison
  • Karma Hassell
  • Kim Patrie
  • Diane Lundquist
  • Kelly Burt
  • Dawn Dahlinger
  • Elyse Kap
  • Katrina Lyle
  • Anne Mount
  • Paul Rehkopf
  • LaRue Russell
  • Jan Sneddon
  • Belinda Cygan
  • Deanna Dauten
  • Samantha Cree
  • Louise Anderson
  • Len Swanson
  • Ellen Nelson
  • Heidi Weiss
  • Kim Steinmann
  • Travis Wilcox
  • Gina Jones
  • Carolyn Kennedy
  • Shelley Metz
  • Amanda Hill
  • Kelsey Terpstra
  • Dale Estey

Looking for a designer or contractor?

Several of our certified Master *Rain* Gardeners work for commercial landscaping and design companies.  If you are looking for a contractor to help you design and install a rain garden at your property, please contact the watershed council at (269) 447-1580.

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.