The Nerdery - Overnight Website Challenge

Twin Cities 2014, April 12-13

Metro Blooms

Paired with Fullstop Net

Metro Blooms is a private nonprofit that partners with other organizations, businesses, local governments, and citizens to promote environmentally sound landscaping practices that restore the health of our land and water resources. Our programs educate property owners on the beauty and benefits of raingardens and other stormwater management practices. Our do-it-yourself approach puts raingardening in the hands of gardeners and nongardeners alike. We offer design assistance and connect property owners to resources to ensure the successful installation and maintenance of raingardens. Metro Blooms’ programs include the following:

-Our popular Raingarden Workshop is offered in partnership with area cities and watershed districts to educate more than 6,000 property owners since 2005 about the beauty and benefits of raingardens and other healthy landscaping practices. Attendees are assisted by designers from the University of MN School of Landscape Architecture and Master Gardeners to design their raingarden and approximately 2,000 property owners have installed their own raingarden.

-We partner with neighborhood organizations and the Conservation Corps of Minnesota (CCM) to organize neighborhood-wide raingarden installation projects. The Powderhorn Lake Neighborhood of Raingardens project installed 130 raingardens and is credited with helping to achieve measurable improvements in the water quality of Powderhorn Lake. It has inspired another 19 neighborhoods to engage with us in similar efforts to install more than 360 raingardens and other stormwater best management practices (BMPs).

-Our 30 year old, volunteer-based Minneapolis Garden Awards program evaluates and recognizes between 1,000-2,000 gardens each year along with the gardeners who are beautifying our city and helping to restore the environment. We’re developing a mobile application that will support the voluntary evaluation of raingardens.

-Our raingarden maintenance program works with K-8 teachers to connect classrooms to the outdoors and the science of raingardens on school grounds. We partner with the Conservation Corps of Minnesota to maintain school raingardens.

What new functionality we are looking for

Responsive Web Design: Metro Blooms has been integrating more technology into all of our programs, including using QR codes to share information and creating a mobile application for our Minneapolis Garden Awards program. However, our website is not designed to be viewed on platforms other than PCs. A responsive web design would allow the layout of our website to adjust itself based on the size of the screen used to view it, making it much more user-friendly and accessible from phones, computers, TVs and tablets. This change could be incorporated through a new WordPress Format.

WordPress Format: Currently, if we need to make significant changes to our website we have to contract a web designer to do the work. We are a small nonprofit and often cannot afford to do this, so our website goes without updating for months at a time. Updating our website to a WordPress format would allow us to easily edit content without hiring a contractor and also provides an opportunity to change our site to a responsive web design.

Web Interface: Metro Blooms began over 30 years ago as a gardening recognition and awards program, and our website design still portrays our “small garden club” history rather than the lead role that Metro Blooms has taken regionally on the promotion, design, installation, evaluation and maintenance of raingardens to restore and protect our environment. The following are some of the changes that would help alter this perception:

-Update the look of our home page and incorporate images to clearly link Metro Blooms to environmental design and clean water

-Consolidate links to create a clean home page that is easy to navigate, and add an event calendar

-Create pages for building and maintaining a raingarden linked to a plant selector and educational and DIY videos

-Allow access to garden evaluation results

-Use words such as raingarden, clean water, native plants, and ecological landscape in text and meta data for search engine optimization

Updated Database: Metro Blooms’ database is difficult to navigate and lacks the capability to do many of the tasks that we require. We need a clean, interactive database that:

-Allows us to easily connect our current garden database with our user database, for one relational database

-Allows us to run custom donor/user reports and search users using a variety of criteria and relationships

How the new functionality will help

There are a number of ways that a new website would help us fulfill our mission: 1) It would give us a marketing tool that accurately portrays who we are and what we do, 2) it would allow us to offer up-to-date information regarding the installation, evaluation and maintenance of raingardens and other stormwater best management practices and new classes, services and events, 3) it would help us to connect the dots in our database of award winning gardeners, raingarden workshop attendees, donors, and volunteers so that we can better connect them to our mission, and 4) it would allow all of these people to easily access our website on their mobile phone or tablet to register for a workshop, find out how to install and maintain their raingarden, nominate a garden for recognition, evaluate a raingarden, and donate to Metro Blooms.

1) Marketing tool that accurately portrays who we are and what we do.

Engaging citizens, local governments, and businesses is primary to our mission to restore the ecology of the urban landscape. People who share our vision would not know it by visiting our website. We’ve heard from many constituents that our website does not portray who we are and what we do. When we explained our work to one marketing professional whose only knowledge of us was through what she’d seen on our website, she became excited about the work we are doing, saying, “This is actually something I care a lot about, I would donate to you and volunteer my time, but I had no idea. I thought you were a small garden club.”

Metro Blooms’ programs and services are expanding and evolving, but our website is holding us back. For example, we’ve recently expanded our scope to include the maintenance of native plantings and raingardens on commercial and institutional properties. Our landscape designers oversee the work of the Conservation Corps of Minnesota to provide affordable raingarden maintenance, and in 2014 we will save the Minneapolis Public Schools more than $90,000 through these services. These are needed and valuable services that fill a void in stormwater management, but you would not find information about these activities on our website. This is in part because our capacity to update our website is so limited, and in part because the garden club theme of our website does not align itself well to a commercial/institutional property owner audience. For these reasons we have chosen to market these services outside of our website.

A new design would allow us to use our website as a valuable marketing and educational tool.

2) Offer up-to-date information regarding the installation, evaluation and maintenance of raingardens and other stormwater best management practices and new classes, services and events.

We direct 1,000s of potential raingardeners each year to our website:

-600-900 property owners sign up for a raingarden workshop or request an onsite consultation

-Over 100 volunteers download their garden addresses to evaluate, and then submit 1,000s of garden evaluations and nominations online

-50-90 Neighborhood of Raingarden Installation project participants find out more about raingardens and sign up to receive an installation in their yard

-1,000s of award-winning gardeners visit our website to RSVP for an event and to view photos of the top Minneapolis gardens

A WordPress format would allow us to easily and creatively update our website in our fast-paced and changing environment. We could share relevant information with our constituents, manipulate the layout and look of the pages, and upload images, files and links to partners and additional resources. It would allow us to upload new forms for these programs, add events and services, update sponsor information as it is committed, etc. all without having to contract with a web developer.

As we prepare for a major expansion of the raingarden evaluation and maintenance resources on our website, a new website would help us to ensure its successful launch and allow us to direct our financial and staff resources to achieving our mission.

3) Connect the dots in our database of award winning gardeners, raingarden workshop attendees, donors, and volunteers so that we can better connect them to our mission.

A relational database would save us both time and money, allow us to clean up duplicates, and increase our staff’s capacity exponentially. Again, allowing us to focus directly on achieving our mission instead of generating clean and accurate lists. It would help us to build better relationships with many constituents by completing tasks such as generating personalized letters to garden evaluators who have attended our raingarden workshops and donated to Metro Blooms. If we are aware of all the ways our audience is connected to us, we could treat them as a valuable friend rather than like a stranger.

4) Allow users to access our website on their mobile phone to register for a workshop, find out how to install and maintain their raingarden, install a rain barrel, nominate a garden for recognition, evaluate an raingarden, and donate to Metro Blooms.

Having a mobile-ready website would help us to ensure that we are reaching our audience, and help us to expand our mission to a new audience. Our research tells us that sixty-one percent of people leave a site if it isn’t mobile-ready (Google Blog 2012) and Morgan Stanley (2011) predicted that in 2013 mobile phones would surpass PCs as the most common web access device.

How our organization will use the technology

Who will use the technology

39 Messages from Supporters

2014-03-14 21:59:02 UTC
Patricia Genereux

MetroBlooms is a very good organization...they are about protecting the environment, increasing sustainability, teaching us how to grow our own food, and improving the beauty of our community. This is a small group that encourages community participation in all they do. We are most fortunate to have them.

2014-03-14 17:27:27 UTC
Laura Hurley

I started with Metro Blooms as their MN GreenCorps member in 2012 and am thrilled to have been able to continue working with the organization after my service. I've seen first hand the way Metro Blooms is able to inspire citizens with varying levels of knowledge about water quality to take action on their own property and play a part in protecting the lakes and rivers that are so important to us. It's a privilege to work for this organization, and a new website would help us expand our reach to even more citizens!

2014-03-14 18:29:20 UTC
Theresa R

I have been a fan/judge/landscapeMG Helper of metro blooms for years. They need some compost (money) to help them grow (change/improve) their web site. Metro blooms started us all off learning to grow flowers on our boulevard, that it was OK to do that and that we could even win prizes if we did a pretty job of it! Then they helped people to know that they were 'allowed' to garden in their front yard! YES it is ok to grow a nice garden in the front, you don't have to stay with turf. So now we can go anywhere in the metro and see beautiful front yards and boulevards, not just turf. Then they moved onto Raingardens. Educating us all on the benefits of raingardens, saving our water shed, protecting our lakes, fostering our pollinators! Wow all that from just a few plants in a few front yards! Yep, they sure deserve some extra help on the website if it means even more people can hear and learn about their timely messages. After all, we all need water, and we all need our pollinators for food and we all need the beauty of flowers and plants for our eyes and souls. Thanks!

2014-03-14 18:33:50 UTC

as a neighbor i loved Metro Blooms' involvement with the Minnehaha Creek/Lake Hiawatha clean-up last summer, and i learned a lot that day of what things i could do on my property in terms of raingardens & native plantings, among others - a great organization of some really nice knowledgeable people.

2014-03-14 18:42:43 UTC
Chelsea K

I have only volunteered with Metro Blooms for a year, but I've enjoyed working with them immensely! Their mission is so important--we're the land of 10,000 lakes, after all, and we need to take care of them. Their classes are far less expensive than similar classes elsewhere while being just as good, and they do classes all around the metro, which is something I really appreciate. The only thing that needs change is the website; looking up classes and events is difficult, which is a shame since what they do is fun, important and wonderful. I'm planning to convert part of my lawn to a rain garden come spring, and the guidance I've gotten from Metro Blooms has been indispensable.

2014-03-14 18:46:10 UTC

I have been a garden evaluator for Metro Blooms and enjoy seeing the efforts individual residents make to beautify their yards while, at the same time, preserving our water shed. It has been my experience that if one person on a block begins to improve their gardening and installing a rain garden, then other neighbors on the block are intrigued and often begin to improve their lots as well. These individual efforts really add up to preserving our water quality. Everyone can make a difference.

2014-03-14 19:24:17 UTC

I've gone to a number Metro Blooms events, such as picking up trash along the Minnehaha Creek area, going to fundraising concerts and dinners, as well as attending a Rain Garden workshop. They are always finding new ways to get people engaged in improving their communities by reducing their impact on the environment. I never thought I'd voluntarily sit through a discussion about permeable pavers before meeting the folks at this place :) They are doing great things for our city on the lakes, and you would be doing a great justice by choosing them for your web challenge so that they can hopefully reach more people via their new snazzy website.

Good luck Metro Blooms!

2014-03-14 19:57:59 UTC

One of the things that we all love about the Twin Cities is the beautiful lakes within the cities' boundaries. The work that Metro Blooms is doing to keep those waterways clean is so important to the vibrancy of the Twin Cities experience, but their website could really use your help. Thank you Metro Blooms!

2014-03-14 20:04:20 UTC
Garden Cat

I have been member of Metro Blooms (formerly Blooming Boulevards) since at least 2008. What better way to promote the environment, enhance the neighborhood in which you live and share the joy than Metro Blooms. This group provides valuable tools for novices, opportunity to share your skills as a volunteer, and well appreciated recognition for your efforts be they large or small. Metro Blooms provides a network of like-minded individuals an opportunity to connect and serve the greater good of our communities while making a visual, artistic statement in a medium available to most.

2014-03-14 21:11:45 UTC
Aida Abebe

I'm Metro Blooms' current MN GreenCorps Member. I started working in December and I've been very impressed by how much the organization accomplishes with limited resources. So imagine all the things it will be able to do if it had more resources, like a newly designed website?! This would allow it to reach many more people and increase the scope of its work.

2014-03-14 22:00:02 UTC

As the Community Engagement and Development Director for the past 3 years, I've watched our list of supporters "grow and bloom". However, in this era of technology, I know we've needed to raise the bar on our website messaging and visual engagement. From our early "roots", our focus was to encourage and recognize beautiful gardens. Since then, we've expanded our outreach, programs and partnerships to encompass so much more, thus leaving little time and resources to attend to the more technical aspects of our business. As an organization that’s small but mighty, we sure would appreciate the opportunity to expand our reach to make an even larger impact in the world, one raingarden at a time.

Please help us to move forward with our mission to ensure Minnesota is "Land of 10,000 CLEANER Lakes"!

2014-03-14 22:35:13 UTC

As an Extension Master Gardener, I have worked as a volunteer with Metro Blooms for 3 years. Prior to that I attended a “life changing event” - a Metro Blooms Rain Garden Workshop. The instructors deliver a powerful message on the impact that rain gardens can have on our environment and on the water quality of our most valuable natural resource – our lakes and rivers, all 14,000+ of them. Updating their web site can go a long way to help their message reach more people. With so much at stake in this land of 10,000 lakes (and many more pollinators), please help make their web site become a means to spread the word and slow the flow.

2014-03-14 22:39:07 UTC
Laura B

This organization has done so much for the look of our city- in the last twenty years we have gone from grass filled yards to beautify boulevard & front yard gardens, thanks to the support, inspiration & encouragement of Metro Blooms. Also, they've really helped improve our sustainability & clean our water up by teaching people about rain gardens & the watershed system.

2014-03-14 22:51:44 UTC
Jerry M

I first won 4 times than volunteered with a great organization promoting good health to the planet! And Metro blooms has done a fantastic job! Volunteering is great, you goto the 'best' houses with yards to envy, its easy as you get to see great plants and trees that people have crafted and cared for in their space!. Best topping on this plant desert is the gatherings! food great place to be at and learn about the people have won and what they did while enjoying the outdoors! This activity helps water and air resources correct themselves from mans activities!!!!

2014-03-15 00:09:29 UTC
Susan S.

A Metro Blooms raingarden workshop that I attended made me much more aware of the important issues around storm water runoff in our urban environment and the negative impacts that the runoff has on our lakes. A workshop I attended last spring inspired me to grow a back-yard vegetable garden and to house worms for vermicomposting. I've planted organic vegetables that I bought from Metro Blooms, and I've focused on adding perennial plants native to the area that are also pollinator and butterfly-friendly. Metro Blooms is a fabulous environmental organization for city dwellers. It has taught me a lot about all the things that each of us can do to lighten our footprint on the earth. Their website could really use a re-do, so I hope you'll help them get it done!

2014-03-15 18:40:42 UTC
Tina F.

Metro Blooms is dedicated to nurturing the gardener/planet caretaker in all residents. They teach sustainable design and show people how to make those designs happen in their own properties. They are especially known for their rain garden workshops and education. Through their outreach to many, many, many urban gardeners (and budding gardeners) they have helped create dozens upon dozens of rain garden (big and small) throughout the city and in so doing have limited the direct run off that goes into our waters. For being such a small organization staff-wise they are able to accomplish amazing amounts of work. Revamping their website would allow them to continue their education without having to worry about staffing that project too.

2014-03-15 18:49:04 UTC

Through the Metro Blooms raingarden workshops and Blooms Day programs, I have become more aware of what we can do to protect our environment by preventing run off from our yards, sidewalks, and driveways from polluting our waters, as well as native plants that are not only beautiful but reduce the need for watering and are beneficial to bees and other wildlife. It is so inspiring to see the beautiful gardens that have been created and to know that we can make a positive impact on the world around us. An improved website will help Metro Blooms reach more people for even more results.

2014-03-15 20:20:49 UTC
Lisa Mc

When people ask me about my rain garden, I proudly state I am a member of Metro Blooms. I love biking around the neighborhoods and seeing the little signs that proclaim "I am a rain garden"! This is the core of MB,
getting communities involved with keeping our world green and our water clear. Its all about the people and having a website that makes it easy to get the message out will only benefit our community. Please help Metro Blooms grow!

2014-03-15 21:39:16 UTC
Bob Wolk

My wife and I would like to thank Metro Blooms for helping us celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary by working closely with us when we gave each of our eleven neighbors a raingarden. Metro Blooms helped us find a landscape company well-versed in raingarden who was willing to meet with each of our neighbors to help them design the garden they would want. With the help of Metro Blooms, thousands of gallons of polluted rain water has been absorbed via native plants in the raingardens instead of flowing into Minnehaha Creek and ultimately to the Mississippi.

2014-03-15 21:43:05 UTC
Donna Morton

Living in Minneapolis for most of my life, I realize how beautiful gardens and landscaping increase the quality of life for residents. Metro Blooms is a group dedicated to improving the looks of the outdoors as well as helping to conserve the beautiful waterways of Minneapolis. By educating homeowners and business owners about rain gardens, Metro Blooms encourages responsible use of natural resources that benefits and helps sustain the city of Minneapolis. Improving the web site will make it easier for Metro Blooms to communicate their great information to those living in Minneapolis.

2014-03-15 22:54:46 UTC
Rich Harrison

A web site is often the medium that establishes the first impression an organization can make to its visitors and future supporters. It should convey the spirit and passion of what makes it so special while making information easy to find. If a new web site can help create a lasting connection to it's visitors like this non-profit did to me, then Metro Blooms future could be even more influential to our community and make an even stronger impact on our environment.

The potential for improving water quality in the Twin Cities is high.
Metro Blooms provides opportunities to educate citizens on the benefits of raingardens, sustainable landscape design and ongoing maintenance or our landscape. Through workshops and neighborhood wide programs, Metro Blooms enables our citizens to become better stewards of the land and empowers them to take action and to pass their knowledge on to others. Through this, they help beautify their neighborhoods and create a more diverse habitat and food sources for birds and our currently diminishing pollinators. All this while building community, helping form new relationships between neighbors and improving our overall quality of life.

2014-03-16 00:49:14 UTC
Marcella Grandpre

As a volunteer for Metro Blooms, I've ben able to see some very good work it does to enhance the quality of life in the community. Attractive front gardens help create a sense of community. People out working in their gardens often interact with their neighbors. When the environment is lovely and cared for it feel like it a good place to live. Traffic even slows down. The health of our waterways is also an extremely important factor in the communities long term quality of life. Metro Blooms work to promote and help people establish raingardens and sustainable gardening is beautiful and constructive way to protect our waterways. Unlike the beautiful front gardens and raingardens Metro Blooms promotes, its current website does not do the organization justice. Simply, it's not inviting and needs to expand to further its imapct.

2014-03-16 02:07:58 UTC
Jothsna Harris

Metro Blooms has a great mission and a fabulous staff. Spend any amount of time with them and you will understand that they are truly passionate about bringing positive and lasting changes in restoring the health of our local water resources. They are literally changing the landscape of the Twin Cities, for the better, through an educational, hands-on approach. It is no wonder why many of their volunteers are just as dedicated as they are, as their passion is contagious. I feel blessed to be involved with such a noteworthy organization.

2014-03-16 14:46:28 UTC

One of the best things about Minneapolis are the Lakes and Metro Blooms work to maintain the water quality is really important. I think lots of people don't have a clear understanding of what a Rain Garden is and how it can benefit the environment. A better website would help Metro Blooms spread the word and encourage increased participation in their efforts to improve the quality of living in the Twin Cities. Please help them!

2014-03-16 05:31:11 UTC
Addy Murtaugh

My gardening experience of 60 years has been enriched during the past seven years working with staff and volunteers of MetroBlooms. I have participated in evaluating many gardens, helped with presentations and have written descriptions of gardens for award programs. But, I have received more than I have given to this organization.

My own gardening processes and gardens have benefitted from the information, the observations, and the remarks of expert master gardeners. My own city block has also benefitted as my neighbors have adopted the procedures and applied this information in their own landscaping and gardens. Magical things happen when gardens bloom and blossom!!

MetroBlooms is a worthy organization supporting and nuturing individual and groups by assisting in making neighborhoods attractive and at the same time conserving our precious resource--water.
Their raingarden workshops provides the knowledge and awareness necessary for good conservation.

Congratulations to this organization for the outstanding program that works in making our city beautiful while conserving our resources.

2014-03-16 13:01:18 UTC
Nancy B, Master Gardener

Metro Blooms is a great resource for helping the environment through water saving gardens, native plant choices and attractive landscapes. Their classes are affordable, using landscape architects and Master Gardner volunteers to assist participants in site selection, installation and plant possibilities. Rather than allow water carrying pollutants to run into the storm sewers it is directed into rain catching gardens.

2014-03-16 16:53:31 UTC
Karin Ciano

I first discovered Metro Blooms in 2009 and have been a fan ever since. After learning of their terrific work in neighborhoods such as Powderhorn Park, I was thrilled when in 2011 my neighborhood association in Bryn Mawr decided to partner with Metro Blooms to encourage residents to build raingardens. With Metro Blooms' help, Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church built a large raingarden in a very visible part of the neighborhood that handles a great deal of runoff that would otherwise go into Bassett's Creek. It continues to prompt discussions with neighbors about how to build and maintain raingardens. A number of neighbors attended Metro Blooms' workshops and decided to build their own raingardens. Metro Blooms does a great job educating the public, inspiring volunteers, and leaving behind beautiful gardens to enhance neighborhoods, attract pollinators and protect the watershed.

As a volunteer master gardener with the University of Minnesota Extension, I've fielded lots of inquiries from the public about rain gardens. I always refer people to Metro Blooms' website. But I recognize people may lose patience with sites that are not up to date or are challenging to navigate, and that many people want to visit a site on their phones and tablets.

Metro Blooms is a natural for a website update. People see a raingarden and often pull out their phones to take a picture. They may have questions about when it was planted, how it works, how it's maintained, what plants are, and so on. If Metro Blooms had a mobile-responsive site, a QR code could lead the visitor to Metro Blooms' website to get answers--reaching more people, seizing the opportunity to inspire, and saving volunteer time.

2014-03-16 18:55:54 UTC

Metro Blooms is a great organization which has touched many people through their online outreach, rain garden workshops and local rain garden installations. I have personally been to a workshop and plan on building my own rain garden this year. I learned about metro blooms through a family member, but if their website was improved the organization could more easily reach and inform thousands more.

2014-03-16 19:06:05 UTC

I appreciate everything Metro Blooms is doing to keep our waters clean and our Twin Cities beautiful.

2014-03-17 00:09:45 UTC
Karen V

Metro Blooms is great! Reading through their description (only part of which I vaguely understand)of what they want a website to do proves that they are worthy of this grant and will make the best use of it! In fact, Metro Blooms is one of those wonderful non-profits that make the best use of everything given to them. They even re-purpose broken wheelbarrows!

2014-03-17 04:46:11 UTC

I was part of the Go Blue project for Diamond Lake an had Metro Blooms help me build 2 rain gardens. They are beautiful and useful and some of my neighbors have built their own after seeing mine. I attended a Metro Blooms how to build a rain garden workshop, also, and helped a friend build a one that she had been planning for years. This organization could change all bodies of water in the metro with the right tools, like a great new website.

2014-03-17 14:42:34 UTC

Metro Blooms does a fantastic job of engaging the community, educating people and giving them the tools they need to understand and implement landscape design and best management practices that benefit our environment and reduce the amount of runoff reaching our lakes, streams and rivers. Water quality is a serious issue that Metro Blooms has been addressing for a long time and it would be great if they could get the funding needed to improve their website and keep them on track with their mission and current with technology.

2014-03-17 16:00:55 UTC

Metro Blooms has done important work encouraging raingardens in my Bryn Mawr neighborhood, including a major project at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Their education regarding the environmental value of raingardens and their hands-on assistance with implementation has been invaluable. Metro Blooms does great work!

2014-03-18 01:53:43 UTC
Sue F.

Two of the most important qualities for a healthy and admired Minneapolis—the City of Lakes—are our lakes and neighborhoods. Metro Blooms nourishes and promotes both through their tireless and creative programs to educate and engage citizens in gardening and appreciating our environment. • Gardening develops beauty in communities, and conversations & cooperation among neighbors. Metro Blooms is a source for those activities. • Any improvements to the resources available to Metro Blooms, including an improved website, will help the organization reach more people who are interested in restoring, preserving, and enhancing our water resources, gardens, and neighborhoods. Thank you.

2014-03-18 16:30:25 UTC

The work Metro Blooms does to help local gardeners improve the quality of the neighborhoods through beautification and water gardens cannot be measured. They engage citizens and businesses with their tireless work, improving our environment literally and subjectively. To help them with any improvement to their website; to allow them to more efficiently do their work would serve all our communities.

2014-03-18 19:57:22 UTC
Vikki M

I first became a member of Metro Blooms many years ago after I attended a raingarden workshop. Then I was fortunate enough to be in a program that installed raingardens to improve the watershed for our local Powderhorn Park Lake, a success on many levels. I continued to help start and maintain other raingardens, and attend Metro Blooms events, graduating to a garden evaluator and fundraising table host. I love Metro Blooms because gardeners are so great about sharing their passion for beauty and care of the environment, plus really fun people. Metro Blooms deserves accolades for what it does, and help to continue growing!!

2014-03-19 22:14:37 UTC
Barbara C

I have been a Metro Bloom judge for approximately five years. It is a joy to meet people when you are evaluating their gardens. A recurring theme is that they or one of their neighbors started a boulevard garden and than did someone else on their block. You hear over and over how it has improved their sense of community on their block. This is a common comment in the nicest of neighborhoods to some that are on the fringe. Homeowners have been gracious and excited to share what they are growing, what they are eating, and what the benefits have been in their lives. Another constant comment is that they are improving the water quality or maintaining it. It is a wonderful organization staffed by few with countless volunteers making a real difference in our neighborhoods and city. Please consider funding them so they can continue the good work and education.

2014-03-20 02:19:17 UTC
John S

Volunteers. Neighborhood Associations. Businesses. Watershed Districts. Cities. Schools. Donors. All partnering with Metro Blooms for 30 years to make a positive impact in our local waterways. Each single person making a difference, no matter how small. Just like a raindrop hitting a pond and sending out ripples.

Please help Metro Blooms continue their work and reach their supporters by enhancing their website!

2014-03-21 03:14:50 UTC
Tamra from Birdtown

I installed a rain garden when remodeling my basement that had a bit of moisture in it. The rain garden was supposed to divert water away from the foundation. The rain garden has been a conversation source from the very beginning with my neighbors and visitors. After a couple of years when the garden plantings became established it is gorgeous. AND mission accomplished! My basement is also beautiful and moisture-free.

I am so excited about the many benefits of rain gardens that I became a volunteer with MetroBlooms.

Our Mission

Our mission is to promote and celebrate gardening to beautify our communities and help heal and protect our environment. Stormwater runoff is the number one source of pollution of our urban lakes and streams, and a raingarden is a simple action that every property owner can take to protect clean water. Typical landscape design is such that drainage is conveyed quickly from the property to storm drains via conventional grading of the landscape and connected impervious surfaces. A raingarden disconnects impervious surfaces and captures stormwater runoff to store it temporarily, allowing it to soak in and filter through the soil where it is cleaned naturally. Contaminants in the runoff, including phosphorus, are broken down by the soil, nitrates are used up by the plants, and petroleum is broken down by microbial action in the soil. By de-compacting the soil, adding organic matter, and using native plants in raingardens, more water can be retained in the soil, and water will be infiltrated deeper, allowing it to pass through multiple layers of filtration before entering and restoring our groundwater or reaching our lakes and streams. Rainwater is cooled naturally and in turn cools our urban landscape to limit the “heat island” effect. Native plants offer habitat for butterflies, bees and other fauna that depend predominantly on natives as their larval host plants. The decline of native plants in our landscape is cited as a major cause for pollinator decline. Raingardens protect and restore our environment in so many ways as they beautify our cities. They provide food and shelter for pollinators, decrease the need for fertilizer inputs by using native plants, cool our urban landscape, reduce habitat fragmentation and protect water quality.