DaVinci Water Garden Model Project
Portland, OR Gallery
The DaVinci Living Water Garden project began in Spring of 2000 and is a collaboration between DaVinci Arts Middle School and Urban Water Works, a non-profit organization. The goal of the project is to educate students and citizens about stormwater runoff and water quality, while also using the arts to celebrate the aesthetic properties of water. Our hope is that the students involved will forever be aware of the preciousness of water, its role in supporting our ecosystems and our society and their own ability to improve water quality, so that they will be life-long stewards of this essential resource.
The project reroutes stormwater runoff from 15,000 sq. ft. of roof and parking lot, into a 7,200 square foot water garden, and was designed and built by the students, teachers and parents of this school. Built on the site of an abandoned tennis court, includes a system of cisterns, pond, constructed wetland, and bioremediation swale that collects, cleans and absorbs 100% of the water that it captures. This garden reduces runoff entering the Willamette River 1 mile away; provides recreational and educational opportunities for the school and surrounding community; and provides a model for stormwater diversion that could be implemented by average households.
In the next few years, additional elements will be added and students and community will continue to use it as living laboratory, performance space and inspirational garden.
Here are some of the components.
Where is it located?
Who designed it?
What will the environmental impact be?
Who participated and how was it funded?
Dan Evans, one of two science teachers at DaVinci, was the lead teacher. In Year 1 he devoted the entire years curriculum to exploring all aspects of water, including environmental problems and solutions about water in Portland. In Year 2 he ran an afterschool club for students and parents to design the elements of the garden. In year 3 he and his students, along with other students at the school built and planted the finished garden.
Urban Water Works recruited technical support from their Advisory Board, professionals working in Portland and in other parts of the United States. Landscape architects, hydrologists, engineers, artists, architects and native plant specialists assisted students in exploring, designing and building the garden, and provided water analysis, drawings, grading and planting plans. Once building began in summer 2002, many local businesses provided services for free or at reduced rates including: concrete removal, grading, rock and topsoil, native plants, flowforms, pond liner, and downspout retrofitting. Parents, teachers and community members assisted by shoveling soil, moving rocks, and planting plants. Ongoing maintenance and stewardship of the garden will be managed by a volunteer group made up of students, parents, teachers, and community members.