LTMS Stormwater Challenge



This activity was funded by a grant to Friends of the Kaw from Johnson County Stormwater Management. In the fall of 2012 the Stormwater Runoff Challenge was offered to Mr. James Brabec's 6th, 7th & 8th grade science classes at Lexington Trails Middle School in De Soto, KS.  Students were asked to determine the most effective location for a rain garden to be planted on their school grounds. Two winners were chosen from ten projects submitted by nineteen students and a location was chosen for the schools rain garden.  The rain garden was constructed and planted in the spring of 2013 and planting was expanded in the fall of 2013 both times with student participation.  Funding for Lexington Trails Middle School was also provided in the grant to Friends of the Kaw from Johnson County Stormwater Management.


Lexington Trails Middle School Rain Garden

CHALLENGE: Improve the stormwater runoff from the LTMS school grounds.

GOAL: Determine the most effective location for a rain garden. 

Rain garden may or may not be placed in the most effective location; depends on actual cost and resources which is not the purpose of this challenge.





$100 Grand Prize  Most Detailed Comprehensive Proposal

·      Should have a Basic Environmental Stormwater Runoff Impact Study for school grounds

·      Research Rain Gardens-include information on why rain gardens are helpful and propose types of plants

·      Include information where the most effective placement of rain gardens.

·      Present alternatives for improving stormwater runoff.

·      Must include all the creative aspects, scientific aspects and most detailed.

·      Organization of digital presentation should include photos, illustrations and maps.

·      Should include suggestions of other ways to improve school ground runoff.


$50  Most Science Related Proposal

·      Should have Basic Environmental Stormwater Runoff Impact Study

·      Rain Garden Research & plant selection

·      Presentation should include alternatives for improving stormwater runoff.

·      Emphasis should be on choosing a site and justifying location.


$50  Most Creative Proposal

·      Emphasis should be on creative digital presentation using photos, illustrations, drawing and maps.

·      More emphasis on design of rain garden & plants with emphasis on most effective plants for location. 




Design a rain garden and site proposal based on research, observations, and testing.


Project is to be presented in digital format to the Friends of the KAW for judging (please download to a disk.)  Judging will be based on all the above requirements. The grand prize will be awarded to the person or group that designs and takes the story of stormwater runoff to a bigger audience.


Due Date: December 7, 2012; no later than 3:45 PM




1.    Investigate how to locate and construct a rain garden.

2.    Investigate runoff water from the LTMS grounds

a.  Identify and map path of water runoff

b. Identify where the water goes

c.   Identify activities around the school that might add to the pollution to runoff water

d.  Identify types of pollution that might be found in runoff water at site (examples: soil, chemicals, litter, poop, etc)

3. Propose site for LTMS rain garden include your reasoning for choosing location    

4. Design a rain garden for the site you chose:

            a. Continue to research rain gardens. 

    b. What is the targeted pollutant(s) that you intend to reduce and how will the rain garden accomplish this reduction.

    c.  Including what plants you would use for the rain garden and reason for selection.

Key Ideas to Help With Research:


1.  Survey School Property (Information to be used for Basic Environmental Storm-water

     Impact Report):

   Estimate amount of vegetation (grass, trees, shrubs vs. bare ground)

   Find out types of chemicals put on grounds (fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides)

   Find out soil improvements other than fertilizer such as-mulch or manure, etc?

   What type of soil is around school?  (soil test)

   Observe erosion or soil loss around grounds?

   Activities on school grounds and what types of pollutants could they contribute?

   Determine amount (percent) of vegetation to asphalt & cement

PicasaWeb Slideshow

2.  Determine the affects school ground runoff affects the streams in immediate area:

   Map where runoff goes (what streams or rivers are affected?)


3.  Determine most effective location of rain garden:

   Research rain gardens

   Decide location for rain garden & why you believe your choice of location is best. 

   What are your targeted pollutants and what do you see this rain garden will accomplish.  

    On the above research where would you place a rain garden

Informational Websites to help with research:


Introduction to how water moves & possible impacts information:


What is a Watershed?

What’s in the Water?


Stormwater Runoff Pollutants Information:           







Indicators of Possible Pollutants:

            Color, odor or foam:

            Algae Bloom:



Rain Garden Information:




Laura Calwell,
Nov 16, 2012, 1:00 PM