A Playful Bio Diesel Shed at Baldwin Farm Resource Center

As part of Baldwin Farm Resource Center’s educational program, we are creating new water flows for active learning school children programs. This particular water flow demonstration will be a lot of fun for school aged children and parents alike. Kids who visit us will make it rain with our garden hose, and then watch the rain they made tumble down our bio diesel shed’s gutters and downspouts in playful ways. Then the best fun starts. Water that splashed down our homemade downspout finds its way into an underground cistern like the ones grandpa used in the old days. On top of that cistern there’s an old green hand pump, just like the one grandma had in her kitchen before city water was on hand. Each kid gets to pump that old pump up and down until water comes out of the cistern. And they get to see it splash into an old make-believe grist mill flume. There it dances along in full sight to our rain garden, right where you can see it splashing onto our happy rain garden plants!

In this way kids get to experience how water can be collected, and used to water (nurture) plants in our rain garden. In this way kids can see how buildings can be used to collect rainwater, and then help us keep our planet green.

This story began when the time came to build a shed for our bio diesel cooperative storage tank. Our task was to find a way to contain any possible bio diesel overflows, and at the same time show our visitors a working example of how buildings can be used to help make our farm more fertile. 

So we buried a big precast concrete septic tank nearby and made two separate compartments inside of it. One part of the tank was designed to hold the biodiesel and the other to hold rainwater. Then we designed a metal roofed shed to cover the original above ground biodiesel metal tank that’s been on the farm for years. Rainwater landing on our new shed roof is collected in imaginative ways so that anyone standing nearby can actually see the water going from the roof into our wooden gutters, then to an underground pipe that’s connected to the underground cistern. This same water can be pumped out with an old hand pump and again, in an imaginative way, sent its merry way along a homemade wooden flume (slue to some folks) to a nearby rain garden.  

Each time this happens during an educational event at the farm, kids are told the story of how precious water is, and how they can help nourish the Earth by saving water collected from building roofs.

“How is this possible?” our kids might ask. Well, the answer is pretty simple. Each time we store rain water collected from building roofs, then use it in dry weather, we extend the range and diversity of the plants receiving the water being pumped to them. And micro organisms living underneath where plants grow can be benefitted too. In this way, over time, we contribute to the creation of more living things.

As children grow up, they’ll remember experiencing stories like this one. It’s important for kids to learn to value the natural world. Someday when they are adults, they’ll remember to always look for opportunities to enrich the lives of plants, soil, and yes, even bugs!

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  1. Posted September 23, 2011 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

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  2. Posted September 24, 2011 at 3:59 am | Permalink

    Much appreciated for the information and share!

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