We knew West Craven High School (WCHS) was a special place when we saw the smiles and excitement from the staff while discussing how to install a giant water tank in front of the school’s welding shop. Mr. William Shaw, agricultural educator and FFA advisor, and Principal Tabari Wallace, NC’s 2018 Principal of the Year, were thrilled about our plan to harvest something other than East NC produce, stormwater! WCHS now has a brand-new 3,000-gallon Rainwater Harvester (which is a fancy name for “a tank collecting rain from the rooftop”).
Mitch Woodward, NC Cooperative Extension Special Agent and rainwater harvester extraordinaire, partnered with us and Mr. Shaw to design and construct this system. It allows students and staff to use collected stormwater for welding classes, to irrigate student-built raised planting beds, wash school vehicles and equipment, and any other use they can find for 3,000 gallons of free non-potable water! Rainwater harvesters are just one type of stormwater control measure, or SCM, but we love using them on school campuses because they’re great examples of transforming real problems (untreated stormwater) into real benefits (reducing need to use fresh tap water). It’s also a great opportunity for educators from multiple fields to use this system in their teachings. Math students can learn to calculate roof runoff, agriculture students can study rainwater irrigation, science classes can study water quality and environmental health, and art students can turn a big plain tank into something beautiful.
This cistern was installed as part of our Campus Stormwater Program, supported in part by Bosch Community Fund, the Harold Bate Foundation, the Craven County Community Foundation, and your generous gifts!
– Clay Barber, Environmental Projects Coordinator