Kansas City, Mo. – Black & Veatch is hosting a “Learn-in Day” for the Kansas City Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) crew on June 19 that includes interactive sessions on rain gardens and water engineering. The company will award $500 scholarships to each of the six 16- to 18-year-olds taking part in the “Learn-in Day” who complete the YCC program this summer.
The YCC program is co-sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation and the Full Employment Council. It provides summer projects for inner-city and minority youth that stress the importance of environmental conservation and research. One focus for the inaugural program this summer is to build four rain gardens throughout the Kansas City area.
“We’re glad to host these young people as they visit the first corporate rain garden in Kansas City,” said Dan McCarthy, President and CEO of Black & Veatch’s water business. “We’re planning hands-on sessions to introduce them to many aspects of rain gardens and other water engineering topics.”
McCarthy added: “We’d like to encourage them to consider environmental careers when they go to college, so we’re offering them a scholarship in addition to the $1,000 scholarship they’ll receive from AmeriCorps if they finish the summer program.”
The YCC members and their sponsors will take part in four interactive sessions on June 19 at the company’s 8400 Ward Parkway office:
- Water Supply – Where does our water come from and how do we protect it?
- Stormwater – How can we beneficially reuse stormwater to help prevent flooding and improve water quality, and what role do rain gardens play?
- Drinking Water – Why is tap water safer than bottled and so much less expensive?
- Wastewater – What does it take to return water to the environment in better shape than what we harvested from it?
“We’ll have taste tests, environmental puzzles, water engineering activities and a tour of the rain garden,” McCarthy said. “It will be educational, but it will also be fun.”
Along with the scholarship, each YCC member will receive educational materials and an mp3 music player that will be loaded with environmentally related songs. The scholarships will be awarded at a ceremony during a barbecue luncheon.
On June 18, the YCC members will also visit Hallmark’s headquarters in Kansas City to see an example of the recycling loop in action. Hallmark composts cafeteria food waste through Missouri Organic, and the resulting compost will be used as fertilizer on Hallmark’s rain garden when it is installed. The group will also tour the Missouri Organic facilities.
Rain gardens are sunken areas planted with native perennials that are specially designed to collect stormwater runoff and return it to the ground naturally and safely. According to recent research, properly designed rain gardens can effectively trap and retain a high percentage of common pollutants in urban storm runoff, which is designed to improve water quality.