Twelve to 15 workshops take place annually to teach homeowners how to install rain gardens on their property.
Workshops accommodate about 20 people, and theyre almost always filled, Anne Marie Smrchek, a professional engineer and stormwater water manager with City Utilities said.
It really allows us to spend time with homeowners and hear issues specific to their property, she said. Its fun to interact with residents and to watch what they come up with (for the rain gardens).
A rain garden installed by a homeowner not only benefits the property but also the neighborhood and the city, said Frank Suarez, spokesman for the public works and utilities division of the city of Fort Wayne. The more stormwater thats in the ground means less that runs into the citys sewer system.
Its also an opportunity to educate the public about stormwater, the environment and pollution caused by runoff water, Suarez said.
More than 1,000 residents have already attended workshops since the program was rolled out in 2009, some returning to showcase what theyve installed or to ask more questions, Smrchek said.
The city has an entire website devoted to the program that includes resources, how-to guides and instructions for registering a rain garden. For more information go to www.catchingrainfw.org.