Melville Rain Garden

Eastern Rhode Island Conservation District (ERICD) today announced that it will celebrate the official opening of its Outdoor Learning Activity Zone at Melville Elementary School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 10 at 4:30 pm. The public is welcome to explore this new community asset.

ERICD District Manager, Sara Churgin, said, “This Outdoor Learning Activity Zone acts as an outdoor classroom, which allows students to learn safely while adhering social distancing protocols. Uniquely, anyone can enjoy this garden because it is fully handicap accessible.”

This project, completed in 2020, was made possible by a partnership between ERICD, Thrive Outside, Rhode Island Department of Transportation, and Melville School.

Churgin said, “This project was actually finished right as the pandemic was hitting, so the students were able to learn safely outside. 1,000 students have used it to date. We are so excited to finally welcome the public to this beautiful, engaging space.”

The installation at Melville Elementary School in Portsmouth takes up one third of the school’s back field. Its design incorporates a rain garden, which collects polluted stormwater that would normally flow into Melville Pond, an integral water source in the Narragansett Bay Watershed. Each year it will remove an average of .48 pounds of phosphorus, .33 pounds of zinc, 4.28 pounds of nitrogen.

The public and media are encouraged to attend. Please arrive early to park. Email for questions.