I run a non-profit fighting to improve wetland water quality in Illinois. As a result of climate change, flooding has become increasingly common in my community. Not only does this cause significant property damage and is potentially hazardous, but it also allows pesticides, industrial chemicals, sewage, and debris to enter local waterways, harming water quality and aquatic life. One way I am working to mitigate this is by creating seed libraries throughout my community and promoting the creation of rain gardens. Seed libraries have many native seeds available for free, with instructions on how to plant them. People can use native seeds from seed libraries like mine to plant their own rain gardens. Rain gardens are gardens composed of native plants grown in areas where water concentrates after rainfall. Through their xylems and long root systems, native plants filter water and help it infiltrate into the soil. This improves local water quality, replenishes aquifers, and reduces flooding. Additionally, rain gardens provide a habitat for pollinators. After the plants seed, seeds are easily harvested and donated back to a seed library to help others grow even more rain gardens. With funding, I will create more seed libraries, expanding my project’s impact.
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