July 15, 2016

Rain garden at Manor College aims to preserve Jenkintown Creek


Kelly Peiffer/Manor College

Cutting the ribbon to unveil a new rain garden are (from left): Sister Dorothy Ann Busowski, provincial superior, Sisters of St. Basil the Great; Julie Slavet, executive director, Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc.; and Jonathan Peri, president of Manor College.

JENKINTOWN, PA – President Jonathan Peri of Manor College; Sister Dorothy Ann, OSBM, provincial superior of Sisters of St. Basil the Great; and Julie Slavet, executive director of the Tookany/Tacony-Frankford Watershed Partnership Inc. (TTF) on June 8 unveiled a brand new rain garden in the downslope edge of the Manor College parking lot.

The 2,000-square-foot rain garden will collectively manage the stormwater runoff from the impervious parking lot area. “We can determine that annually we are capturing approximately 400,000 gallons of runoff which will have reduced velocity, filtered pollutants and reduced volume through recharge into the ground,” said Ms. Slavet.

Sister Dorothy Ann added, “We embrace the words of Pope Francis that ‘everything has been entrusted to our protection and all of us are responsible for it,’ and are committed to the recognition of our founder, St. Basil the Great, that all creation is interconnected. This rain garden symbolizes our deep commitment and witness to the sustainability of our natural resources.”

In addition to the rain garden, a buffer was installed to slow and filter runoff, which is generated from Fox Chase Road and flows through the woodland area between the monastery and Manor College.

The buffer filters pollutants, provides habitat, and reduces velocity and volume from the stormwater runoff prior to it reaching Jenkintown Creek and wetlands. Within the buffer, Manor College and St. Basil Academy students planted 80 native trees in spring of 2014 covering a 10,000-square-foot area. The buffer was funded through a $2,500 grant from TreeVitalize.

“Our collaboration with TTF and the Sisters of St. Basil is a wonderful one for our entire community,” said Mr. Peri. “The rain garden both beautifies our campus and has the functional purpose of protecting our state creeks from pollutants. This is significant especially for our students, who want our world, with us, to be a greener, cleaner place.”

The rain garden was funded through the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation’s Delaware River Restoration Fund. Design costs for the rain garden were $18,000 and construction costs, including vegetation restoration were $38,000.