The Hunt school, in conjunction with the Hunt Garden Club and community members, installed a rainwater harvesting system (with a 20,000 gallon storage tank) in 2009 at the school Discovery Garden. One of the things that was unique with this project is that the project became part of the school curriculum and the students were involved in all aspects of the system design. It was a very exciting practical learning experience for the students.

   Water is a finite resource that requires careful and proactive management. In late 2007, the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) established an annual Texas Rain Catcher Award, which is "a rainwater harvesting competition and recognition program to promote the technology, educate the public, and to recognize excellence in the application of rainwater harvesting systems in Texas." The winning entries are posted on the TWDB website for at least a year and published in their spring newsletter. The winners are also invited to Austin to receive their award at the TWDB board meeting, and a reception is held for them after the ceremony.

Fifth and sixth graders from Hunt School, in Hunt, Texas traveled to Austin to claim their award

Fifth and sixth graders from Hunt School, in Hunt, Texas traveled to Austin to claim their award

The competition is open to all individuals, companies, organizations, municipalities and local and state governmental entities. In 2009, the TWDB replaced the single award system with three award categories: residential, commercial / industrial, and education / government, with the right to establish additional categories in the future. There is no time limit on when the system was installed and when the application can be made; but, an entity can only win once.
   The submission should 1) demonstrate how the rainwater harvesting system has helped conserve surface water and / or groundwater through reduced dependency on conventional water supply systems; 2) demonstrate how the rainwater harvesting system has saved money for the owner; 3) demonstrate how the system has benefited the environment without itself adversely impacting the environment; 4) display originality and innovation , or an innovative mix of existing and new knowledge; and 5) explain the uniqueness of the system.

   The project team applied for the 2009 Texas Rain Catcher Award in the education/government category and on February 2, 2010 was notified that they won the award!

   On February 17th, the Hunt school 5th and 6th graders, teachers Kate Caraway and Joseph Hennigan, Principal Adrienne Grubb, several parents and members of the project team traveled to Austin to receive their award at the monthly Texas Water Development Board (TWDB) meeting. After receiving the award and having their picture taken with the TWDB, the Rain Team of the TWDB held a reception for all the 2009 Rain Catcher award winners, giving the winners the opportunity to discuss their projects.
   The children are now part of a select group of people in the state and hopefully will become our future leaders in rainwater harvesting. At a minimum, the experience will be something that they will remember for many years to come. Linda McCall, the TWDB’s Education Specialist, said there has been a lot of research that indicates children learn so much from “service” projects like this one, especially in the area of problem solving. They hope to use the Hunt School Rainwater Harvesting Project as an example to other education focused organizations, seminars, and workshops.

                                                                                                                   Submitted by Bernadell Larson, HCMG