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BES participates in rainwater collection program
group bethune elem
Students at Bethune Elementary School are shown below with a rain barrel that was delivered to the school.

With this year’s heavy summer rains now gone and county soil returning to normal the Kershaw Conservation District (KCD) has provided three rain barrels to a local school for use in the Fall gardens.

Many schools in Kershaw County have gardens that serve educational purposes for their students. The gardens at Bethune Elementary School (BES) started a few years ago. "The school has been fortunate to have students who are ready and willing to learn about plants and how they should be cared for and harvested," Martie McCaskill, a BES science teacher said. Each grade level planted different sees so that they each could be responsible for a particular area. Pictures were made and journals were kept of the plants’ progress.

The Bonnie Seed Company donated plants for the garden and Bobbie Collins, president of the Bethune Garden Club, gave instructions to the students as to how to care for the plants.

Collecting and reusing rainwater from gutters and downspouts for lawns and gardens minimizes the amount of water flowing into storm drains, sewer systems and local waterways. Plants prefer rainwater because it is naturally "soft" and free of chlorine, fluoride and other chemicals. Millions of pounds of pesticides are applied to lawns each year, contaminating storm water runoff. Rainwater collection minimizes this runoff, reducing the flow of harmful pollutants into local waterways.

Rainwater collection is gaining momentum among concerned citizens and government entities. Rainwater collection is being encourage through installation assistance programs, tax credits and other financial incentives.