Malden’s first rain garden project at Beebe School

GARDEN PARTY: Pictured from left to right, are; Wendy Lan,11; Fatima Lhaoui, 12; Ben Tajbel, 11; Justin Lin,11, Malden High School student Nina Ho; and Clay Larsen of Bike to the Sea. (Advocate photo by Juhi Varma)

It is 4.30 pm on a drizzly Monday, well past the final bell, and there is still a small group of kids in the otherwise deserted Beebe School parking lot. For the past twelve weeks, a group of sixth graders from the Beebe School have been busy building Malden’s first rain garden.

A rain garden is a landscape feature designed to capture storm water run-off from parking lots and roads. A small, 4000 square foot corner of Beebe School parking lot has now been transformed into one such rain garden. Clay Larsen of Bike to the Sea has been working with a group of seven students on this project as a part of their after school program.

“It’s a hole, six feet deep and filled with gravel,” Larsen explained. Obviously, the students have had help from professional landscapers. The top layer is covered with compost and the kids have planted irises, small dogwood trees, bugbane plants and native grasses in the garden. Their after school project also included lessons on environmental science and trips to the Malden River.  There is one other rain garden in Everett.