Environmental Protection

Black & Veatch Plans Rooftop Rain Garden

Black & Veatch, based in Kansas City, Mo., will build a rooftop rain garden at its headquarters' office.

The rooftop garden will be located on the ground-level patio at the building and extend over the roof of the parking garage. A special soil mixture will be used to ensure the garden is not too heavy for the parking garage structure.

"We are excited to be able to continue our commitment to Kansas City's 10,000 Rain Garden's initiative through the expansion of our corporate rain gardens," said Dan McCarthy, president and chief executive officer of the company's water business. "The garden is currently in the design stages, with construction planned for this fall."

The company announced the expansion during the Second Annual "Learn-in Day" for the Kansas City Youth Conservation Corps crew, which included interactive sessions on rain gardens and water engineering. During the event, the company also awarded $250 scholarships to each of eleven 16- to 18-year-olds participating in the "Learn-in Day" who complete the program this summer.

Funding for the scholarships came from a grant from the Building a World of Difference® Foundation to the Missouri Conservation Heritage Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Missouri Department of Conservation, which is a co-sponsor of the program with the Full Employment Council.

The corps' members and their sponsors participated in four interactive water engineering sessions:

• Water Supply – Where does our water come from and how do we protect it?

• Stormwater – How can we beneficially reuse stormwater to help prevent flooding and improve water quality, and what role do rain gardens play?

• Drinking Water – Why is tap water safer than bottled and so much less expensive?

• Wastewater – What does it take to return water to the environment with better quality than when we harvested it?

The day's activities included taste tests, environmental puzzles, water engineering activities, a tour of the company's rain garden and a community service project titled "Rain Garden in a Bag."

For the project, participants made clay seed balls with a special seed mixture for native plants in the Kansas City area. The bags will then be distributed to non-profit organizations to enable them to plant their own rain gardens throughout the city.

Black & Veatch has partnered with Hallmark Cards, Inc., on this youth program for two years.

On June 10, the members visited Hallmark's headquarters in Kansas City to see an example of the recycling loop in action. Hallmark composts cafeteria food waste through Missouri Organic, and the resulting compost is used as fertilizer on Hallmark's rain garden. The group also toured the Missouri Organic facilities on June 10.

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