Rain Bird Announces 2009 Award Winners

Rain Bird, the leading manufacturer and provider of irrigation products and services, has announced that Naples Botanical Garden is the winner of the 2009 Intelligent Use of Water™ Leadership Award, recognizing the organization’s leadership in the management of Earth’s most precious natural resource.

The garden, located in Naples, Fla., received $10,000 from Rain Bird and was featured in a short film highlighting the organization’s unique approach to water conservation at a special event held at the 2009 WaterSmart Innovations Conference and Exposition in Las Vegas.

“Naples Botanical Garden is a prime example of what community organizations, especially our public gardens, can do to combat the mismanagement of water and encourage the creative processes and systems for conserving water,” said Dave Johnson, Rain Bird’s director of corporate marketing. “Naples Botanical Garden is vibrant proof, not only to residents of Florida, but also to home and business owners nationwide, that responsible and efficient water use can yield healthy and beautiful landscapes.”

In an area with a problematic history of pollution and fertilizer runoff in communal waterways, Naples Botanical Garden is committed to the integration of sustainable green building practices into the design of its gardens. Having adopted the water use goals for LEED Gold Certification, the garden is a leader in freshwater conservation and management and incorporates numerous water conserving features into its design. Parking lot bio-swales capture rainwater that filters through the ground, carrying water to the giant entry feature bio-swale, the Rain Garden. A “River of Grass” garden feature serves as a natural filtration system before the water is slowly released to the preserve area. The primary irrigation system for the garden implements soil moisture detectors that direct water as needed through drip emitters. The system has allowed the garden to reduce water use by 50 percent.

Naples Botanical Garden was one of five finalists for the 2009 award that included Quail Botanical Gardens (Encinitas, Calif.), Hui o Ko'olaupoko (Kailua, Hawaii), Queens Botanical Garden (Queens, N.Y.) and the Council on the Environment of New York City (New York, N.Y). Each finalist was selected by an independent panel of judges based on a set of pre-determined criteria that included demonstrated water savings, landscape preservation, innovation and overall impact on the community.

Rain Bird also used the opportunity to present four state/local municipalities and water agencies with the 2009 Intelligent Use of Water State of the Union Award. Recognizing city and state municipalities and water agencies that excel in implementing effective landscape water-efficiency programs and initiatives, the 2009 State of the Union Award winners are:

  • City of Indian Wells, Calif.
  • Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Calif.
  • Missouri Botanical Garden, Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources, Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
  • San Antonio Water System – Conservation Department, Texas

As the 2009 State of the Union Award winners, each wins a spot on the panel of Rain Bird’s Intelligent Use of Water Summit XI, to be held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in April 2010. As panel members, they will have the opportunity to showcase their award-winning case study to an audience of U.S. and international water management leaders.

Judging this year’s nominations were an independent panel of landscape and water-efficiency experts: Dan Stark, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association; Marty Eberhardt, executive director of The Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon, Calif., and winner of the 2007 Intelligent Use of Water Award; Denis Gourdeau, Water Management lead, City of Calgary Parks, Alberta, Canada; and Christopher S. Gray, Sr., Golf Course superintendent at Marvel Golf Club in Benton, Ky., and winner of the 2008 Intelligent Use of Water Award.

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