It’s a win-win partnership for students at both Desert Garden Montessori and graduate students at Arizona State University.

On Friday, the graduate students kicked off the start of a rain water catchment project that was the culmination of months of design and planning for one of their final classes. Armed with shovels, rakes, and more, the group, who will graduate this year, finished clearing out a plot of land outside the school that will contain the “Project Rainwater Welcome Garden.” The garden will come together in the months ahead and will utilize the rainwater collected by the developed system.

“It’s always been our goal to teach our children how to be responsible when it comes to sustainability,” said Shetal Walters, director of development for Desert Garden Montessori.

For their class, called Urban Landscape Water System Management, the students designed nine different rainwater projects. Administrators at Desert Garden Montessori say they want all nine to eventually be implemented at the school.

It is the first time the class was offered at ASU and is part of the School of Architecture and Design. It is taught by Heather Kincaid.

“The goal is to learn to use water more efficiently,” Kincaid said. “I’m teaching them ways to keep water on-site.”

Friday, the Desert Garden Montessori students demonstrated another project that has become a staple at the school, called the Mercado, which was themed with “Earth Friendly” product lines in honor of Earth Day. The students exchanged goods and services in a simulated business environment to learn about the different aspects of running and adapting their own business.

“They see what is selling and how much of it,” Walters said. “If there product isn’t selling, they look at maybe what is and how they can appeal to more people.”

The goal was to finish the first rainwater catchment project in time for the coming monsoon season, Walters said.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or troemhild@ahwatukee.com

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