Soils class builds rain barrels for water conservation

The Fort Hays State University soils class will be taking water conservation into their own hands by making rain barrels for the “Roll Out the Rain Barrel” project on Sept. 10 at the Kansas State Agricultural Research Center.

FHSU students enrolled soil class by Jean Gleichsner, associate professor of agriculture, are in charge of constructing the barrels for the public.

“One or more classes have participated in making the rain barrels since spring of 2009,“ Gleichsner said. “Students are required to participate in either the 1:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. shift or the 3:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. shift.”

“The students’ get a chance to see that what they learn in the classroom can be applied to ‘real’ life and that they can make a difference in their community,” Gleichsner said. “In this case, helping other learn how to conserve and wisely use water in the landscape.”

The project started in 2009 offering a cheap, old fashioned way to conserve water.

The 55 gallon barrels collect and store rain water from  gutter systems for later use in places like gardens and landscape.

The water collected is soft water, making it ideal for lawns and plants. This allows households to save money, prevent storm water runoff and reduce the use of city water.

This effort is in cooperation with Stacie Minson, Smoky Hill River Kanopolis Lake Watershed specialist.

“We have built and distributed over 5,200 barrels before this week’s event,” Minson said.

KSU Big Creek Middle Smoky Hill River Watersheds provides the parts for making the rain barrels and Coca Cola Enterprises, Inc. out of Victoria and Lenexa provides the barrels.

Barrels are $26 each and have a limit of 2 barrels per address. Barrels must be reserved and picked up from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday. There will be no delivery or late/early pick up available.

This will be the last rain barrel workshop for the year.

Registration forms are located at

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