Caching the Rain in Castlewood Park

RobBy: Rob Gates
Outreach Specialist
Bluegrass Greensource

Visitors to Castlewood Park in Lexington’s North End might be surprised to find some interesting new additions to the park’s landscape. Since 2015, as part of The City of Lexington’s Stormwater Incentive Grant Program, the park had received a number of exciting upgrades to help improve stormwater quality within the park and in the surrounding community. 

On April 29th, 2017 Bluegrass Greensource held a special event in conjunction with the international geocaching community’s Cache In Trash Out® (CITO) environmental initiative to help clean the park and highlight its many stormwater features. Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the geocache (container) hidden at that location. Since 2002, CITO has helped preserve the natural beauty of cache-friendly spaces. In that time, more than 240,000 people have volunteered at 11,000 CITO events. At Castlewood Park, 25 volunteers collected over 120 lbs of litter while learning about the importance of the park’s many stormwater features in the process.

In addition to picking up litter, attendees also participated in a “Stormwater Scavenger Hunt” where they were able to get a firsthand look at many of the park’s unique stormwater features. Participants used a special map to navigate to 12 different stormwater features located throughout the park. Each location contained information explaining the purpose and importance of each feature as well as a clue to a stormwater related puzzle. Upon finishing the puzzle, participants were entered in a drawing for a limited edition Cane Run Watershed print from Cricket Press. 

Among the upgrades on display were multiple rain gardens that utilize soils and native Kentucky plants to slow stormwater runoff and remove contaminants through natural processes.  The scavenger hunt also featured an edible orchard and Kentucky Oak Savannah landscape that help prevent erosion, provide surface area for rain to evaporate, and create shade and natural habitat for multiple species. Along the way, participants learned about the importance of proper pet waste disposal, best management practices in construction projects, and educational efforts to keep protect storm drains.

Thanks to funding from the City’s Stormwater Incentive Grant Program North Lime Community Development Corporation will continue efforts to improve stormwater quality in future projects and initiatives with assistance from local organizations including Ecogro, Bluegrass Greensource,Town Branch Tree Experts, Seedleaf, Bullhorn Creative, and the Castlewood and North Limestone Neighborhood Associations.

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