Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center Rain Barrel/Compost Bin Sale and Flea Market – Saturday, August 20

The Chesapeake Bay Environmental Center will host a rain barrel and compost bin event with flea market at its beautiful, family friendly Grasonville facility on August 20, 2011. A portion of the sale proceeds go to CBEC, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to protecting the Chesapeake Bay environment through education, research, conservation and restoration programs.

Rain barrels and compost bins can be purchased on the CBEC website, bayrestoration.org, through August 6, 2011 and picked up on August 20, when CBEC will hold an open house at its 600 acre site where visitors can enjoy forests, meadows, beaches, observation blinds, 4 miles of trails with marsh boardwalks, and a canoe launch with canoes and kayaks available to give visitors access to the varied habitats that are vital to the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem.

The sale of rain barrels and compost bins will do more than raise money to help CBEC carry on its important work. Rain barrels and compost bins help the ecosystem. During rain storms, especially downpours, runoff from a house roof is concentrated in the gutters and downspouts to be discharged with speed and volume onto the ground. Due to the volume and the speed of the discharge, the water does not have time to filter into the ground, creating instead a runoff to the yard, driveway, streets, and eventually in this area into the Chesapeake Bay. During this runoff the water collects contaminants including silt, chemicals, oil etc. Rain barrels used as a containment vessel will hold the runoff and dispense it at a slow rate which will allow the water to soak into the ground where it is naturally filtered, preventing runoff water contaminants from flowing into the Bay.

Besides helping the environment and helping to save the Bay, harvesting rain water using a rain barrel can save money on water bills and provides a quality water source to improve the health of gardens, lawns and trees. Rain water is naturally soft and devoid of chemicals and minerals found in water from many municipal or on-site water systems. These chemicals and minerals can produce an imbalance in garden and lawn soil that may weaken plants and trees and make them more susceptible to disease.

The next time it rains look out your window and imagine all that roof runoff being put to good use. With an average size house as much as 150 gallons of rain water can be collected in a rain barrel after only a ¼ inch of rain. Even if you do not use the collected rain water for your garden you can be a steward of the environment by slowly releasing the collected water into the soil where it will absorbed slowly and beneficially.

Composting which returns organic matter to the soil in usable form also helps the ecosystem by stimulating growth of beneficial microorganisms, loosening heavy clay soils to assist root penetration, adding nutrients and improving the soil’s ability to hold water and those nutrients. Organic matter not composted contributes significantly to waste that needs to be disposed of by waste removal services and landfills. With a small investment in a compost bin and its use, a community’s waste removal problem can be lessened while at the same time the soil can be enriched and plant health improved.

For additional information or to order a rain barrel or compost bin visit the CBEC website at www.bayrestoration.org. Please remember rain barrels and compost bins are sold only on the CBEC website. Orders must be received by August 6, 2011. Only pickup of preorders will be available on August 20.

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