School Competition to Promote Water Conservation, Student Creativity

SPRINGFIELD–(ENEWSPF)–January 20, 2011. The Illinois Department of Transportation announced today that 45 lucky elementary schools will receive free rain barrels as part of a new contest promoting green and sustainable practices. The winners – five schools from each of IDOT’s nine statewide districts – will be recognized during Earth Day celebrations in April.

“We constantly are searching for new and creative ways to encourage conservation and green construction practices,” Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig said. “The IDOT Rain Barrel Design Competition is one way to get our youngest generation involved.”

Starting today, elementary school districts across the state will receive, via email, a blank template of a rain barrel’s exterior for the students to decorate. Winning entries will be chosen by IDOT based on which designs best promote water re-use. Creativity and artistic quality also will be considered. Schools interested in receiving more information can contact IDOT’s Sustainable Practices Manager Steve Massey at 815.434.8414 or at [email protected]. The deadline for submissions is March 7.

Students who decorate and install their rain barrels will be acknowledged by IDOT during Earth Day festivities April 22.

The contest idea earned IDOT a Green Government Award from the Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council at the recent Annual Sustainable Symposium in Springfield. The award, based on demonstrating an exceptional commitment to improving the environmental quality of Illinois, was in the Water Quality & Conservation category.

Illinois Correctional Industries, a division of the Illinois Department of Corrections, as part of their expansive recycling programs, is donating the rain barrels – previously used to store liquid hand soap – at no cost to taxpayers.