The Grace E. Harris Hall Rain Garden is the first of it's kind at VCU. Promoted by the student organization, Green Unity for VCU, the planting of the garden was an opportunity for students to come together and help to “green” the VCU campus. The rain garden is planted in flowering species native to Virginia and is a small oasis of natural beauty in the middle of campus for students to gather and enjoy.
The purpose of the rain garden is to reduce the pollution flowing into the James River by reducing stormwater runoff. As rainwater flows across roads, lawns and other impervious surfaces, the runoff collects chemicals, fertilizers and other pollutants. The rain garden captures the runoff from impervious or paved surfaces that would normally drain into the James River and Chesapeake Bay. The plants absorb the runoff, where toxins and sediments are filtered and retained in the soil, therefore reducing the amount of runoff making its way downstream. Rain gardens help to manage the amount and more importantly, the quality of stormwater runoff.
The Bayscape Landscaping (bayscaping) at the Trani Center for Life Sciences is conservation landscaping that benefits wildlife, the James River and, ultimately, the Chesapeake Bay. This type of landscaping uses native plants to reduce the quantity of stormwater runoff, filter pollutants and reduce landscape maintenance costs at VCU.
Bayscaping reduces the amount of time needed to care for a landscape since all of the plants are locally adapted. It also reduces the amount of water used for irrigation and the use of chemical fertilizers. By installing bayscapes in the Chesapeake Bay watershed, we are helping to improve the water quality of local streams, the James River, the Chesapeake Bay and the habitat that the area provides for its wildlife.