April 15, 2015 - 12:41pm -- burwinkel.20

Ohio State University Extension-Clermont County was selected to paint a rain barrel as part of the second annual Rain Barrel Art Project, an initiative designed to educate the community about water conservation and pollution caused by storm water runoff. Local artist, Julie Saunders of West Union, Ohio designed and painted the Rain Barrel on behalf of the Extension Office. Saunders daughter, Anna, is a SNAP-Ed Program Assistant with OSU Extension in Clermont County.
The Rain Barrel Art Project is a joint effort of SaveLocalWaters.org and the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. As part of this initiative, community members throughout the Ohio River Valley submitted artistic designs to beautify otherwise dull rain barrels. Fifty of those designs were selected, and the submitting artists now are painting them on rain barrels that will be displayed at the Cincinnati Zoo’s Go Green Garden through April and auctioned off during the Rain Barrel Art Benefit Auction on April 23, 2015.
“Rain barrels are a great tool for conserving water and saving money, but some people are reluctant to use them because of their usually plain, unappealing appearance,” said John Nelson, a representative of SaveLocalWaters.org and a public relations specialist. “We believe that turning rain barrels into beautiful works of art will make them more desirable, so we’re pleased to collaborate on this event to raise awareness and encourage the use of rain barrels throughout the region.”
The rain barrel Saunders designed features the “Block O” significant of The Ohio State University and includes the words Extension and Clermont County. The “Block O” represents the entire University including current Discovery Themes - Health and Wellness, Energy and Environment, and Food Production and Security. Clermont County Extension is an arm of the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at OSU. Extension is guided by Signature Programs outlined as Food Security, Production and Human Health, Environmental Quality and Sustainability and Advanced Bioenergy and Biobased products.
The painted rain barrels will be auctioned off on April 23, 2015, during the zoo’s Party for the Planet event, with proceeds benefitting conservation education in the Ohio River Valley. “The zoo is thrilled to be hosting the rain barrel event once again. As the ‘Greenest Zoo in America,’ we are always looking for ways to inspire our community to take action that can impact the environment in positive ways,” said Sophia Cifuentes, the zoo’s sustainability coordinator.
Clermont Extension is a non-formal education branch of OSU. The office merges needs of local citizens with OSU’s research through four focus areas: Family & Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development, Agriculture & Natural Resources and Community Development. To learn more about Clermont Extension’s programming, please visit clermont.osu.edu or call 513-732-7070.
For more information regarding the Rain Barrel Art Project or SaveLocalWaters.org, contact John Nelson at 513-772-7645 or visit the website at savelocalwaters.org/rain-barrel-art-project.
SaveLocalWaters.org is the creation of the Regional Storm Water Collaborative of Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky, an organization focused on sharing resources to better leverage mass media and raise awareness concerning water quality issues in the Ohio River Valley. The collaborative is composed of storm water districts, municipalities, and soil and water conservation districts in Southwest Ohio and Northern Kentucky. Together, we can keep our waterways clean and healthy.