Special Reports
Learn How to Capture Nature's Gold

By Barbara Storz
The Monitor
April 27, 2007

The Texas Cooperative Extension and the Texas Water Resources Institute are
sponsoring a conference, entitled “RainWater - Capturing Nature’s Gold!” on May
11 at the Echo Hotel, located on Business 281, in Edinburg.

Registration and refreshments begin at 8 a.m. with speaker sessions starting at
9 a.m. The conference ends with tours of RainWater Harvesting Systems, including
an installation in a new public park in North San Juan. The park system captures
rainwater from the restroom roofs and water is utilized on trees. More than 90
percent native trees and shrubs are used in the park. Master Gardeners will be
on hand to answer questions regarding plant materials. The cost of the
conference, including lunch and tour, is $30 per person or $45 per couple.
With much of the state in a serious drought situation, this is definitely the
time for homeowners and businesses to consider rainwater collection as a way to
irrigate their landscapes.

Typically, Texans utilize 70 percent of their water during the summer on
landscape irrigation. Those of us living on the Rio Grande, an endangered
waterway, truly must make every effort to conserve water. Rainwater capture
systems also can be used by business owners to reduce run-off from parking lots
and eliminate mosquito problems, so common in open ponds.

By using native plants, lots of mulch, drip irrigation, and rainwater
harvesting, we can protect the value of our landscape, reduce soil erosion,
runoff and flooding, provide needed water for wildlife, and still have water for
human consumption.

Speakers include Dr. Bruce Lesikar, Texas Cooperative Extension, College
Station, who will provide a program on “Step by Step Rainwater Capture Systems
for Landscapes.” Justin Mechell, Texas Cooperative Extension, will talk about
using rainwater harvesting for in-home use and provide a program on harvesting
rainwater for wildlife. Additionally, Dr. Gene Lester, USDA-ARS, will give a
presentation on the use of native plants in a formal suburban landscape and
Brian Nobel, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Austin, will talk about
the importance of using compost. I will provide a program on Waterwise Gardening
and lead the tours.

Reservations for the conference can be made by calling the Texas Cooperative
Extension office in Edinburg at (956) 383-1026, or (800) 638-8239. Reservations
are a must, since lunch is being provided.
Barbara Storz serves South Texas residents as the area Extension Horticulturist.
You can reach her at (956) 383-1026 or by e-mail at b-storz@tamu.edu.


Promoting Green Building Design, Construction and Operation, Sustainable Living,
Clean Technology, Renewable Energy Resources and Energy Independence