Jason Thomas

Toledo School for the Arts
Toledo, OH

Project Description:

“How to Grow a Parking Lot” is the innovative program developed by Thomas for students at the Toledo School for the Arts. Through the program, students will install a small-scale parking lot bioswale, another name for a rain garden. The purpose of the project is to improve the school’s sustainability by reducing the runoff of storm water and to enhance the students’ opportunities for learning. Students will be engaged in the entire process from the design, installation, maintenance, and monitoring of the bioswale. They will monitor the nutrient and pollutant levels, collect samples from the bioswale for laboratory analysis, and complete species-counting activities to learn more about the topic of biodiversity. In addition to the sampling activities, participants will also screen and analyze soil and water samples, and monitor plant, insect, and invertebrate species. With this work, students will gain essential laboratory experience. The program will provide a living classroom and laboratory outside of the school building and offer an opportunity for experimental green space in an urban environment. With the funds from the ING grant, Thomas, who lives in Toledo, will purchase a variety of trees, shrubs, monitoring equipment, and other items to implement the project.