Students with the Blue Ribbon Commission for the Prevention of Youth Violence (BRC) pretended to be engineers and raindrops during a stormwater lesson with staff from the North Carolina Coastal Federation last Friday.

Staff resumed programs with BRC on March 3 after working with them late last year. BRC provides after-school and summer opportunities for students in the “Youth Enrichment Zone” (YEZ), which is an area with historically high crime rates and gang violence, located in the north side of downtown Wilmington.

The federation received a grant from the State Farm Youth Advisory Board to work with BRC and several Title I New Hanover County Schools on coastal restoration and education activities.

On Friday, students refreshed on what they had learned about stormwater and rain gardens. Nina Quaratella, AmeriCorps member at the Wrightsville Beach office, said they started off the lesson with BMP (best management practices) tag, where students pretend to be raindrops going to an estuary. Students then took stormwater runoff reduction into their own hands, acting as engineers and breaking up into teams assigned to build a rain garden. They chose what resources, plants and tools they needed to build their rain gardens.

At the next lesson, March 24, students will be taking a trip to the Wrightsville Beach office, where they’ll take the Walk the Loop tour and work at the on-site rain gardens.

Check out photos from the day below!