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Conservation can be ‘barrels of fun’

Matthew Capper, left, and Carrie Yaniko, right, with the Lawrence County Soil and Water Conservation District, show participants how to construct homemade rain barrels Friday afternoon.

Being green isn’t just about compact fluorescent light bulbs and recycling these days. It’s about overall conservation.

On Friday, the Lawrence Soil and Water Conservation District held a workshop at the Ironton Fire Station to give tips on how to harvest one of nature’s greatest gifts: water.

Carrie Yaniko, urban/education specialist, and Matthew Capper, district technician, demonstrated, with a few simple tools and supplies, how to make a rain barrel.

The barrels, Yaniko said, collect rainwater that would normally wash away and become polluted stormwater. Then the water can be used to water plants, gardens and lawns, saving resident’s money on their water bills.

“This is exactly what we should be doing as residents,” said Carol Allen, co-chair of Ironton in Bloom. Allen was at the workshop to learn about water management, which, she said, is one of the goals of Ironton in Bloom.

Dave Dunfee Jr. said he attended the workshop because he grows a lot of different plants and vegetables in his own greenhouse in Getaway.

“This is a whole lot more efficient,” he said of the barrels. He also said his water bills tend to get high in the spring when he begins planting flowers. He said he plans to build several rain barrels to help conserve water and money.

Rain barrels are fairly simplistic, not much more than a 60-gallon, food clean, plastic barrel with a hose spigot and overflow valve screwed in. Ready-made barrels can be bought as hardware stores, but all the supplies to make a homemade one are readily available as well.

Carolyn Schmeisser, Ironton resident and avid gardener, said she came to the workshop because of her general love for conservation.

“It’s good for the world, for our children and grandchildren,” she said.

Schmeisser was able to take home the barrel that was made in the workshop and would use that to water her plants, rather than her former method of moving her petunia planters out into the rain every time.

Schmeisser also said she encourages people to get on board with water conservation.

“I think people might not relate water conservation with recycling,” she said. “People don’t conserve water as much as they recycle.”

But, she reminded, if people would see that they are one in the same, people would be more willing to try it.