Dr. Donald Carpenter implements a controlled burn of non-indigenous plant species on the campus of Lawrence Technological University.
Stormwater management trail planned for LTU campus
A stormwater management education trail is coming to Lawrence Tech, funded in large part by a $57,000 donation from the Erb Family Foundation of Birmingham. It will demonstrate techniques for minimizing the damage to the environment caused by stormwater runoff.
The educational tool is the brain child of Associate Professor of Civil Engineering Donald Carpenter, the founder and director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute at Lawrence Tech.
Signs at seven or eight stops will describe various run-off prevention and water preservation features on Lawrence Tech’s campus, including a green roof, porous pavement, rain gardens, and the use of native plants to replace lawns.
Carpenter hopes that the trail, along with other efforts, will help educate builders, architects, local zoning officials, and others that these features can be a regular part of any construction.
“In general I think there is a disconnect for a lot of the public in understanding how water management works, the tie between water management and protecting our water,” said Carpenter, who finds that elementary and middle school-aged children have a better grasp of the topic than their parents.
The mission of the Erb Family Foundation, founded by Fred and Barbara Erb, is to nurture environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit by supporting projects aimed at restoring the Great Lakes Basin. ®EP
Erb Family Foundation Funds Lawrence Tech Projects
Stormwater Trail on Campus
In keeping with its mission to support initiatives to restore the Great Lakes Basin, the Erb Family Foundation has awarded a $57,000 grant to Lawrence Tech Associate Professor Donald Carpenter to build a stormwater management educational trail on campus.
Carpenter, who is founder and director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute at Lawrence Tech as well as an associate professor of civil engineering, is one of Michigan’s leading proponents of low impact development (LID).
“Lawrence Tech itself is a fine example of LID,” said Carpenter. “We feature a wide variety of sustainable practices that conserve and protect natural resources, including a green roof, bioswale, porous pavers, naturalized areas, cisterns, and rain gardens.These all will be stops on the stormwater management educational trail and marked with appropriate educational signage.”
In addition, the Erb Family Foundation grant will underwrite the cost of a general information LID booklet that also will serve as a guide for the trail, an interactive website to provide a “virtual” course with informationfor best management practices, and a video of the trail’s features.
“We’re also planning to host a workshop and seminar on LID design techniques,” added Carpenter. “We hope the trail will attract researchers, community groups, youth organizations, students, and others interested in the preservation of natural resources.”
Tour goers will learn about water quality issues associated with urbanization and innovative approaches for dealing with stormwater as well as how best management practices are designed.
“We hope people will grasp how stormwater management influences the overall health of the entire Great Lakes watershed,” said Carpenter.
“We are grateful to the members of the Erb family for their support of this effort on campus and its impact on the entire region,” said Howard Davis, director of corporate and foundation relations. The Erb Family Foundation, which was established in 2007 by Fred and Barbara Erb, formalized their family’s legendary philanthropy that actually dates back to the 1950s.
Armed with a degree in business, Fred bought into Erb Lumber, his uncle’s business, shortly after World War II. At the time, the company had one location and seven employees. When Fred sold the chain in 1993, it was the largest lumber distributor in Michigan with 45 stores in several states and more than 1,300 employees.
“The foundation, focused on effecting systemic change by nurturing sustainable communities, is the Erbs’ legacy,” added Davis.
For more information on the Erb Family Foundation grant for the Stormwater Management Educational Trail, contact Howard Davis, director of corporate and foundation relations, at 248.204.2316 or email@example.com.
Pontiac Community Garden Project Plants Seeds of Change
Lawrence Tech is part of a $90,000 grant from the Erb Family Foundation to develop four community gardens in Pontiac, Michigan, that will help increase awareness of environmental issues while producing fruits, vegetables, and flowers for area residents in 2012.
Donald Carpenter, associate professor of civil engineering, is heading up the Lawrence Tech effort. He said, “Our contribution will be to conduct a survey of each site, perform soil measurements, develop a color landscaping plan, and order construction materials and supplies. Our team, which is comprised mostly of civil engineering majors,will function as the construction project manager as well as offer guidance on the educational materials being prepared. It’s a great experience for our students.”
Carpenter, who is also founder and director of the Great Lakes Stormwater Management Institute at Lawrence Tech, welcomes the opportunity because it will help create mentors, tutors, and champions of environmental preservation among local residents while contributing to neighborhood beautification and civic pride.
“It’s our hope,” said Carpenter, “that the project will promote a cleaner environment and good health through home grown fruits and vegetables.”
Other participants in the grant include Cranbrook Institute of Science, Welcome Missionary Baptist Church, Pontiac Garden Club, the Greater Pontiac Community Coalition, Pontiac Public Schools, and the Engineering Society of Detroit.
Founded by Fredand Barbara Erb, of the Erb Lumber enterprise,the Birmingham-based foundation “focuses the family’s philanthropy through the lens of sustainability.”
Howard Davis, director of corporate and foundation relations, said, “The Erb Family Foundation has a long history of supporting initiatives that nurture environmentally healthy and culturally vibrant communities in metro Detroit as well as efforts aimed at restoring the Great Lakes Basin. We are excited to be a part of this significant local effort.”
For more information on the Erb Family Foundation’s Community Garden Project, contact Howard Davis, director of corporate and foundation relations, at 248.204.2316 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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