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Dorseyville Middle school students tackle rain barrel project

Tawnya Panizzi
| Tuesday, April 5, 2016, 9:00 p.m.
Jack Rosenberger wipes down a barrel as he and others prepare them for pickup for the Barrels by the Bay project at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara on Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Jack Rosenberger wipes down a barrel as he and others prepare them for pickup for the Barrels by the Bay project at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara on Saturday, March 19, 2016.
Volunteer Jack Rosenberger loads a barrel into the trunk of Cheryl Etters' SUV for the Barrels by the Bay project at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara on Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016.  Etters is an eighth-grade art teacher at Dorseyville Middle School in Indiana Township.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Volunteer Jack Rosenberger loads a barrel into the trunk of Cheryl Etters' SUV for the Barrels by the Bay project at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara on Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016. Etters is an eighth-grade art teacher at Dorseyville Middle School in Indiana Township.
Jack Rosenberger moves barrels to the back of a truck to prepare them for pick-up for the Barrels by the Bay project at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara Township on Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016.
Jason Bridge | Tribune-Review
Jack Rosenberger moves barrels to the back of a truck to prepare them for pick-up for the Barrels by the Bay project at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara Township on Saturday, Mar. 19, 2016.

Two brightly decorated rain barrels were installed at Camp Guyasuta in O'Hara, thanks to Dorseyville Middle School students who tackled the project to learn how to better preserve local water supplies.

“It was fun to work outside with my friends,” said Jean Daniher, a seventh-grader who helped place the barrels at the facility where her father, Mike, serves as camp ranger.

The lesson is linked to the nonprofit Barrels by the Bay program, which is dedicated to educating young people about water resources in the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding regions.

Harrison Township native Megan Rosenberger, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., founded Barrels by the Bay.

More than 100 teachers in Allegheny County have registered to participate in the effort's Three Rivers Project.

Between now and Earth Day on April 22, students will paint recycled Coca-Cola syrup barrels to learn about Pittsburgh's famous three rivers and how stormwater run-off concerns can be minimized through rain barrels.

Nanci Goldberg, Dorseyville Middle School art teacher, said the project coupled perfectly with a learning unit called “The Water Project,” in which students researched questions on how to protect the water supply.

“The opportunity for our art students to design and create a rain barrel was really exciting,” Goldberg said.

The nonprofit EarthEcho International, PPG Industries Inc. and Coca-Cola are sponsors. More than 100 white barrels from the beverage company were distributed last month at Squaw Valley Park in O'Hara.

Rosenberger was on hand to dish out paint and teaching suggestions.

“We hope to inspire the next generation of environmental proponents throughout the program, and to provide something unique to the local infrastructure,” Rosenberger said.

“The three rivers are an important component of our region, and our priority is ensuring that the next generation understands this importance as well,” said Rosenberger's sister, Elizabeth Rosenberger, who serves as Barrels by the Bay executive director.

Mike Daniher eagerly accepted the rain barrels, as he said his crew constantly works to green the campgrounds.

Camp Guyasuta is owned and operated by the Laurel Highlands Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Students designed a plan, model and educational information about water conservation and stormwater management, Daniher said.

“The cool part is water from the new expanded side of the education center flows to a rain garden,” he said.

In May, fourth-graders from Fox Chapel Area elementary schools are scheduled to attend a field trip at Camp Guyasuta to learn about watersheds and creeks.

“They will now see how a rain barrel works and hopefully be inspired to add one to their home,” Daniher said. “We will remind them it's courtesy of the seventh-graders who did the work.”

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for the Tribune-Review. Reach her at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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