April 2022
Backyard Conversation
Connecting Community + Conservation
Welcome to the Backyard Conversation! Each month we'll be sharing a conservation topic from a more personal viewpoint for our readers. To make this successful, I want to hear feedback from you! I'll include a poll at the bottom regarding our topic and share links to some of our partner organizations with similar messages. So, let's get to it!
Rain is Your Resource
How to Soak in the Rain
Happy Earth Month! To celebrate, let's talk about how rain is a resource. With the growing impacts of climate change, the time to take action is sooner rather than later. For every 1°F increase in temperature, the atmosphere is able to hold about 4% more moisture! A warmer atmosphere can hold more moisture and therefore has an increased potential for heavier downpours.

According to Climate Central, 72% of 246 locations evaluated have seen an increase in the amount of rain falling on their annual wettest day since 1950, especially in the Gulf Coast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Furthermore, 2021 was a record-breaking year for extreme rainfall events. For 15% of 2568 stations evaluated across the contiguous U.S., their wettest day of 2021 ranks in their top-ten annual wettest days on record. That's a whole lot more rain!

What can we do to soak in the rain and use it as a resource? Read on to find out.
Why Should We Soak in the Rain?

Not only are we getting more rain due to climate change, but we also are seeing an increase in impervious surfaces due to rapid growth and development in the Central Ohio area. Impervious surfaces like roads, roofs, and parking lots cannot soak in the rain like undeveloped forests, prairies, and grass can. Instead, the water "runs off" the impervious surfaces, picks up pollutants, and enters the storm drains which go directly to our creeks and rivers - not the sewer plant! Common pollutants from your home can include pet waste, fertilizer, vehicle fluids, detergents, chemicals, litter and debris. Keeping these pollutants out of stormwater runoff keeps them out of our local waterways and keeps our local creeks and rivers clean.
How You Can Make a Difference and Soak in the Rain

You can do a few things to help soak in the rain and reduce your stormwater runoff and overall environmental footprint:
  • Plant Native Plants - Native plants are originally from our area and therefore are well-adapted to our environment and can grow strong, deep root systems. As a result, they can soak in the rain better than non-native plants and use it for their growth. Trees and shrubs especially have big, strong root systems to soak in the rain. Learn how to properly plant a tree (no mulch volcanoes allowed!). After all, April is Ohio and National Native Plant Month.
  • Rain Barrels - Utilize a rain barrel to capture rainwater from your roof and downspout system and use it to water your lawn and flower beds. It saves you money on your water bill too!
  • Rain Gardens - Rain gardens are shallow garden depressions where the "first flush" of rainwater can be captured and soak into the ground. They can be many shapes, sizes, and appearances, but they all are great at capturing and soaking in rainwater.
  • Get Grassy - Grow healthy, resilient grass with strong root systems to encourage water to soak into your lawn. Learn more about how to grow a healthy lawn.
  • Permeable Pavement - Redoing your driveway or patio? Consider using permeable pavement or pavers! Learn more about how they work.

Community Backyards Kicks Off

To celebrate Earth Month, our GreenSpot Community Backyards program is now open! Franklin County residents can learn about and receive a voucher for a rebate on a backyard conservation item such as a rain barrel, compost bin, or native plants. Participate one of two ways:

  1. Take the online course and quiz. Receive a voucher within 1-2 weeks of completing the online course.
  2. Attend an in-person workshop near you presented by Franklin Soil and Water and local watershed groups FACT and FLOW. Please register for the workshops in advance due to limited space and in order to receive a voucher at the workshop.

More workshop dates are coming soon. Stay tuned!
Celebrate Arbor Day and Earth Month!

It is a busy time of year for us. We are out and about at events and kicking off our programs. See what we are up to on our event calendar. There are so many events, volunteer opportunities, and cleanups happening all around town this spring, so check them out at Earth Day Columbus, FACT, FLOW, Cleaner Columbus, Keep Columbus Beautiful, Wild Ones Annual Native Plant Sale, your local stores, cities, neighborhood commissions, and more!
Camp Canopy Scholarship Deadline Extended

Do you know a Franklin County high school student interested in the outdoors, forestry or wildlife? Tell them about our Camp Canopy scholarship! It available for Franklin County residents and covers the cost of the camp including meals and programs.

The application deadline has been extended to May 27. Learn more about Camp Canopy and apply on our website!
Question of the Month
How do you celebrate Earth Day?
Yard work!
Attend an Earth Day festival or event
Celebrate online
I did not celebrate Earth Day this year
I haven't celebrated YET!
Here are the full results from March's poll asking how native is your yard:

Some native

All native!

No native, but I will work on it!

N/A - no yard
Get the Scoop from Nature Scoop

Want to learn more about backyard conservation, pollinators, and more? Subscribe to the monthly newsletter called Nature Scoop by Toni Stahl, National Wildlife Federation Habitat Ambassador.

Check out the latest issue: Nature Scoop April 2022 - Bird Bath tips; Ash trees; Wildlife Native Garden Tips & More!

Learn more at www.backyardhabitat.info and on Twitter @NatureScoopOhio.
Mikaela Mohr
Outreach Program Specialist
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District
1404 Goodale Blvd. Suite 100, Columbus, OH 43212 
p: 614-486-9613, ext. 131 | e: mmohr@franklinswcd.org
Connect with us online!
Franklin Soil and Water Conservation District | (614) 486-9613 | www.franklinswcd.org