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4/24/13: Erie County, Partners Team Up to Make Rainwater a Resource


Barrel Painting Contest Sponsored by Coca-Cola Bottling of Buffalo Creates Colorful Competition

ERIE COUNTY, NY— Today, Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz was joined by Maria Whyte, Commissioner of the Department of Environment & Planning, representatives of the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo, Inc., members of the Western New York Stormwater Coalition and the Erie County Water Quality Committee, concerned citizens, and the winning entrants in a rain barrel painting contest to highlight the importance of conserving rainwater that would otherwise flow off of a property. The contest served both as an observation of Earth Day and as a demonstration of a practical way for individuals to make an environmental difference in their own lives.

Working on the theme “Rainwater is a Resource, Not Just Runoff”, competing teams from 25 area middle- and high schools designed and painted their own rain barrels using converted syrup concentrate barrels donated and retrofitted by Coca-Cola as part of their “Live Positively” initiative. A panel of judges consisting of representatives from Coca-Cola, local government, the arts community, and academia voted on all entries, with the top three vote getters and their barrels on hand for the winning announcement. Barrels were judged on creativity, neatness and execution of the idea, and how well they fit into the theme of the contest.

“Rain barrels are an effective and efficient way to save and redistribute stormwater runoff, and as we see today, they can be attractive, colorful additions to anyone’s backyard,” said Poloncarz. “Green infrastructure is a key to preventing stormwater pollution, and even something simple such as placing one of these barrels under a downspout goes a long way toward protecting our environment. I want to thank the Department of Environment & Planning, Coca-Cola Bottling, and their partners for their work in raising awareness on this issue and taking these steps to better pollution control.”

“This exercise in creative thinking and design, teamwork, and planning has allowed us to educate the next generation on the importance of conserving resources and preventing stormwater pollution,” said Commissioner Whyte. “The Department of Environment and Planning welcomes the opportunity to work with our educators on environmental initiatives whenever possible.”

“We congratulate the students for their fine winning artwork, and for lending their talent to this Live Positively Rain Barrel Art Contest,” said Pat Greco, Director of Operations for the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo. “These rain barrels represent Coca-Cola’s commitment to water stewardship and will allow Coca-Cola to reach our goal to ‘give back’ an amount of water equivalent to what we use in all of our products and their production by 2020.”

“Over the past ten years, the Western New York Stormwater Coalition has worked together to implement a variety of programs and practices to prevent stormwater pollution,” said Mary Rossi of the WNY Stormwater Coalition. “A key initiative of this partnership is an ongoing education campaign that engages the public to help them understand how their day-to-day activities may contaminate stormwater runoff while offering simple strategies to prevent contamination and thereby protect water quality in our rivers, lakes and streams.”

Stormwater is precipitation that flows over or across impermeable surfaces such as driveways, streets, and parking lots. This runoff picks up contaminants such as lawn chemicals, automotive fluids, pet wastes, and other litter as it makes its way into our areas waterways every time it rains. The 2013 Rain Barrel Painting Contest challenged students and teachers to learn more about stormwater pollution prevention and how it protects water quality in our rivers and lakes. Capturing runoff through the use of a rain barrel is one easy way to protect the environment while collecting and storing rainwater suitable for lawn, garden, and other non-drinking uses.

Over 300 students from around the region took part in the contest, in the process learning more about conservation and protection of our natural resources. Winners of the 2013 Rain Barrel Painting Contest were: in first place with 276 points, the Lewiston-Porter H.S. team led by teacher Mr. Joshua Milovich; in second place with 265 points, the City Honors team led by teacher Ms. Seana Root; and in third place, the team from Lancaster H.S., led by teacher Ms. Amy Balling. The first-place team won a $500 prize from Coca Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo, Inc., while the second- and third-place runners-up each won a $250 prize.

The 22 schools participating in the competition were: Alden H.S. (on behalf of the middle school); Alden H.S.; Bennett H.S. (BPS School #200); Bennett Park Montessori Center (BPS #32); Cheektowaga Central Middle School; City Honors School (BPS #195); City of Tonawanda H.S.; Cleveland Hill Middle/H.S.;

D’Youville Porter School (BPS #3); Frederick Law Olmsted (BPS #156); Frontier H.S.; Gaskill Preparatory School; Grabiarz Campus School of Excellence (BPS #79); Kenmore East H.S.; Lafayette H.S. (BPS #204); Lake Shore Senior H.S.; Lancaster H.S.; Lancaster H.S. (on behalf of Court St. Elementary School); Lewiston-Porter H.S.; Mount Saint Mary Academy; Nardin Academy; and Springville H.S/Springville Griffith Institute. 3 schools did not finish their submission in time and did not qualify for judging.

To learn more about the 2013 Rain Barrel Painting Contest and to view the entries, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/index.php?q=rain-barrel-contest

For more information:

On the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning, visit    http://www2.erie.gov/environment/

On the Western New York Stormwater Coalition, visit  http://www2.erie.gov/environment/index.php?q=western-new-york-stormwater-coalition

On the Erie County Water Quality Committee, visit     http://ecswcd.org/html/ecwqc.html

On the Coca Cola Bottling Company of Buffalo, Inc., visit     http://cocacolabuffalo.com/