Rain Barrel Contest

Rain water is a resource that benefits ALL OF US. 

The Erie County Department of Environment & Planning (ECDEP) is proud to invite all schools or youth groups in Erie and Niagara counties to participate in a rain barrel painting contest with a theme focusing on stormwater pollution prevention or recycling rainwater.

What is a rain barrel?         •         Why use a rain barrel?         •         Contest Guidelines         •         Register         •         Previous Winners


What is a rain barrel?

A rain barrel collects and stores rain water from your roof that would otherwise flow across lawns, driveways, roads and parking lots – picking up dirt, oil, fertilizers, and other chemicals along the way before emptying into storm drains or streams.  The contest rain barrels are converted from donated 55-gallon syrup concentrate drums.  

Why use a rain barrel?

Contaminated stormwater runoff is the #1 cause of pollution in our waterways.  Rain barrels help reduce the volume of runoff, and therefore its potential to convey pollutants.  Register your students today and help them learn more about how to protect water quality in our rivers, streams and lakes.

Erie County and the WNY Stormwater Coalition host an annual Rain Barrel and Compost Bin sale. 


Contest Guidelines


Paint your rain barrel focusing on a theme of stormwater pollution prevention and/or recycling rainwater

  • Painted rain barrels will be judged according to how well the design fits the theme, creativity, and neatness.
  • You will need to submit photographs of the front and back of your finished rain barrel for judging.



You will be provided with a 55 gallon syrup barrel that you will convert into a rain barrel and one can of paint primer.

  • You will need to provide brushes, various colors of acrylic paints for your design, and a clear topcoat.
  • You will also be responsible for installing, maintaining, and winterizing the rain barrel.  Detailed instructions will be provided. 
  • Barrels must have a clear topcoat applied to be eligible for prizes. The topcoat will prevent the paint from chipping and fading.

Register  This event is limited based on availability of rain barrels.  If submittal form fails, the contest limit has been reached.

Deadline:  PHOTO SUBMISSION DEADLINE IS March 31, 2020 (A photo release form is required if any students are in the photos) 

Download the Photo Release Form

All participating schools will retain their final painted rain barrels to use, donate or raffle as desired.

We encourage teachers to incorporate environmental lessons in the classroom wherever possible on conserving resources, recycling rainwater, stormwater pollution prevention, and reusing materials for a sustainable planet.


Note:  Winners will have their painted rain barrel on display during April, 2020 at an Earth Day Event.  All participating students and teachers are invited to attend.  Event details will follow registration.

For further information or if you would like to receive emails about the Rain Barrel Painting Contest, please contact Kristen Guadagno at Kristen.Guadagno@erie.gov.


Erie County Logo WNY Stormwater Coalition  Air and Waste Management Home Depot  PPG



EnvComp_Wales Primary_1 EdenCentral MIllMiddle



Previous Winners! 


Recycle Rain Water and Prevent Stormwater Pollution

Click here to see the 2018 submissions!



1st Place - Eden Elementary (Teacher: Jenny Walker)

 2nd Place -  Ledgeview Elementary School (Teacher: Kelly Gardner)

 3rd Place - St. Mary's Swormville (Teacher: Karen Genovese)



1st Place - Heim Middle School (Teacher: Denise Woods)

 2nd Place -  Cloverbank Elementary School (Teacher: Juliet Szczerbacki)

 3rd Place (ended in a tie) - Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School Middle School (Teacher: Katelyn Ebling)

 3rd Place (ended in a tie)  -  Enterprise Charter School (Teacher: Julie Bridge)



 1st Place - Buffalo Academy of Science Charter School High School (Teacher: Adam Rivers)

 2nd Place -  Springville Griffith Institute (Teacher: Christy Komenda)

 3rd Place – Research Lab Program for Bioinformatics and Life Science (Teacher: Carlo Cammilleri)



Harvest a Resource, Recycle the Rain!

Click here to see the 2017 submissions!


Prizes were awarded to the top barrels in the following categories: 

Elementary Grades K-4:

1st Place – Forest Elementary School (Teacher: Beth Aschbacher)

2nd Place – Wales Primary School (Teacher: Susan Lasky)

3rd Place – Elma Primary School (Teacher: Susan Lasky)

Honorable Mention (tie) – Ledgeview Elementary School (Teacher: Kathryn Greene)

Honorable Mention (tie) – Riverview Elementary School (Teacher: Carrie Oliver) 


Middle School Grades 5-8:

1st Place – Charter Middle School For Applied Technologies (Teacher: Valerie Fiore)

2nd Place – Heim Middle School (Teacher: Denise Woods)

3rd Place – Cheektowaga Central Middle School (Teacher: Tiffany VanDerBeck)

Honorable Mention – Stella Niagara Education Park (Teachers: Susan Sinski and Patrick Liuzzi)


High School Grades 9-12:

1st Place – Buffalo Academy Of Science Charter School (Teacher: Adam Rivers)

2nd Place – Depew High School (Teacher: Lori Bodgan) 

3rd Place – Springville Griffith Institute (Teacher: Christy Komenda)

Honorable Mention – Niagara Falls High School (Teacher: Michele O’Connor)




Last updated: October 17, 2019 4:26pm