IMPLEMENTATION The Grand Island Groundwater Guardian Team realized the potential of educating thousands of people about groundwater and its uses when we received 1st place through a national online contest held by Rain Bird: The Intelligent Use of Water Awards! That first place prize was $10,000 to implement features such as a rain garden, bioswale, gazebo, cedar tunnel, prairie maze, and trees. The project received 30,597 votes; about 1,000 more than any other project in the country.
AWARD The Grand Island Groundwater Guardian Team received a Community Beautification Award from the Hall County Regional Planning Commission in October 2016. The award recognizes the Outdoor Learning Area as a place to beautify and improve the community.
GROUNDBREAKING A groundbreaking ceremony was held on Friday, August 31, 2012. Jack Vetter, Vetter Health Systems, was a guest at the groundbreaking ceremony. Vetter matched the online contest that the Guardians won from Rain Bird: The Intelligent Use of Water Awards.
FUNDING After receiving the initial $10,000 from the online voting, the Guardians also acquired $47,500 in other grants from Vetter Health Services, Water For The West, Waterwise (NE Environmental Trust), Fonner Park, City of Grand Island and Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality. The project would not have been possible without the support of Fonner Park, the Nebraska State Fair. The Grand Island Youth Leadership and Roots & Shoots have donated plants and their time to enhance the site.
GWG TEAM The Grand Island Groundwater Guardian Team is a local volunteer group whose purpose is to educate the public about the importance of groundwater. Members: Roger Andrews, retired-Bureau of Reclamation; Larry Cast, retired-Bureau of Reclamation; Duane Woodward, retired hydrologist-Central Platte NRD; Julie Frandsen, Grand Island Utilities Dept; Elizabeth Killinger, UNL Extension Educator; Mike Kube, retired-Bureau of Reclamation; Ken Gnadt, former Mayor of City of Grand Island; Marcia Lee, Central Platte Natural Resources District; Gary Mader, retired-Grand Island Utilities Department; Denise McGovern-Gallagher, Grand Island Area Clean Community System; Milt Moravek, Retired-Central Platte Natural Resources District; Patsy Steenson- Retired Elementary Educator. OLA Project Director: Gary Mader
For information on activities available at the Outdoor Learning Area, or information on getting involved in the Groundwater Guardian project contact: Marcia Lee or Elizabeth Killinger