Bioswales – yes, bioswales – brought interior design majors and community organizers together on the West Campus Green at SF State Thursday to celebrate Earth Day.
This is the third year that associate professor Karen Johnson-Carroll has had her Business Practices for Interior Design class transplant and help make bioswales on campus. The purpose of a bioswale is to filter out pollution from runoff water before it reaches the drainage systems.
“We’re trying to work with nature,” said Linda Jo Morton, University Park North gardening specialist. “We’ve created these bioswales, these big depressions in the landscape, that capture the stormwater and it holds it on-site, and allows it to percolate back down to the water table and in that process the soil filters out the impurities.”
While planting carex everest and carex morrowii “ice dance,” students also made a passage for the water to clear out when a storm is too big for the bioswale to handle.
“We’re trying to maximize the flow of water, to minimize the pathogens and toxins that are entering the Earth,” said interior design major Alaina Balian.
Bailan also said the interior design class and this activity helps appease clients as it is good trade practice for her career.
Students and staff from SF State worked with groundskeepers and helped them set up the tarp around the giant hole next to the soccer field by Font Boulevard.
“The students are following the path they always do. They start out really hesitant, standing on their feet,” Johnson-Carroll said. “And then, all of sudden they relax and they get into it and they’re chatting with each other and taking pictures of each other so they can put it on Facebook. They love it, they love it.”
Johnson-Carroll sees this activity as a philanthropic, fun and relaxing experience for the students involved and credited the grounds crew for helping students through the learning experience.
“I think that’s super cool ‘cause I know that San Francisco has some old infrastructure and needs more places like this so that they can integrate the rain water back into the water table,” said interior design major Arielle Dycaico.