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I had a relative who told me when I was growing up: “If you want to make sure it rains, plan an event that must be held outside.”

I’m pleased to say that wisdom proved correct when our tour of green infrastructure projects at Providence College was held in a light, steady rainfall.

The fact that Mother Nature sent us a little precipitation served to better illustrate how the network of campus bioswales helps direct and infiltrate storm water runoff.

The projects have multiple purposes. One has an outdoor classroom in the center a series of vegetated bays that hold rainwater and manage spillover during intense storms. Many of the plants that help filter the storm water are used in studies by the college’s science departments.

The most impressive aspect of the work on campus is how green infrastructure projects have become a part of virtually all new construction and how many more are included in Providence College's long-term development plans.

It is encouraging for the members of the Rhode Island Green Infrastructure Coalition to see an educational institution demonstrate the multiple benefits of these projects – flood control, improved water quality, beautification, heat island reduction and educational opportunity. 

It was well worth get our feet wet. For more information or to get involved, please email me at

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