CofC green teaching lab to open next month

The volunteers mapped out the garden before they started to dig (Isaac McEntyre/WCIV).

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) -- Students at the College of Charleston's Grice Marine Lab want it to rain. Not to help the drought problem, but to see their new rain garden put to good use.

"Rain gardens are a wonderful way to help protect water here in the Lowcountry," Clemson Cooperative Extension Agent Kim Counts said.

The Green Teaching Garden is the newest addition to the CofC Grice Marine Lab at Fort Johnson.

The garden includes a primary rainwater collection system with a 1,500-gallon cistern, and a secondary system consisting of 8 rain barrels that serve the side porches at Grice Marine Lab. In addition to the newly installed rain garden, there are also four raised beds: a herb garden, perennial garden, vegetable garden, and a butterfly garden. A compost area is set up for residents living and working at Grice Marine Lab.

Vegetables from the garden are donated to local homeless shelters and herbs are collected and dried for sale at Grice Marine Lab to benefit the student travel fund.

The Lab will officially open on April 7, 2012.