SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) today issued a reminder of the March 7 deadline for schools to submit design proposals advocating water re-use as part of the Rain Barrel Design Competition. Forty-five creative and lucky elementary schools will receive free rain barrels if their ideas are chosen as part of the annual contest, promoting green and sustainable practices. The winners from each of IDOT’s nine regional districts will be recognized, and participating students will be acknowledged during Earth Day celebrations in April.
“As the deadline approaches, we want to encourage all interested schools to please take advantage of this opportunity by submitting proposals for review,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Gary Hannig. “IDOT’s Rain Barrel Competition is an innovative and environmentally friendly activity that helps students utilize teamwork and creativity in a fun environment.”
Elementary school districts across the state have received, via email, a blank template of a rain barrel’s exterior for the students to decorate. Winning entries will be chosen by IDOT based on which designs best promote water re-use. Creativity and artistic quality also will be considered. Schools interested in participating can contact IDOT’s Sustainable Practices Manager Steve Massey at 815.434.8414 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The contest idea earned IDOT a Green Government Award for 2010 from the Illinois Green Government Coordinating Council at the recent Annual Sustainable Symposium in Springfield. The award, based on demonstrating an exceptional commitment to improving the environmental quality of Illinois, was in the Water Quality & Conservation category.
Illinois Correctional Industries, a division of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), will donate the rain barrels at no cost to taxpayers, as part of the IDOC recycling program. The barrels were used previously to store liquid hand soap.