St Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District

Twenty artists and artist groups, including school groups from Washington High School, Edison Intermediate Center, Stanley Clark School, Countryside Montessori Preschool, Discovery Middle School and St Joe High School decorated 55-gallon barrels that have been converted into Rain Barrels.  The Rain Barrels will be on display at local businesses who have underwritten this project.

Beginning the week of April 23, 15 of the Rain Barrels will go on display at the South Bend Museum of Art in an indoor garden to be donated and installed by Foegley Landscape.

Five of the Rain Barrels, underwritten by area Credit Unions, will also be on display at the Credit Unions.  These will be used as bistro tables the night of the auction and then donated to local community or Unity gardens or any school or not-for-profit who has a community garden.  If you belong to a garden such as this and would like one of these Rain Barrels, contact IU South Bend Center for a Sustainable Future.  These Rain Barrels will be randomly distributed on a first-come first-served basis to qualifying gardens.

The other fifteen Rain Barrels will be sold at auction on Friday, May 4, beginning at 7:00 p.m. at the SB Museum of Art, Century Center.  (Evening wear and garden gloves recommended, but not required!)

Thanks to the following underwriters:

IUSB Center for a Sustainable Future

South Bend Museum of Art

Foegley Landscaping

PNC Bank

Fiddler’s Hearth

Lawson-Fisher Associates

St Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District

Roseland Garden Center

Martin’s Supermarkets

Kil Architecture/Planning

South Bend Waste Water Treatment Facility

Purple Porch Co-op

Hill’s True Value

Beehive Salon

Just Goods

Barnaby’s South Bend

Coca Cola Bottling Company of Indiana


Carl Kaser Auction

Louie’s Tux Shop

Lochmandy Collision Center

IU Federal Credit Union

AAA Federal Credit Union

Teachers Credit Union

Community Wide Credit Union

Notre Dame Federal Credit UnionImage


On August 17th 2011, fifty Indiana farmers from 35 Indiana counties were honored for their outstanding conservation best management practices at the 2011 River Friendly Farmer Awards Ceremony. The recognition took place on Farmers Day at the Indiana State fair.  Happily, two farmers from our own St Joseph county and Kankakee River Watershed were among the honorees.  They are Mike Burkholder and John Dooms.

Mike Burkholder is a corn and soybean farmer in the Kankakee River Watershed. The Aldridge Ditch runs through the property. Filter strips are in place along the ditch to prevent run-off from reaching the open water and filter excess sediment and nutrients as well. Burkholder has no-tilled farmed for over 10 years now. The results are stronger soil structure and health, as well as kept residue on the soil surface, all of which help prevent erosion and filter water maintaining a high water quality on his fields.

John Dooms has a grain and dairy operation with a corn and soybean rotation, as well as alfalfa and hay. The farm has been no-tilled since the 70’s and uses low-pressure conservative irrigation on 400 of the approximately 800 acres of crops. It is located in the Kankakee River Watershed. Grass filter strips are along side the ditch on the farm to prevent runoff entering the watershed. Where filter strips are not in place, the field has a buffer zone of non-worked ground between the crop and ditch allowing room for sprayers and other equipment to keep from polluting the water directly. Practicing no-till farming also promotes higher water quality as residue matter and improved soil structures help prevent erosion and filters water of pollutants. John also uses a nutrient management system that helps him manage the quantity of potential pollutants that could reach the watershed.

Thank you to both of these farmers for working to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

A complete list of all 50 honorees can be found with the St Joseph County Soil and Water Conservation District.