SUMTER — It’s time for teachers and students at Sumter-area schools to get creative and compete with neighboring schools by designing rain barrels that celebrate Earth Day 2014.

The Sumter Earth Day Rain Barrel Art Competition engages students in hands-on learning as they combine their creativity with knowledge about protecting the environment. The most popular rain barrel design will win a pizza party for the class.

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This competition is open to all public and private elementary, middle and high schools in Sumter County. Only one barrel may be entered per class, but multiple classes per school may enter.

Lakewood High School won first prize last year.

To participate, and for detailed instructions, download the flyer located under Related Links to the right of this page. Print and complete the entry form, and sign the commitment statement. Submit completed forms to the address on the form by March 21.

Each participating classroom will receive a pre-assembled white or blue plastic 55-gallon rain barrel, two cans of primer, and two cans of sealant. Schools are responsible for providing all other paint and materials to decorate the barrel with an Earth Day theme.

Take the completed rain barrel to the Sumter Earth Day Celebration April 12 at Swan Lake to be entered in the competition.

Rain barrels use an age-old concept of recycling rainwater to irrigate gardens and lawns, water plants and wash cars, among many other uses.

A 1,000-square-foot roof catches more than 600 gallons of water from just 1 inch of rainfall. Rain barrels also are good for the environment because they reduce stormwater flow, which causes erosion, and can carry pollutants from yards and streets into streams.

Completed barrels can be installed at participating schools, or can be donated to a public facility, such as a library. The barrels also can be donated to Sumter Stormwater Solutions for auction during the Sumter Earth Day celebration. Proceeds from the auction will be used for continued water-quality outreach programs.

The competition is sponsored by Clemson Extension, Carolina Clear, Sumter Stormwater Solutions, Sumter County and the city of Sumter.

Sumter Stormwater Solutions is a regional collaboration involving the Carolina Clear program in partnership with communities and educators from universities, state agencies and nonprofits.

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Carolina Clear
Carolina Clear is a stormwater education and awareness program of the Clemson University Restoration Institute and the Center for Watershed Excellence. The program’s goal is to minimize polluted stormwater runoff by educating the general public, youth, builders, developers, homeowners and government officials about how they can keep water in the state’s streams, rivers and basins as clean as possible.