JEA has partnered with Keep Jacksonville Beautiful to supply rain barrels to Duval County Public Schools.
On Thursday, officials from the city and school district paid a visit to Palm Avenue Exceptional Student Center. The school serves students with special needs. They learn the skills they need to graduate high school and join the workforce.
The students maintain the gardens, which include six raised flower beds, blueberry plants and crape myrtle trees. Job Development Instructor Bob Graver says the students take a lot of pride in their gardens and work hard to maintain them.
More than 170 rain barrels have been distributed around the school system. The rainwater is substituting for potable and well water now being used for school gardens.
The program is a collaborative effort: JEA is underwriting the cost of the program, Barcardi donated the barrels, the city provided staffing and the Teacher Supply Depot provided volunteers and storage facilities. The University of Florida Duval County Extension Office provided the training on barrel construction.