We want to celebrate everyone who helped dig basins and plant trees this spring. With the launch of our Build Your Own Basin (BYOB) kit distribution initiative this spring, we’ve distributed over 240 complimentary BYOB kits in March and April—sending folks home with native shade trees, native shrubs and wildflowers, and organic mulch!
In addition to BYOB, we had planting events throughout April serving multiple needs from restoring our forests to bringing shade to our neighborhoods. These events were supported by One Tree Planted. Check out a small gallery of photos below from the planting in partnership with Palo Verde Neighborhood Association. Shout out to local photographer Jonathan Arlia for the awesome shots from the planting!
The real work started when people took home their kits. We’re thrilled that 240 households took the time to learn about building rain gardens and then followed through with building basins and planting trees in their own yards. Check out this short video highlighting all the great work!
We’ll be offering BYOB workshops and kit distribution again in September and October, but in the meantime, you can join us in May for some free events to jumpstart your BYOB efforts this fall. Visit Watershedmg.org/BYOB for the full event list and more resources, including a how-to guide and videos so you can get started in your own backyard.
BYOB Community Swap at WMG’s Living Lab
To share our abundance and get more people BYOBing, we hosted a Community Swap at the Living Lab in March and April, inviting folks to donate native plants and cuttings, tools, and other materials to create our BYOB kits. It was a real community effort: twenty-four folks contributed items including prickly pear cuttings, agave plants, pollinator shrubs, wildflower seeds, and garden tools; Tank’s Green Stuff donated the organic mulch, and Desert Diamond Casino covered the cost of the trees.
BYOB Kits for Kids
Kids were in the driver’s seat during our BYOB Kits for Kids events! We offered several virtual workshops designed for and taught by kids, and then the kids came with their families to the Living Lab to put their kits together. Kids got to make seed balls, pick out their plants, and shovel mulch. High school student Eric and eighth-grade student Annalie helped teach our BYOB Kits for Kids events, teaching kids the basics of basins—what they are, what tools to use, what to do in the case of overflow. Annalie’s advice? Get your parents to help you dig!
Distributing BYOB Kits in Underserved Neighborhoods
Thanks to our relationships in the Elvira and Flowing Wells neighborhoods in Tucson, we worked with over 100 people in these areas to distribute kits and get planting. These neighborhoods have some of the lowest tree canopy coverage in the city and can most benefit from low-cost solutions to capture stormwater and grow shade. Schoolkids at Flowing Wells Junior High led the charge, inviting their extended families, including aunts, uncles, and grandparents, to help beautify the street in front of their school building basins and planting native trees. At Nueva Esperanza – New Hope Church, neighbors came out to help beautify the existing rain garden at the church before taking home BYOB kits to their own homes. We can’t wait to partner with the churches, schools, and neighborhood associations again this fall for another round of BYOB!
P.S. Special shout out to all the folks who donated plants, tools, and other materials to our BYOB Community Swap, including Emma Bowers, Angel Wang, John Tortorice, Marlene Shamis, Cindy Hu, Sharlot Hart, Mike Campbell, Mary Alice Keller, Colin Jones, Brenda Earl, Linda Ley, Zachary Jenkins, Lori Woods, Peggy Marlott, Susan Rolinbach, Susan Beach, Sky Jacobs, Mimi Conway, Rosemary Drawdzik, Wanda Pointdexter, Margaret Lacey, Monica Hemingway, Jesús Treviño, and Brian Ellis.
Photography by Jonathan Arlia: photography-ja.com/.