Rolling Out the (Rain) Barrels to Support Student Programs

A silent auction and plant sale this week will raise funds to support the Herrick Conservatory

The 2023 Herrick Conservatory Fundraising Plant Event and Painted Rain Barrel Silent Auction is running all this week, Monday, April 24 through Friday, April 28 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The event will be at the conservatory, which is located inside the large greenhouse that’s attached to the north side of Cunningham Hall.

Rain barrels and plant sale offerings

Melissa Davis, M.S., is horticultural facilities director and herbarium manager of the Herrick Conservatory and the The Tom S. and Miwako K. Cooperrider Herbarium through Kent State’s Department of Biological Sciences. As part of Kent State’s Earth Month schedule of events, she invites all ecology-minded people and plant lovers to visit the conservatory this week.

Melissa Davis leading a tour of the Herrick Conservatory

Melissa Davis (center) leading a tour of the conservatory. 

“Stop by to see what we have been working on, and get some flowering plants, herbs and vegetables to plant for our pollinators, birds, insects, wildlife and friends,” said Davis.

She is grateful for the support the conservatory receives from all areas of the Kent State community. Davis said, “I want people to know that many people such as staff workers and student volunteers (both past and present) and the Community Engaged Learning Office have volunteered their time, resources and talents to this great initiative!”

Plants for the  Herrick Conservatory Plant Sale

Rain barrels’ important role

Kent State's Department of Biological Sciences and the university's School of Art formed a partnership to recycle and re-purpose the rain barrels used by Davis to promote sustainability and water conservation. A few of the rain barrels in this week’s silent auction were painted in the fall by students at a freshman Day of Service event with the rest being created by Kent State students, staffers and other volunteers. 

Student painting rain barrels

In addition to using them in fundraising efforts, the greenhouse uses the rain barrels to collect water for carnivorous plants and fish in the conservatory that cannot tolerate the chlorine in tap water.

No plant left behind

In addition to recycling and re-purposing, the items that remain unsold after the Herrick Conservatory Plant Event this week will be put into the local community garden by volunteers and student workers.

Furthermore, as part of their studies, student workers and volunteers also help harvest and collect seeds from plants and fruits within the conservatory, database them, and store them as a a viable seed collection that will then be planted again to grow items for the following year’s fundraising event.

This plant event and silent auction is hosted by the Department of Biological Sciences' Herrick Conservatory, to benefit the Herrick Conservatory Foundation Fund and three student organizations: the Herrick Conservatory and Sustainability Club. the Kent State Biology Club and the Kent State Garden Club.

Potted plants from Herrick Conservatory

About the Herrick Conservatory

The Herrick Conservatory, founded in 1978, was named for emeritus faculty members, Dr. J Arthur and Margret Herrick — long-time benefactors of Kent State University. The couple passed away in 2008, giving a lifetime legacy and thoughtful donation to support the facility and an endowed chair in plant conservation biology. The conservatory is home to many plants, fish and some turtles. It is also frequently visited by birds, insects and other campus wildlife. 

POSTED: Sunday, April 23, 2023 03:12 PM
Updated: Wednesday, May 17, 2023 12:44 PM
Phil B. Soencksen