Rainbarrels Herald Spring

Story and photos courtesy Clean Water Minnesota.

For the Reckingers of Woodbury, rain barrels are a family affair. Parents Jim and Mary are the local boosters, but credit their environmental educator daughter with encouraging them to install the pair that sits on the side of their house, April through September.

Front yard landscaping
Rainbarrels allow the Reckingers to water their landscaping without having to use potable water.

And the generational influence has continued to trickle up. Now the grandparents also have rainbarrels.

“In most families, parents influence their children. In our family, it’s the other way around,” says Jim of their four ecologically-minded children, all of whom pursued careers in environmental protection.

Originally, installing rainbarrels was their daughter’s idea, but the barrels also appealed to the Reckinger’s desire for efficiency. Both former IT employees of the St. Paul Companies, Jim and Mary agreed that rainbarrels “just made sense.” The two were raising children and working full-time jobs, visiting a cabin in Wisconsin whenever possible. For them, the option of turning off the water in the house when they left, and asking a willing neighbor to water flowers and birds from the outside rainbarrel-supplied hose, simplified maintenance issues.

“We could just let gravity do its job,” says Jim, extolling the virtues of “free water” in an area that has tiered water pricing.

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