Environmental Education

Internal Sustainable Policies

The City of Bloomington strives to provide citizens with a sustainable community. These policies identify guidelines for all City departments, and will help make the City a leader in sustainable work environments.

Storm Drain Marking Program

The Storm Drain Marking Program (SDMP) is an effort by the City of Bloomington to limit the amount of pollutants that enter our waterways and hence, help keep our water clean.

Hoosier Riverwatch

Hoosier Riverwatch is a state-sponsored water quality monitoring initiative that is administered locally by the Bloomington Parks and Recreation and related interests. The program was started in 1994 to increase public awareness of water quality issues and concerns by training volunteers to monitor stream water quality.

Hoosier Riverwatch collaborates with agencies and volunteers to:

Project Underground

The purpose of Project Underground, Inc. is to build awareness and responsible attitudes towards cave and karst resources and their management needs among the general public through educational and interpretive programs. It is utilized at area schools and beyond, including programs at City of Bloomington parks. Our underground resources are virtual storm sewers for water and pollutants, and education of the public is vital in keeping our water clean. This program can be combined with others, such as the above. One addition to the activities is the locally-produced, 30-minute cave life documentary, "Caves: Life beneath the Forest" (for more information, see: www.cavebiota.com).

Citizen Science Certification

Bloomington Parks and Recreation offers a unique opportunity for community member to be involved with the Citizen Scientist Certification program. Participants must complete at least one environmental education or scientific monitoring workshop (such as those mentioned above) or attend two scheduled programs indicating a Citizen Scientist opportunity in the program guide. Candidates must also volunteer at least 10 hours monitoring or maintaining the city's natural areas.

Park Tours

Miller-Showers Park, Leonard Springs Nature Park, and more:

Tours of areas parks are given monthly to the public and upon request by interested groups and individuals. The walks focus on various environmental aspects of the parks, such as water quality and quantity treatment through the use of detention ponds and native plants (Miller-Showers Park) and karst systems (Leonard Springs Nature Park). As Bloomington is underlain by karst, limestone formations typified by caves, sinkholes, and springs, all is interconnected and vital to the quality of life in the area. Elements of related environmental education programs are often presented at these tours, such as water quality monitoring through the presence of certain types of benthic macro invertebrates.

"Got Aquarium?"

It can be very harmful to our local environment to empty aquariums into natural or man-made waterways - lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands, storm sewer systems (this includes the sewer system; i.e. toilets), etc. Many aquarium plants and animals are non-native and their release into the environment can lead to oxygen depletion, loss of native species and habitat conversion in our natural areas. The past infestation of Bloomington's Lake Griffy with Brazilian elodea, a non-native aquarium plant, is a prime example of this problem and one that we do not want to repeat.

"Got Aquarium?" works with area universities, schools, pet shops, and the public in general to teach them not to dump aquariums in local waterways.

The City of Bloomington Animal Shelter accepts aquariums.

Leonard Springs Nature Days

Leonard Springs Nature Days is a consolidated effort between the City of Bloomington, Monroe County Consolidated School Corporation and Sycamore Land Trust to educate area sixth graders on karst (utilizing portions of Project Underground, streams (incorporating select parts of Hoosier Riverwatch), wetlands (offering elements of Project Wet), soils, and forests (rendering activities of Project Learning Tree). Leonard Springs Nature Park offers an ideal environment for this effort, being supported by a karst foundation with springs, streams, wetlands, and situated in a forest. In 2007, 1/3 of the area sixth graders attended the event as a successful pilot project. In 2008, 2/3 of the area sixth graders joined us, and over the course of 2008 - 2009, all of the area sixth graders will come to the park to experience nature's offerings and become "unplugged".