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Red Oak Rain Garden (In Progress)

Project History

Associated Collections


The Red Oak Rain Garden is a public rain garden that soaks up rainwater, enhances the campus and community aesthetic and educational experience, and promotes well-being for everyone who visits.

As the first rain garden on campus, this garden is beautiful and smart. It addresses flooding in an innovative way – by planting an attractive landscape feature that captures and filters stormwater.

Located between Allen Hall and McKinley Health Center, RORG provides flood protection, improves water quality, and serves as a model for ecologically healthy landscapes. Prior to the garden, rainstorms limited sidewalk use and impaired the red oak. The updated design enhances the garden’s ability to absorb rainwater in a beautiful, educational way. The garden plants, which are native to Illinois, have extensive root systems that are excellent at soaking up water and improving its quality. 


The Red Oak Rain Garden (RORG) was established in 2006. The current renovation is to improve both aesthetics and functionality. The RORG Team, led by Eliana Brown, Water Quality Specialist with Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and Illinois Extension, is managing the design and build of the project, which just completed phases I and II as of October 2019. Read our blog for the latest construction updates.

Back in 2006, Prof. Tony Endress' Restoration Ecology classes designed and installed the rain garden with assistance from Facilities & Services and the City of Urbana and in cooperation with Housing Services.  For additional visual interest, art student Jennifer Astwood designed the “Prairie Fire” sculpures under the guidance of Prof. Alex Fekete.

The Red Oak Rain Garden is a BLUE Illinois Faculty/StudentProject funded by Facilities & Services in conjunction with the Environmental Council, with additional funding support from University Housing.

Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Eliana Brown

    Project Leader:

    Eliana Brown

    Team Members:

    • Kate Gardiner
    • Layne Knoche
    • Eric Green
    • Tony Heath
    • Tony Endress
    • Karen Folk
    • Brent Lewis
    • Ryan Welch
    • Morgan White


  • Investigated May 15, 2017
    Investigated by Cameron Letterly
    Started August 15, 2006
    Started by BLUE, Environmental Council, and Tony Endress


Project Location(s)

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