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Red Oak Rain Garden (In Progress)

Recent Project Updates


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

Constructed in 2006 by Prof. Tony Endress and his NRES 420 class, a garden renovation is building on this original effort. The new planting palette installed Fall 2019 has earned recognition from several conservation organizations. 

As part of Illinois Extension, the Red Oak Rain Garden Team believes in providing excellence in educational programming and providing accessible programs that help people solve problems. The rain garden does both! The Team creates service-learning opportunities for students and community volunteers and inspires visitors to find out how they can create healthier landscapes where they live. 

The Team sees the Red Oak Rain Garden as an opportunity for growth, not just for the plants, but also for our community. We seek collaborators from a variety of organizations and University departments to bring an array of talents. Care for the garden is provided in partnership by Champaign County Master Gardeners and East Central Illinois Master Naturalists in coordination with Facilities & Services. 


In 2006, Prof. Tony Endress' Restoration Ecology classes designed and installed the Red Oak Rain Garden with assistance from Facilities & Services and the City of Urbana and in cooperation with Housing Services.  The intention was to reduce sidewalk flooding and divert excess rainwater from the 200 year-old Red Oak, for which the garden is named, to support its health.  

By 2018, the garden’s condition required a redesign and rebuild. From 2019 to 2021, the RORG Team managed a complete renovation of the project, developing a space on campus that serves as a demonstration site for exemplary rainwater management in line with the strategic sustainability goals in the iCAP. The garden also provides education and outreach to a variety of audiences and is an example of a living, learning laboratory that enhances the student experience. 

For more updates, sign up for the Red Oak Rain Garden monthly e-newsletter.

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Project Team

  • Primary Contact:

    Eliana Brown

    Project Leader:

    Eliana Brown

    Team Members:

    • Kate Gardiner
    • Layne Knoche
    • Karen Folk
    • Brent Lewis
    • Ryan Welch
    • Morgan White
    • Shannon Tucker

    Prior Contacts:

    • Eric Green
    • Tony Heath
    • Tony Endress


  • 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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