Fifth-graders have a (rain) barrel of fun saving water

Vincent  Suli finished rain barrel

Two fifth-graders just put the finishing touches on the USS Belvedere, which is carrying a bulldog.

Dillane rain barrel getting started

Students get started painting the primed barrel. A grateful shout-out to parent Jen Hitchcock for priming the barrel and storing it until we were ready to paint.

Ms. Dillane’s fifth-graders have taken on a big water conservation project, designing and painting a rain barrel for the regional Artistic Rain Barrel Program. (And you can buy it! Details below.) After being invited last fall by Taylor Beach at the Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Program to submit a design, the students first learned about how much accessible, drinkable water there is in the world (not much) and then brainstormed ideas and specific designs for the Belvedere barrel.


Students prepare to be on BNN to tell the rest of the school about the project they’ve been working on all fall.

They designed a scene of the Belvedere mascot, a bulldog, swimming, boating and surfing. The students worked in small groups at recess and lunch, drawing the design on the barrel, painting it, and writing the text for the sign that will accompany the barrel when it goes on display later this month:

Ms. Dillane’s class has designed this rain barrel for you. Our mascot is the bulldog.  This rain barrel shows a scene of what you are supposed to do at the beach – surf, swim and play, not pollute. We want everyone to keep the water clean so we all can enjoy it. We can’t use the dirty water; it will make us sick and it will make the plants and animals that live in the water sick, too.

Suli painting USS Belvedere letters

A student carefully paints the USS Belvedere letters.

If you’re interested in learning more about what the students learned about water conservation and about how they painted the barrel, read my post at Beautiful Wildlife Garden.

Screen Shot 2015-02-10 at 7.49.40 AM

The Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Program’s Taylor Beach with the Belvedere barrel (left) and a professionally painted barrel. Both barrels, as well as 10 others, will be auctioned off this spring. The regional program provided both the barrel and the funds for Belvedere to purchase paints.

The Rain Barrel Program will auction off the barrel and 11 others this spring to raise money for its water conservation outreach program, which includes the Artistic Rain Barrel Program. Watch this space for updates on the auction date; anyone can participate. In the meantime, you can see our barrel at the following locations:

  • The main Fairfax County government center in Fairfax, Feb 16-28
  • Mason District Governmental Center on Columbia Pike, from early March until March 22
  • Outside the Mason District Library, late March until sometime in May
Dillane finished barrel 3

A close-up of our barrel with its pebbly bling. Wouldn’t this look good hooked up to a rain spout near you?



One response to this post.

  1. […] this year, Ms Dillane’s class designed and painted a rain barrel for the Northern Virginia Rain Barrel Program. The rain barrel has been on display around the […]


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