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Children love to run on it, adults enjoy walking over it, but visitors often ask about that bridge or boardwalk that rarely has any water under it. After all the heavy rains we had last week that area, which is called a bioswale, is full of water and you can see why it was installed.

A bioswale is a low area designed to capture and filter runoff. This bioswale was built to protect the garden from not only the runoff after a heavy rain but also the pollutants that might have been gathered as the water ran over the highway and parking lot. Some bioswales are full of plants such as wildflowers but because some wild plants can be so hard to manage and keep beautiful, we have only native white willow trees lining this bioswale.

The willow tree loves water and as it absorbs moisture, it also acts as a bioremediator, which means it filters toxins and pollutants out of water. The white willows that line our bioswale have medicinal uses as well. The bark contains a natural aspirin and has been used to cure headaches or reduce fevers since the time of Egyptians. So now you know, and the next time you walk along that bridge, whether or not water is standing below your feet, you will know that you are above a bioswale aided by the white willow trees.

Roslyn Imrie
Education & Community Outreach Coordinator

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