Setting Sustainability Afloat
George Mason University students launched a 1,700-plant floating wetland on Mason Pond, part of a yearlong project that brings together art and science students and is designed to clean the water as well as to spur ecological awareness
.“I learned how to think scientifically by working on this project,” said Chris Rusinko, a senior art and visual technology major specializing in printmaking. “Having a class that bridges the art department and the science department is a personal experience in a lot of ways.”
Environmental professor Changwoo Ahn was inspired to create the wetlands, or “The Rain Project,” so students could make those kinds of connections. Mason graduate students will monitor the floating wetlands for an ongoing research project. About 24 students were part of the two-semester class.
Wetlands help clean storm water that washes into retention ponds, rivers and lakes and also aid in controlling flooding, said Ahn, a professor in the College of Science’s Environmental Science and Policy Department, and founder and director of EcoScience+Art. Ahn said the goal of the project is to create sustainable stormwater management in the era of climate change.