GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — More pieces of artwork are showing up near storm drains throughout Grand Rapids as artists and environmental leaders try to raise awareness about the importance of clean waterways. 

“I didn’t realize how big of a problem in Grand Rapids; how much garbage was getting collected,” Grand Rapids-based artist Elizabeth Page said. 

She’s one of the dozens of other artists who are using their talents to send a message to the community about the importance of storm drains.

The effort is a collaboration between Lions & Rabbits Center for the Arts and the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds’ (LGROW) Adopt-A-Drain Program. 

LGROW oversees approximately 50,000 storm drains throughout the Grand River Watershed. The drains manage stormwater and can cause major issues like flooding when they become clogged with garbage, leaves or other debris. 

“I hope that it draws attention to something that you may not normally see on an everyday basis,” Page said. “Typically, people pass storm drains all the time and don’t realize that they’re passing them so I’m hoping that I can catch your eye for five seconds. And also working with florals and natural elements I’m hoping to kind of get you thinking about the natural beauty of the environment and keeping our environment clean so that beautiful things like flowers can grow.”

Lions & Rabbits hopes that by painting a handful of drains each year, the artwork will give people a better understanding of how much of a difference these small pieces of the infrastructure system can make on community health.

If you’re interested in becoming an Adopt-A-Drain volunteer or donating to the Storm Drain Fund, you can find more information here. By simply pledging to keep your drain free of leaves and debris, you can also help protect the environment, manage stormwater and minimize flooding.