Second Annual Rain Barrel Contest, Mar. 30 deadline

Projects to encourage citizen participation in beautifying water infrastructure, like the Water Tank Project taking place in New York City, are happening around the country, including here in Illinois. The Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) is teaming up with Illinois Correctional Industries to provide a rain barrel design contest for students statewide. The second annual Rain Barrel Contest offers students a chance to earn a rain barrel by submitting artistic designs.

“Participation among schools and students last year vastly exceeded expectations, and we hope the 2012 Rain Barrel Contest will build upon previous success to bolster environmental sustainability practices,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann Schneider.

Students from third grade through high school are encouraged to submit an artistic design for the exterior of a rain barrel. There will be 45 submissions selected, and those 45 schools will receive a rain barrel. Submissions must be made through a school’s principal or teacher. A school can make one submission in each of the three age divisions. The three age divisions are third-fifth grade, sixth-eighth grade and senior high school.

Designs for the exterior of the rain barrel should pertain to Earth Day, the environment or have a scene depicting nature. Artwork must be postmarked by March 30, 2012. Winners will be announced during the week preceding Earth Day, which is April 22, 2012. Anyone seeking additional information or a blank template for the rain barrel design can contact Steve Massey, the IDOT Sustainable Practices Manager. Massey can be reached at (815) 434-8414 or at

The rain barrels are obtained from Illinois Correctional Industries, a division of the Illinois Department of Corrections. The rain barrels were previously used to store liquid hand soap. This is part of Correctional Industries’ expansive recycling program.

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