Fort Mill Eagle Scout Builds Rain Garden on Winthrop Campus

July 14, 2016

Quick Facts

bullet point Ryan Certo is a rising 10th grader at Fort Mill High School.
bullet point He is a member of Fort Mill/Tega Cao Troop 150.
bullet point Rain gardens help protect water quality and reduce the damage of storm water runoff.


ROCK HILL, SOUTH CAROLINA - Many people know the Winthrop University campus for its beauty, from the outdoor artwork to Hardin Garden in bloom.

Now, a Fort Mill High School student has added another beautiful niche to campus: a rain garden behind the Bancroft Hall and Margaret Nance buildings.

Ryan Certo, a rising 10th grader, completed the rain garden as part of his Eagle Scout project with Fort Mill/Tega Cay Troop 250. Certo, his friends and Winthrop faculty, including College of Arts and Sciences Dean Karen Kedrowski and Interdisciplinary Studies Chair Marsha Bollinger, spent several hours on a recent Saturday helping install the rain garden.

Typically small in size, a rain garden helps protect water quality and limit the damage of storm water runoff by both slowing down the runoff and absorbing it. These gardens are also able to withstand other extremes that come with storm water, including an excess of nutrients, that can carry pollutants into other areas.

"The idea for the rain garden appealed to me because it was something new that none of the other scouts in my troop had done," Certo said. "I chose the Winthrop location from a document I was e-mailed from a scoutmaster about all of the projects on your campus."

To finish his project, Certo completed vast amounts of research on everything from the best plants for rain gardens to the amounts of runoff it would receive from adjacent impervious surfaces.

Barbara O'Connell with the York Soil & Water Conservation District certified Certo's rain garden and presented him with a certificate and "1,000 Rain Gardens" project sign.

For more information, contact Nicole Chisari, communications coordinator, at 803/323-2236 or

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