Some Peoria high school students are in for an enriching summer as the Mayor’s Youth Program kicked off in downtown Peoria, Monday, June 7. This year’s program focuses on “going green.” And with that mission in mind, the students aren’t wasting any time getting started. The week of June 14 more than a dozen student workers planted an abundance of stormwater filtering plants at the Peoria County Courthouse and Peoria City Hall.

“Landscaping is a visually appealing and functional way to soak in the stormwater before it runs off into storm drains,” said City Engineer, Andrea Klopfenstein. “Deep rooted plants such as prairie grass can help absorb, filter, and reduce runoff.”

An additional benefit is that plants and trees can also help to absorb and filter out pollutants – keeping many of these toxins from making it into our waterways. But planting and learning about how to best filter stormwater isn’t all the students are working on. They’re also picking up litter, removing debris in and around storm sewers, plucking weeds and laying mulch – work that also makes a positive impact on our storm sewers.

The eight-week program is set to end with a closing ceremony on Friday, June 30. Until then, keep an eye out for our summer workers in your neighborhood. Learn more about the Mayor’s Youth Program here: peoriagov.org/public-works/public-works-programs/mayors-youth-program/.