LAFAYETTE, LA (WAFB) - Lafayette is entering its second year of a project where homeowners add a new item to their home's front or back yard.
Rain barrels, of course, are containers that are used to collect and store rainwater from rooftops. The water collected is not drinking water, but is used later for watering lawns, gardens or for other outdoor uses.
Lafayette's School System, Lafayette Utilities and Lafayette Consolidated Government's Environmental Quality Division are the sponsors of a public art contest called Project Front Yard. The artists are local middle schoolers. Winners will be made famous, as their painted rain barrels will be displayed for public voting during the "2nd Saturday ArtWalk" on February 13 in the lobby of Chase Towers located at 600 Jefferson Street in Downtown Lafayette.
Students from Ascension, Carencro Middle, Cathedral-Carmel, Edgar Martin, L. Leo Judice, L.J. Alleman, Scott Middle, St. Pius and Youngsville Middle Schools are participating in this year's competition.
Cydra Wingerter with Lafayette's Consolidated Government says the Front Yard Project is intended to change the local culture just a little.
"We believe people want to do the right thing when it comes to preserving and beautifying the face of our community, or our 'front yard', says Wingerter. "Through Project Front Yard we work to make it easy for people to know how to care for our environment and keep it beautiful. The Rain Barrel Art Project is great example of a win-win-win; students and adults alike learn of the ease and benefits of using rain barrels for water conservation and people save on water bills, all while promoting beautiful and expressive public art."
Wingerter says that these barrels should not allow mosquitos to spread the Zika Virus either.
"All of the rain barrels are manufactured with top screens that allow rain drops to fall through, but are too small for mosquitoes to pass and lay their eggs in. So essentially, they were designed to allow people to collect and conserve water while also protecting them from mosquito breeding."
If a rain barrel is something you would like to add to your front yard, you can visit HERE for more information on the program.
Last year's Rain Barrel Public Art Project winners can be found HERE.