Africatown Goes Green: Bioswale Sparks Excitement

Mobile Rundown Staff

Students from Mobile County Training School (MCTS) and locals in Africatown have gotten themselves a “living lab!”

This project is meant to combat pollution and beautify their surroundings. 

There was a special ribbon-cutting ceremony at Africatown Heritage House, where city officials and educators unveiled a rain garden or “bioswale.” 

This bioswale — a crafted water channel with native plants to filter runoff — will serve as an interactive classroom for MCTS students and a valuable asset for the nearby community. 

This concept came to life thanks to Birmingham-Southern College’s “STEMMING the Tide” initiative, backed by a $1.2 million grant. 

africatown bioswale

Even earlier this year, MCTS upgraded its science lab with modern features like an aquaponic system and updated safety gear

And here’s what makes this bioswale truly unique:

While crafting it, Roald Hazelhoff, Director of the Southern Environmental Center at BSC, opted for a unique twist. 

He chose local nursery plants instead of the usual specimens like cattails, creating an exquisite rain garden by the Heritage House. 

Hazelhoff and his team also collaborated with teachers. 

They plan to integrate the bioswale into their lessons, teaching young minds about water cycles. 

This is also the perfect opportunity to teach them about preserving nature and the impact of pollution. 

And beyond the classroom, this project extends its benefits to the whole Africatown community, fostering a greener local environment. 


With global climate changes triggering extreme weather shifts, projects like this bioswale are becoming essential to tackle flooding, droughts, and other challenges. 

Plus, here in Mobile, we regularly face rainwater and drainage issues. 

So, this bioswale is also a meaningful step toward addressing these concerns. 

Let’s hope this kind of creative thinking becomes a trend.

Think about it: 

It would go a long way if a couple of these bioswales become a regular feature of our neighborhoods.

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