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Be a Drain Stormer School

Clean Drains Fort Wayne: Be River SmART is a collaborative initiative between Friends of the Rivers and Fort Wayne City Utilities that uses art to convey the message … only rain in the drain.

With its three rivers – St. Joe, St. Marys and Maumee – it is important that all of Fort Wayne’s residents become protectors of this vital and precious natural resources. We use our rivers for both recreation and the source for our drinking water.

If the city’s system of storm drains isn’t protected then trash, grass clippings, dog poop and chemicals that go down the storm drains will be untreated and end up in our rivers.

Why Be a Drain Stormer School

This is an opportunity to provide real-life experiences to the Earth and Science standards. Drain Stormer Schools assist their students in learning to be good river stewards and the importance of keeping storm drains clean of trash, debris and pollutants – because everything that goes down the storm drains makes its way (untreated) directly into our rivers.

Students become river SmART through Science, Math, Art and Technology oriented activities.

Resources & Curriculum


  • Many people think rivers flow from north to south, but Fort Wayne’s rivers are great examples of rivers that don’t flow in the direction you think they might.
  • Fort Wayne sits on what is known as the St. Lawrence continental divide that separates the Great Lakes Basin from the Gulf of Mexico watershed.
  • Although the land around Fort Wayne is flat, the city is on a small ridge that resulted from receding glaciers that covered the area in the Ice Age.
  • The St. Joseph River begins in Hillsdale County, Michigan. It flows southeast into Ohio where it turns and flows southwest to Fort Wayne.
  • The St. Marys River begins near Celina, Ohio. It flows northwest into Fort Wayne where it meets the St. Joseph River near Headwaters Park.
  • The two rivers combine to form the Maumee River. It flows in a northeasterly direction and ends at Toledo where it dumps into Lake Erie.


What happened to the apostrophe in the St. Marys River?

According ot the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, it is correct to write St. Marys River and incorrect to write St. Mary’s River. This is because the river is named St. Marys and isn’t a river that belongs to St. Mary.

Game to Protect Rivers Wins International Award

Players of Cloudburst Aim to Stop Stormwater Pollution

Fort Wayne, Ind. — A City Utilities-developed board game that helps players learn how stormwater runoff carries pollutants to our rivers has won the International Serious Play Silver Medal.

The Serious Play organization uses game-based learning for education and training. City Utilities received the silver award in the government category for the game Cloudburst, created by City Utilities’ Business Service Manager John Kaufeld and our stormwater team.

Judges looked at a game’s playability, engagement, interactivity, and aspects of subject learning.

Cloudburst teaches how stormwater carries pollutants to our rivers when rain falls on the community. Game players work as a team to limit the spread of stormwater pollution, protect the community’s rivers and prevent community areas from getting damaged. The game is for ages 12 and up. The game can be played solo or in a cooperative group of 2 to 4 players.

Besides the Silver Medal to Cloudburst, a Gold Medal in the Government Category went to the Province of British Columbia for their game Street Sense, a hazard training application for new drivers.

The Bronze Medal went to TUTORWORKS and the US Air Force for the game Mage Duel, a language learning game for vocabulary acquisition and translation competency for the Department of Defense language analysts.

Interested parties can download Cloudburst at

At this year’s World Rivers Day on September 25, 2022, at Promenade Park, drawings will be held for full-sized Cloudburst games.


Video about becoming a Drain Stormer to share with your students.


Educational video DRAIN OH! Only you have the power to protect our rivers featuring Jennifer Lash, Program Manager, City Utilities, City of Fort Wayne.

Adopt Your School's Storm Drains

As a Drain Stormer School, the students will pledge to protect your school’s storm drains and keep them clean of trash and debris.

Clean and Mark Your School’s Storm Drains

STEP 1: Locate and identify all the storm drains around your school and/or on your schoolgrounds. Talk about what is a storm drain, how it works and the fact that through the intricate network of underground pipes it leads directly to our rivers. Discuss why storm drains are important.

STEP 2: Deputize students and/or specific classrooms to be Drain Stormers. The storm drainers will monitor the storm drains and keep them clean by collecting the trash and debris. Have the students measure/describe the type of trash and debris found at the mouth of the storm drain. Encourage students to make observations about what is around the storm drains and hypothesize about how these items found their way to the storm drains. Pick up the trash and debris around the storm drains. Discuss ideas of how to keep the storm drains clean.

STEP 3: Use the Clean & Mark materials included in your School Drain Stormer Kit. The kit includes everything you need to mark the storm drains with special Only Rain in the Drain medallions. Clean the drains and affix medallions adjacent to your school’s storm drains. Medallions, glue and instructions are included in your School Drain Stormer Kit.

STEP 4: Record the locations of the medallions that your school places on its storm drains.  

STEP 5: Monitor your school’s storm drains and keep them clean of trash and debris. Continue to talk about the students’ efforts to keep the storm drains clean.

Decorate Your School’s Storm Drains

Now that the dirty work is done, Clean Drains Fort Wayne wants you and your students to get in on the fun.

Part of the Clean Drains initiative is to create artful message-oriented storm drain murals to generate awareness that we must all work together to ensure only rain in the drain.

STEP 1: Create Clean Drains art projects. Have students think about and plan fun designs for the storm drain art murals.

Make chalk murals around your school’s storm drains or do a classroom art project that relates to the storm drains and protecting our rivers. Have students incorporate one of these messages into their chalk murals and/or classroom art projects:

  • Only Rain In The Drain
  • Be The Solution, End Water Pollution
  • Anything But H20 Is A NO NO
  • Keep Clean For Downstream
  • Create A New Phrase Or Message to Protect The Storm Drains

STEP 2: Take photos of your students’ storm drain murals and/or classroom art projects. 

Upload them to Clean Drains Fort Wayne to be shared on its website.

The chalk needed to create the storm drain art murals is included in your School Storm Drainer Kit, or add an additional fun activity and have students make their own chalk.

Drain Stormer School Pictures

Drain Stormer schools will be recognized with Clean Drains Fort Wayne signage and a school visit from Clean Drains’ mascot Friendly the Otter. All participating Drain Stormer students will receive a Friends of the Rivers’ wristband to recognize their efforts in protecting our city’s storm drains.

For More Information Contact:

Lynne Gilmore

Education Committee, Clean Drains Fort Wayne –  260.615.5657  


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Students become river SmART through Science, Math, Art and Technology oriented activities. Sign up to adopt your school’s storm drains!

Get Your Students Involved and Become a Drain Stormer School