Whiskey barrels get a new lease on life

By Kris Meyer, community engagement and education coordinator

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a rain barrel event organized by Kristin Wincek, a 2019 Minnesota Water Steward, transforming barrels generously donated by Town Hall Tap. The space for assembling the barrels, power for electric drills, and amenities were graciously provided by Ben Swarts—owner and trainer at Hard Shell Fitness.

Freshwater was able to contribute to the cost of diverter kits, which include a spigot and all other parts needed to transform the whiskey/wine barrels into functioning rain barrels. Close to a dozen Minnesota Water Stewards pitched in to help with assembly and talk about the impact rain barrels can have for water and the community.

The Stop Over Salting Minnesota team was also on hand, complete with relevant visuals—11 teaspoons—the amount of salt it takes to permanently impair an entire rain barrel of water. That’s just one teaspoon per five gallons! Stop Over Salting is a group of Minnesota Water Stewards who aim to educate the public and our legislators about how to use salt in a way that keeps both our citizens and our water safe.

Working together

This event was a beautiful example of teamwork and connection, and was a reprisal of Kristin’s 2019 Minnesota Water Steward capstone project in partnership with Freshwater board member Josephine Marcotty. Joesphine also attended the event, sharing information about Freshwater and helping attendees assemble their rain barrels.

The youngest attendee knew exactly why he was there and what he was doing, as evidenced in the video below! Says his father, Michael, “I was very excited to participate. We have been wanting to add a rain barrel to our yard to complement our existing rain gardens. Minnesota Water Stewards and their partners put on a great and informative event!”