What was once a field of prairie grasses has been turned into an ornate model railway garden that uses stormwater captured with permeable concrete pavement. Opened in spring 2011, large winding walkways allow visitors to stroll through the garden. Mountains of natural stone up to 14 feet high are set to create a miniature world for G-scale (1/24 actual size) trains to travel on more than 3000 feet of track through mountains and valleys, past waterfalls, and along streams. The trains cross more than 30 bridges, and pass through educational vignettes, which teach visitors about the impact of railroads in the early 20th century. Permeable concrete pavement contributes to the project’s sustainability by capturing rainwater to irrigate the specialized plants and for use in the streams and waterfalls throughout the exhibit.

The project surpassed the owner’s desire to create a sustainable addition to its facility with this cutting-edge approach to sustainability.

View all of the 2011 GreenSite projects at www.greensiteawards.com.