Sarasota County Extension launches virtual rain barrel classes and contactless purchases

Program began in 2009 to help save water and reduce stormwater runoff

Rain barrels have been installed outside this home. Image courtesy UF/IFAS Extension in Sarasota County

“Save water. Save money. Save nature. And do it all safely, with a suite of online Rain Barrel Workshops and a new contactless rain barrel purchase option launched by Sarasota County,” members of the University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Extension, are inviting the public.

Updates to the county’s popular Rain Barrel Program will “allow individuals to attend an online workshop, rather than in-person, to learn the myriad benefits of using rain barrels at home” or around a business, a news release explains. Participants also will be able to learn about basic setup and operation, the release adds.

Moreover, anyone interested in purchasing one or more of the bright-blue barrels can order them and pay online “and then choose from a range of convenient days, times and locations to pick up the equipment,” the release points out.

“We are excited to offer this popular program again, and help our residents learn and apply water saving techniques for maintaining their landscape,” said Lee Hayes Byron, UF/IFAS Extension Sarasota County director, in the release.

Sarasota County launched the Rain Barrel Program in 2009 with the aim of helping participants conserve water and save money while reducing stormwater runoff and protecting the natural environment, the release explains. “Since then, residents and business owners have bought more than 3,300 barrels, or enough to collect 18 million gallons of our area’s annual rainfall,” the release adds.

Upcoming online Rain Barrel Workshops are set for Aug. 15 and Sept. 19. “Learn more and register early (to save your spot) at,” the release says.

“Order and pay for rain barrels online through the same workshop registration page,” the release continues. “During the registration process, simply select the number of barrels you’d like to purchase, and the date and location convenient for you to pick up the barrel(s)and equipment. Complete kits cost just $37, plus fees, and include a barrel and basic connection plumbing.”

Additionally, Sarasota County Extension is offering an online option to purchase starter composting kits, “featuring the popular GEOBIN system,” the release says. “Online composting workshops already provide a wealth of information on the need for and benefits of composting,” along with the basics of setting up and maintaining “a thriving compost system,” the release adds. To search for a convenient workshop, go to

For questions or further information, call 861-5000 or email

“If you require special accommodations to attend one of our events,” the release points out, “please contact us in advance at 941-861-5000 or