The Directorate of Environmental Management Office (DEM) on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall hosted a rain barrel workshop in the ballroom of the JBM-HH Community Center March 31.

The workshop was taught by Aileen Winquest, Arlington County Department of Environmental Services.

''Using rain barrels helps conserve water and reduces the rain run-off from gardens," Winquest said.

The workshop taught about 30 people, most of whom were Arlington residents.

The advantages of using rain water are to restrict city water usage, save money and most importantly, to become more environmentally conscious, Winquest said.

Five children attended with Family members. A local Boy Scout was there to do research prior to doing a Scout project for DEM, which will help him eventually become an Eagle Scout.

Winquest told everyone the reasons why rain barrels are good for the environment, suggestions for rain water use, where to place the barrels once constructed and how to assemble the rain barrel.

Winquest used a computer slide-show presentation as a visual aid during her talk.

Many people took copious notes and there was a question-and-answer session before the fun began - building the rain barrels.

''Right now we have a total of six rain barrels being used at DEM since summer 2010," said Amy Fagen, DEM sustainability program manager.

''We're using them throughout the property around DEM for landscaping," she said.

Everyone attending the workshop paid $50 to cover the cost of their own rain barrel and materials, which were provided on site.

The only expenses everyone had to add were down spouts and hoses, which they could purchase later at hardware or home improvement stores. Arlington residents Michelle Torreano and Vis Challa each purchased and assembled a barrel at the workshop.

''We found out about the event at Fort Myer through e-mail news we received after attending the Arlington Green Conference," said Torreano.

The assembly of the rain barrel was easier than she thought it would be, she said.

''I plan on using my rain barrel to water vegetables and flowers I'm growing," she said.

''Building a rain barrel is another way we can be greener," said Challa.

''My goal is to reduce my carbon footprint by ten percent each year," he said.

''At first I thought it was difficult," said Esther David, wife of Col. Will David, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Pentagon.

David assembled the Family rain barrel with her sons Liam, 11 and Ethan, 7. ''If I'd known how easy it was, I would've purchased two," she said.

Everyone attending the workshop received their own rain barrel and materials, which included a faucet, washers, locknuts, an overflow adaptor and a screen to cover the top and prevent mosquitoes from laying eggs in rain water.

For more information on rain barrel workshops and building your own rain barrel, go to