The Ray is Evolving as a Living Laboratory
The Ray is continuing its mission as a living laboratory through its ever-evolving projects and demonstrations. The last few months have seen a focus on “soft tech.” In March, The Ray partnered with the Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) and the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to install 10 acres of bioswales, or shallow drainage ditches filled with vegetation that slow water movements and capture particulate pollutants, heavy metals, rubber and oil during rainstorms. These native grasses were specifically chosen for the area and will fight pollution flowing into the watershed. The Ray is continuing to harness the power of local plants through a project with Georgia Power that combines solar panels and pollinator habitats. This is truly a win-win innovation. The pollinator plants reduce erosion and provide nutrients to depleted soil through its deep, complex root structure, all while providing habitats for pollinators necessary to grow nearby crops. From a business perspective, pollinator habitats cut the cost associated with maintaining other ground cover, like turf grass.
The Ray is seeing growing media interest. In April, Fast Company profiled The Ray as one of “50 projects that are really making America great again.” In March, The Atlantic’s City Lab featured The Ray in a piece, “Unlocking the Hidden Power of a Highway.” You can stay up to date with what the team is doing by following The Ray on social media; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
The next few months for The Ray will involve finalizing many of the project proposals for 2017 installation and demonstration along the corridor including a perennial wheat demonstration project with UGA and GDOT, solar noise barriers, and under bridge lighting along the highway. Stay tuned!