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Photo Services Helps Make Gardens Grow

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
May 16, 2007

Photos: Ron Bergeron

There shouldn’t have to be a choice between having water to drink and having water to grow food. But, for more than a billion people around the world, there is.

CIS graphic designer Sherry Palmer and photographer Ron Bergeron have had a hand in helping a group that’s trying to change that.

It all started when Bergeron was approached by Otho Wells, professor emeritus of plant biology, who is on the board of directors of the Chapin Living Waters Foundation. Among other things, Chapin Living Waters supplies drip irrigation bucket kits to people in third world countries where there isn’t enough rain.

Wells wanted Bergeron to help him with professional photos for the kits’ instruction booklets. In turn, Bergeron turned to Palmer to get her input on the design. Together they worked to make the 11-page pamphlet easier for people who don’t speak English to use.

“We wanted to come up with something that was self-explanatory by looking at it; something with as few words as possible,” Palmer said.

Bergeron took the kits apart and photographed each piece. They made long lists of the photos that would be needed.

“Ultimately it had to be something that could be understood if the user had minimal language,” Bergeron said. “And it was important that the details for each part be obvious.”

The goal was to have the instructions be photo-driven and use as few words as possible. Once all the photographs were taken, Palmer designed a two-page, double-sided foldout that could fit in the kit parcel. Wells knew what and how the pieces needed to be laid out; for example, one photo shows there are two sizes of tubing.

Photos: Ron Bergeron

Next they relied on the expertise of the John Sobczak at Ram Printing in East Hampstead. Sobczak suggested they use a synthetic polyethylene material similar to Tyvek, which is used on the outside of houses, rather than paper so the brochures would last.

“We came away thrilled,” Palmer said. “You could put it in the bathtub and it would be fine.”

The 12-part kits include 100 feet of drip hose, fittings and connecting tubing. Users supply the 5-gallon bucket that has to be set at least three feet above the ground and filled with water twice a day.

The brochure provides numbered steps in assembling the kit and shows how to set it up to water two, four and six rows at a time. There are also instructions for maintaining and repairing the kit.

“It was a long project but the whole thing felt so good,” Palmer said.

Added Bergeron, “I’ve been here 35 years and this is one of the most exciting projects I’ve been involved with.”

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