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Numerous green-living events are popping up around Nevada.
Gardnerville went green this September in celebration of its annual Green Living Festival. Visitors crowded Lampe Park to learn about sustainable practices, renewable energy, and being environmentally responsible—and to enjoy live music.
The Sustainable Living and Renewable Energy Roundup, a group of locals who decided to band together and start the nonprofit educational group because they wanted to make a difference in their community, hosted the festival. “We all kept having the same conversations over and over again,” Vicki Bates, the secretary of SLRER, says. “We were all trying to practice green living individually, but we wanted to learn more and get information out to other people in the community and thought a festival might be a good way to do it.”
According to Bates, at least 700 people attended the free event. “Most people say they come to find information, which is great,” she says. “We try to make sure there is something for everyone whether they want to know about something health related, using less energy, renewable energy, organic gardening, green landscaping, or green building.”
There was an eclectic mix at this year’s festival, with more than 50 exhibitor booths and 25 workshop presentations. Exhibitors ranged from Tahoe Solar Designs, Sundance Bookstore, Costco, and GE Energy to Arbonne Skincare Products, and workshop presentation subjects included “Energy Benefits of Lighting Control,” “Bat Houses,” and “Bee Keeping.”
The Discovery Tent, where kids and adults got hands-on experience in green living, was also a crowd pleaser, Mistia Zuckerman, president of SLRER, says. “This year we made homemade paper from recycled products, self-watering planters with herbs growing in them, and baked cookies using solar ovens. We also had a pair of ‘bike blenders’ that you power by peddling that the kids loved. We used one to make the paper pulp and the other one to make smoothies!”
“The event has grown and developed since it began in 2006,” Bates says. “The first year was the hardest. We really bit off more than we could chew and tried to make it too big, too fast, and it was very expensive.” This year they decreased the festival from two days to Saturday only. This helped reduce overall cost and the booth price for exhibitors.
Aside from the Green Living Festival, SLRER has begun hosting a series of events they call field trips, such as the Slow Foods Dinner held on September 10 to kick off the festival. According to the group’s Web site, slow food is, “The opposite of fast food, which is industrially produced, overprocessed, preserved with chemical additives, and eaten on the run. Slow food is healthy food that is locally produced and cooked from scratch to bring out its flavor and preserve its food value.”
On a different field trip, the group took a tour of the Northern Nevada Correctional Center prison farm and learned how Full Circle Compost and Hungry Mother Organics have teamed up with the inmates to grow local, organic produce. “This was by far my favorite field trip,” Zuckerman says. “These are very low-risk inmates who will be on parole in a few years, so the vocational skills this program is teaching them can really be life-changing. They don’t just make the compost and grow the vegetables, they also get to sell them at local farmers’ markets.”
Information for upcoming field trips can be found on the group’s Web site. “To anyone who is trying to go green for the first time, I just want them to know that they don’t need to do it overnight,” Bates says. “Do little things to help you save energy. There are so many small ways. Don’t overwhelm yourself.”
MORE GREEN EVENTS IN NEVADA
The National Clean Energy Summit
The second annual National Clean Energy Summit was held at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas on August 10. The Summit was organized by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the Center for American Progress Action Fund to “discuss the creation of good jobs in the new economy by accelerating the deployment of clean energy and energy efficiency and ensuring long-term prosperity for Nevada, the nation, and the world.” Participants in the event included former Vice President Al Gore, Secretary Steven Chu of the U.S. Department of Energy, Senator Maria Cantwell, Nevada State Senator Steven Horsford, as well as other leaders from science, industry, government, and advocacy groups. americanprogressaction.org, cleanenergysummit.org
Sustainable Energy & Communities Summit
The Nevada Museum of Art in Reno held a half-day summit on October 16 to discuss the impact that clean, renewable, and sustainable energy could have on the local economy and the community. The event included panels discussing art and architecture, community and environment, business and the clean-energy economy, and education and workforce training. “The summit aimed to spotlight the sustainable energy trends recognized in the world today and highlight the great potential for economic and social impact on our region,” says Colin Robertson, curator of education at the Nevada Museum of Art. nevadaart.org, 775-329-3333
Carson Valley Sustainables