The Place To Be On May 8Th Is The Green Living Expo

By Shelley Swenson, 2010 Green Living Expo Chairperson

The details of the 4th annual Green Expo are finalized. Consider yourself personally invited to this wonderful event!!! I promise it is bigger and better than any of the previous Expos. A small group of county individuals served on the Steering Committee and each has worked extremely hard to coordinate this fantastic event. The Steering Committee members believe in living responsibility and want other people to see the many and varied ways people can become more sustainable in their life practices.

To plan your Green Living Expo day, visit and print the Expo flyer with the event schedule. When you arrive, start at the registration desk so that you can learn where things are being held and if there are any schedule changes.

There are so many things for the entire family to do. We have expanded our children’s activities so children of all ages will have plenty to do while parents attend workshops and visit the Exhibit Hall. Nutritious foods will be available on the grounds. Entertainment will go on much of the day and several entertainers are directed toward the children in attendance. The Farmers Market will provide you an opportunity to buy fresh food straight from local farms.

EVERYONE in the area should be collecting and using rain water for vegetation inside and outside of your homes to conserve on this important natural resource. There will be workshops during which you can make a rain barrel to take home at day’s end.

Another new addition this year is a Film Festival. The films include: “A Chemical Reaction”, “Wakulla Spring, A Watery Treasure”, Blue Gold”, and “Food Inc.” Watch for the descriptions of these films in this Insert so you can decide if you should take the opportunity to see them at The Green Expo. There is no charge to view these films. I promise, you will leave with your eyes open to the concerns that face us in our world today. I believe you will leave each film looking for a group to discuss what you experienced since each is very thought-provoking. Discussion groups on sustainability issues in this area might be “on the horizon”… on.

Plan to stop by the school’s computer lab in the morning to calculate your personal carbon footprint. This is an eye-opening experience. You will learn how much your way of life contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and ways to reduce your carbon footprint. You’ll have an opportunity to calculate your ecological footprint, too.

I am especially excited about the University of Florida IFAS booth. It is being coordinated by Kathryn Zeiwitz, recently hired Sustainable Community Development Specialist. She and her staff have developed the booth on water quality and have focused their attention on Wakulla County.

In addition, she is going to explore the potential in forming “sustainability circles” facilitated by Extension-trained “sustainably mentors”. This would allow us to continue the efforts that start at events like The Green Living Expo through the formation of study circles made up of like-minded persons meeting regularly to discuss a sustainability-related topic. There have been several individuals who have indicated interest in this concept. I think we are ready for this type of experience in Wakulla County and with Ms. Zeiwitz being interested in piloting the program in a Florida county, why shouldn’t it be here!!! If you want to learn more, stop by the UF/IFAS booth and meet Ms Zeiwitz and her staff.

Another important aspect of the Green Living Expo is the Green Homes Tour. Tickets for the events and additional information of what will be featured at each home will be available. Read more about the specifics in this Insert. The Committee decided to have two Saturday events, May 15th and June 5th to lesson the time restraints on the participants at each home. With more time at each home, additional information can be obtained as to how local citizens have make improvements in their homes to make them more energy efficient. These Saturday tours are not to be missed.

If you come for nothing else, I hope you will consider coming at noon to 1 hear our keynote speaker. Dr. Pierce Jones, Program for Resource Efficient Communities, will be addressing participants in the cafeteria at the Riversprings Middle School. The title of his presentation is titled Water, Energy, and Land Development in Florida.

He describes his presentation as follows:

Residential construction directly associated with population growth is the primary driver of Florida’s economy. In 2005 over 208,000 building permits were issued statewide for new, single-family, detached homes. Direct consequences of this growth include a steadily increasing demand for energy, water and land for urban uses. This rapid growth has come at a steep cost, most obviously expressed in our depleted water supplies, degraded water quality and increasing exposure to rising energy prices. These issues all evolve directly around growth management. This presentation discusses Florida’s residential growth patterns and how they can be modified to make more efficient use of our water, energy and natural resources.

With all of the development that is going on presently in the Big Bend, I want to encourage you to hear Dr. Jones, the Director of the Program for Resource Efficient Communities, an interdisciplinary, self-funded, entrepreneurial group that promotes the adoption of “best design, construction and management practices” in new, master-planned residential developments. Under his direction, this group is directly participating in land development and building projects that adopt and demonstrate “green” practices.

The 2010 Green Living Expo is soon approaching. I hope you will attend and profit from all of the expertise that will be in one place, at one time on such an important issue as Sustainability!

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information, and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, policies, opinions or affiliation. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Florida IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension program and Board of County Commissioners Cooperating.