A fun event’s on tap this week at Silverwood Park

Last year’s event was a brow-furrowing, roll-up-your sleeves workshop. This year, organizers have added fun as an ingredient and re-designed the event as a kid-friendly festival. (submitted phtoto)

Festival to focus on sustainability

Denny Lynard
Bulletin staff

An event homeowners, apartment renters - even kids - may want to check out is scheduled for the late afternoon and early evening of Thursday, Nov. 14 at Silverwood Park in St. Anthony.

The effort is co-sponsored by Falcon Heights and Lauderdale as well as St. Anthony and is subtitled “Action for Sustainable Cities.”It’s part of a movement that is growing not only locally, but also nationally, even internationally, that’s known as sustainability.

The word is not easily defined, but here it is: “Sustainability is a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” That’s from Nicole Nissen-Hooper, a St. Anthony intern who is coordinating the event. Nissen-Hooper is on her way to being the first-ever graduate of the University of Minnesota with a major in sustainability.

It’s hard to come up with issues that do not depend on sustainability for our long-term survival. But rest easy, if you’re recycling your plastic bottles, not over-idling the engine on your vehicle, even raising chickens in your backyard, you’re on your way to a sustainable lifestyle. And efforts are taking hold to push back on more resource waste. St. Anthony, for example, has earned the state’s highest sustainability ranking to date: a GreenStep 3 city. And the League of Minnesota Cities has awarded SAV the City of Excellence Award for the second time.                    

A festival-like atmosphere

The Thursday event is centered around sustainability but it’s designed to have a festival-like atmosphere. Kid-friendly activities will include a beanbag toss, coloring and even a “fish for invasive species” game to sneak in a little education.

Featured guest, former DFL Sen. Ellen Anderson, who served 18 years in the Minnesota State Senate and is currently a senior advisor to Gov. Dayton on energy and the environment, will speak on the sustainability topic at 7 p.m. Her presentation will be followed by a sing-along of eco-tunes by University of Minnesota music professor emeritus Clif Ware and his wife, Bettye. Here’s a few song titles to tickle your interest: Small and Less,” “Lots of Stuff,” and “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle!”

Exhibitors at the event will include Fruits of the City and the Garden Gleaning Project, a pair of organizations that are looking for volunteers. Project Coordinator Jared Walhowe says there’s lots in it for fruit tree owners and vegetable growers. Picking up apples for instance is good exercise but a lot of work. Fruits of the City will help lighten that load with volunteer pickers interested in stocking the local food shelves by collecting your apples before they fall off the trees.

“And for gardeners, next spring, plant an extra row of those vegetables for the food shelves, Walhowe says. “We even have a scale to help value your donation and we’ll give you a receipt for taxes.”           

A cocktail you would not want to drink

Jenny Winkelman, education and outreach manager for the Mississippi Wastewater Management Organization that deals with improving water resources and quality in St. Anthony as well as six other communities, promises a fun activity at their booth.

The MWMO outreach part is attending events like the Sustainability Festival and bringing along their high-spirited, Mississippi Green Team to show attendees - adults and kids alike- how to make a liter of non-toxic, eco-friendly, all-purpose cleaner they can take home and find out just how good it is.

The education part, for example, educates new arrivals to the U.S. They see the seemingly endless supply of water from the faucets, but they don’t see the limited source, like they may have seen in their third-world countries.

“Managing your wastewater is not just for homeowners, everyone has a drain,” she says.

Disposal is important. Wastewater treatment deals with not only household and yard chemicals, but everything that goes down the drain. Winkelman gave an example of caffeine as one of the most difficult substances to be removed from the water supply.

When you put together everything that goes down the drain, it’s a cocktail you would not want to drink.

The Sustainability Festival will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Great Hall at Silverwood Park, 2599 County Road E. in St. Anthony. There is no charge to attend. The park can be accessed on its north side from County Road E, between Silver Lake Road and Stinson Boulevard. Free parking is available by the visitor center

Denny Lynard can be reached at dlynard@lillienews.com or 651-748-7823

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