ELMHURST – After a two-year hiatus, Green Fest returns to Elmhurst with more than a few educational activities for kids and adults.
"We're trying to make [education] a little more of a focus than in the past," said Matt Poole, Elmhurst Park District's Environmental and Athletics program manager.
The fest will continue to host a variety of vendors as well. This year around 30 nonprofits, service providers and retailers will exhibit in Wilder Park. In addition, a series of workshops, speakers and even kids' crafts will be offered throughout the day.
Poole said he hopes the event benefits more than just the local community, but the entire western suburbs, since everyone can benefit from environmentally sustainable lifestyles. Still, he kept the concerns of Elmhurst residents in mind when choosing some of the programming.
Poole thought of the community's too often revisited flooding issue, and booked The Conservation Foundation's Jim Kleinwachter to present on rain water management and sustainable landscaping. The land protection specialist will talk about how sustainable landscaping techniques and native plants help control rain water.
"It's something I knew would potentially draw an audience," said Poole.
Everyone can also attend home energy efficiency workshops provided by Elmhurst College and Elmhurst Cool Cities at a house owned by the college. Trained professionals will demonstrate a home energy audit, using tools like an infra-red camera to point out ways homeowners can cut down on energy costs by learning how to weatherize windows and doors.
Kids programming is conveniently scheduled to begin 15 minutes before and end 15 minutes after speaker presentations to keep kids entertained while parents may be busy. These programs include working on projects like hover crafts, volcanoes and owl pellets, and are one-day versions of the 6 to 8 week programs offered through the Elmhurst Park District at Eldridge Park.
Poole said educating kids about their environment is important, because hopefully they will continue to take care of the earth and live sustainable lifestyles as adults.
He wants to see the event grow, but also wants people to stay involved after Saturday. Poole said he wants the return of Green Fest to be the beginning of continued interest in the environment for all that attend, kids and adults alike.
"We just hope to have as many folks as possible come out," said Poole.