Henceroth Park has facilities that make it eco-friendly 365 days a year, but the park was “greener” than usual Aug. 20 for the second annual Grove City EcoFest.
The event focused on sustainable living and featured green-themed vendors and exhibitors, live demonstrations, activities and games.
Visitors could drive an electric car, learn about vertical gardens, participate in a variety of activities in a fitness tent or tour a Modern Tiny Living house.
Representatives of the Dublin-based company brought a 20- by-8.5-foot model house to the festival.
“In part, the tiny house movement is a minimalist movement,” said founder Dan Hamilton, who owns the company with Robbie Hendericks and Trent Haery. “The idea is to get rid of stuff and minimize your life so you can maximize the experience of life.”
A tiny house also uses much fewer resources than a traditional domicile and thus leaves a reduced carbon footprint on the planet, he said.
“These houses give you the opportunity to live totally off the grid, if you want,” said Bruce Faris, Modern Tiny Living’s architect. “You can rely solely on wind and solar.”
The company can build houses on a foundation or provide a tiny home on wheels for increased mobility, Hamilton said.
“These are great second homes you can live in at a vacation property or that can serve as a guest house or office/studio,” he said.
The tiny houses are growing in popularity among empty-nesters looking to simplify their lives and millennials interested in alternative living options with lower costs, Hamilton said.
Meanwhile, Sarah Dalton was inviting adults and youngsters to step into a net enclosure and interact with the 20 butterflies she brought from her Pataskala home.
Dalton said she retired in 2014 after working as a naturalist for 27 years at Blendon Woods Metro Park.
“I’m particularly interested in getting children to interact with the butterflies and teach them that they shouldn’t be afraid of butterflies or nature,” she said.
Many youngsters are a little nervous at first, Dalton said, but most end up comfortable having the butterflies land on their hands.
“I love seeing that smile light up their face,” she said. “They start looking with wonder at the monarchs.”
It’s important for children to understand that everything in nature is connected, Dalton said.
In the Health and Wellness Zone, the Jackson Township Fire Department presented a demonstration of the AutoPulse resuscitation system. Using a mannequin, firefighter Ben Hart showed how the device provides automated CPR to cardiac-arrest victims.
Mount Carmel Health System provided one of the devices for each of the fire stations almost a year ago.
“The system does chest compressions continuously at a depth and rate that can be more consistent than a human being can maintain,” said Jamie Wilson, Mount Carmel’s manager of emergency-medical services.
The department has used the devices in a number of cases to help provide care to a patient, said firefighter Derek Bartkowiak.
“It’s particularly helpful in allowing us to continue CPR as we’re transporting a patient down stairs or out of a building,” he said. “It can be a challenge to continue to provide CPR manually as you’re moving out.”
After the demonstration, guests were invited to practice their own CPR skills on the mannequin.
Grady Speegle, 11, of Grove City said he was surprised when he tried it with his own hands.
“I thought it would be easier to do,” he said. “You have to put a lot more pressure on the chest than I expected.”
At another part of the festival, Jonathan Meier, co-owner of the Columbus-based Rain Brothers, was displaying rainwater-harvesting systems. He leads the rain-barrel workshops offered by Grove City.
The company’s rain barrels connect to residents’ downspouts and collect water that can be used to irrigate gardens and plants.
“Rain is a naturally soft and free water supply,” he said. “With the reductions in their water bills, most people find their system will pay for itself within a year.”
Rainwater also is better for plants and soil than the treated water coming from a hose, Meier said.