Greener BeeGreen LivingHow to be more eco-friendly? ‘It’s not rocket science,’ Greenfest participant says

Bluegrass residents will have a chance to take steps toward a greener lifestyle on June 3 at the third annual GreenFest, a family-friendly festival hosted by the nonprofit Bluegrass Greensource.

In addition to a series of workshops, there will be tours of a 100-year-old house whose owner has made it more eco-friendly.

“What we do and what people will see are just some easy things that, if lots of people do it, it really can add up to make an environmental impact,” homeowner Amanda Gumpert said.

Since buying the house in 2009, Gumpert and her husband, Mark have added solar panels, planted native plants and vegetable gardens in the front yard, and built a chicken coop from recycled materials. They keep chickens to produce their own eggs. Gumpert also composts, and she collects water in rain barrels to use in her gardens.

They both both have professional experience with environmental studies, but Gumpert said anyone can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

“What we do at home, it’s not rocket science,” Gumpert said. “We don’t do anything that somebody with no knowledge about environmental science or energy efficiency can’t do. It’s just pretty basic stuff.”

The idea to host a green festival sprang from the realization that there isn’t much opportunity in Lexington for people to get information about sustainability, said Amy Sohner, executive director of Bluegrass Greensource.

Even the biggest environmentalists impact the environment every day, so it’s about understanding how to do that and then making some choices to see what you can do slightly differently to improve it.

Amy Sohner, Greensource executive director

“We all impact the environment every day,” Sohner said. “Even the biggest environmentalists impact the environment every day, so it’s about understanding how to do that and then making some choices to see what you can do slightly differently to improve it.”

Workshops, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 835 National Avenue, will cover various topics about green living, including eco-travel, “upcycling,” small-space gardening and beekeeping.

“The idea of the workshops is to provide enough information for you to know if you want to keep searching for more information,” Sohner said.

Ruth Jeffers, president of the Bluegrass Beekeepers Association, is leading the beekeeping workshop. She said the presentation will focus on the importance of honeybees and what the first steps are for those interested in it.

“The more folks who become involved in beekeeping or become involved in backyard hives and bee colonies help with pollinating flowers and gardens,” Jeffers said. Beekeeping helps propagate the declining species, she said.

Bob Eidson, founder of ReContained, a company that builds structures out of used shipping containers, will lead a workshop about the basic steps of building with the recycled containers. Eidson also will lead tours of a ReContained mobile home, which he says is designed to be much more energy-efficient than standard mobile housing units.

Greensource also has resources available for those who want to know more about topics after the festival, Sohner said. Established in 2001, Bluegrass Greensource works to provide education and resources to communities in Central Kentucky, according to its website. Greensource leads outreach to schools and adult groups, teaching about topics including water quality, energy efficiency and waste reduction.

“Our mission is to empower the Bluegrass to create a sustainable environment,” Sohner said. “We work a lot to help people, businesses and organizations understand that small changes in our everyday lives can really make a big impact on our local environment.”

For a complete list of events, go to BGgreensource.org/greenfest.

Contact Emma Austin: 859-231-1455

Article source: http://www.kentucky.com/living/home-garden/article152809974.html


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