All things green in Coon Rapids Saturday

Coon Rapids’ Green Expo returns for a third year Saturday, April 14 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Coon Rapids Civic Center.

Arne and Kari Olson, the owners of Houle Insulation, will be making a presentation from 9:30 to 10 a.m. on energy audits, insulation and ventilation topics at the city of Coon Rapids’ third Green Expo tomorrow (Saturday, April 14), 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Coon Rapids City Center. The Olsons are pictured with their two children, Blake and Sydney.  Photo from Houle Insulation website.

Arne and Kari Olson, the owners of Houle Insulation, will be making a presentation from 9:30 to 10 a.m. on energy audits, insulation and ventilation topics at the city of Coon Rapids’ third Green Expo tomorrow (Saturday, April 14), 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Coon Rapids City Center. The Olsons are pictured with their two children, Blake and Sydney. Photo from Houle Insulation website.

A combination of workshops, demonstrations and exhibitors will showcase the latest in green and sustainable living options, according to Colleen Sinclair, Coon Rapids Recycling Center coordinator and organizer of the Green Expo.

“The family friendly expo offers something for everyone,” Sinclair said.

There will be 40 exibitors at the event, about the same number as last year.

But there are several new exhibitors this year, Sinclair said.

“People will be able to see a lot of new stuff,” she said.

There will be a lot of really great things to teach people and information they can take home with them, Sinclair said.

“The point of the expo is education,” she said. “There is no pressure to buy anything. Just come and learn.”

Besides the exhibitors, there will be some featured speakers and demonstrations throughout the day in the city council chambers.

Keynote speaker is polar explorer Lonnie Dupre, a Coon Rapids High School graduate, who in a 25-year career has traveled over 15,000 miles throughout the high Arctic and polar regions by dog team, ski and kayak.

Back in January, Dupre made his second attempt to climb Denali, also known as Mount McKinley, in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America at 20,320, but the winter weather foiled his effort.

Dupre’s presentation in the council chambers will take place from 10:30 a.m. to noon.

It will include videos and images of the Arctic that Dupre has gathered on his journeys during the coldest and darkest part of the year.

Dupre will also have a book signing of his book, “Life on Ice.”

Sinclair has been reading Dupre’s new book and is excited to have the chance to meet and talk with him, she said.

Prior to Dupre’s keynote address, Houle Insulation will make a presentation in the council chambers from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

Owners Arne and Kari Olson will be presenting information on energy audits, attic bypasses, roof and soffit ventilation, bath and kitchen exhaust ventilation, types and depths of insulation, sidewall insulation, rim joist insulation and rebate programs from CenterPoint and Xcel Energy.

Following Dupre into the council chambers will be a representative from Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles who will speak about bicycle maintenance from 12:15 to 12:45 p.m.

Topics to be covered are  helmet fit, safety, rules of the road, changing a tire and a maintenance checklist.

In addition, there will be an area set up for people to try changing a tire.

Then Coon Rapids resident and gardener Marcia Baudino, who grows enough produce in her garden yard to make meals for her family year-round, will make a presentation from 1 to 1:45 p.m.

According to Sinclair, Baudino has an average sized lot and “has transformed her yard into a food producing paradise.”

She has permanent raised beds in her backyard to grow annual vegetables, a permaculture (permanent agriculture) landscape producing food in the front yard and 115 fruit bushes, Sinclair said.

“Using food she grows and some purchased from local farmers markets, Marcia fills four freezers with meals each season that sustain her family year-rounds,” she said.

In her presentation, Baudino will share her story, show photos of her yard and provide tips and resources to help people get started in their own yard, Sinclair said.

At 2 p.m. there will be a raffle drawing for two cistern rain barrels and two Earth Machine compost bins. People must be present in the council chambers to win.

There will be a hand-on recycling art project for children, who will work with the Coon Rapids High School’s Eco-teens group to make bugs and caterpillars from empty egg cartons that they can take home with them, according to Sinclair.

There will also be a book exchange for people to bring gently used books for others to read and find one for themselves.

The 2011 Green Expo had some 800 people attending. “We had lots of positive feedback,” Sinclair said.

Sinclair is hoping for more people at this year’s event, she said.

Exhibitors who will be at the expo include Anderson Irrigation, Attic Armour LLC, Aveda, Bag-E-Wash, Bunker Hills Golf Course, city of Coon Rapids forestry department, Coon Rapids Mortgage Assistance Foundation, Coon Rapids city staff, city of Coon Rapids park and water departments, Coon Creek Watershed District, Coon Rapids Middle School Eco-teens, Coon Rapids High School Eco-teens, Coon Rapids Sustainability Commission, Cub Foods, Culinary Delights Farm LLC, Do It Green, Earth Wizards, Ecological Gardens, Farm of Plenty, Frog Box, Grass Roots Co-op, Harvest Grill, Houle Insulation, Aquarius Water Conditioning, LePage & Sons Waste Solutions, Little Free Library, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Marcia Baudino – gardener, Mr. Michael Recycles Bicycles, Norwex, Powerfully Green, Quality Used Appliances, Quarve Contracting Inc., Home Depot, Thirty One, Tupperware and Walters Recycling & Refuse.

There is no charge to attend the expo.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com


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