Ideas for sustainable living at Green Expo

Ideas for sustainable living were on display May 10 at the fifth annual Green Expo, which for the first time this year took place at the National Sports Center in Blaine.

The city of Coon Rapids and the Coon Rapids Sustainability Commission pioneered and hosted the Green Expo at the Coon Rapids City Center the first four years, but the city was approached by the National Sports Center to move the event to that location and partner with the city of Blaine to reach more residents and use a larger facility, according to Colleen Sinclair, Coon Rapids recycling coordinator, who has spearheaded the Green Expo since its inception.

Watched by their father Mike Patrou (right), John Patrou, 9, and Brian Patrou, 5, spin a wheel at the Minnesota Lung Association’s alternative fuels booth at the fifth annual Green Expo at the National Sports Center, Blaine, May 10. After spinning the wheel, a question was asked about alternative fuels and if answered correctly, a prize was awarded. There are 15 alternative fuels locations in Blaine and Coon Rapids, according to Robert Moffitt (left), lung association communications director, who manned the booth. Photos by Peter Bodley

Watched by their father Mike Patrou (right), John Patrou, 9, and Brian Patrou, 5, spin a wheel at the Minnesota Lung Association’s alternative fuels booth at the fifth annual Green Expo at the National Sports Center, Blaine, May 10. After spinning the wheel, a question was asked about alternative fuels and if answered correctly, a prize was awarded. There are 15 alternative fuels locations in Blaine and Coon Rapids, according to Robert Moffitt (left), lung association communications director, who manned the booth. Photos by Peter Bodley

“It was very successful,” said Sinclair.

Exhibitors were very pleased with the increased space and while the numbers were comparable to previous years, Sinclair has heard from “a lot of people” who want to be part of the Green Expo in future years, she said.

“We are thrilled with the extra space which gives better visibility,” Sinclair said. “There’s a lot of potential for expansion.”

Attendance at about 500 people was a bit down from previous years, which Sinclair said she attributed to the date of the 2014 Green Expo – the day of the Minnesota fishing opener and Mother’s Day weekend.

In the past the expo has taken place in April and in 2015, the Green Expo will again be in April, tentatively April 25, but remaining in the Sports Hall at the National Sports Center, Sinclair said.

While the location changed, the purpose of the Green Expo did not – to showcase ideas, products and services in sustainable living to save residents’ money and preserve natural resources, as well as to educate and empower people to live sustainably and responsibly.

The Green Expo featured displays and exhibits in the areas of energy, government and educational resources, home construction and remodeling, household products, lifecycle and recreation, waste reduction services and yard and garden.

Four speakers presented as part of the Green Expo – gardener Marcia Baudino on making “your yard a food producing paradise;” Dawn Doering of the Coon Creek Watershed District on protecting groundwater; Dawn Pape on transforming a yard to conserve water and protect area waters from pollution; and Lois Solomon, a Hennepin County master gardener, who gave “tips and tricks for composting.”

In addition, there was a hands-on kids’ activity put on by Home Depot with volunteers from the Coon Rapids High School Eco-Teen Club, where children could plant their very own garden item and decorate a carrying cup.

And the Green Expo also had an athletic gear swap, canned food donations and door prizes that included an outdoor rocking chair, rain barrels and compost bins.

And set up outside the Sports Hall was the The Tiny Solar House, an eight- by 16-foot livable house that featured working displays of the four types of solar technology used in homes today.

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