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April 8, 2010

Earth Festival is Saturday at MCS


STAFF REPORT

The Earth Festival, now in its fifth year, is an environmentally focused, interactive event featuring exhibits, workshops, vendors, food and entertainment, all with a fun, earthfriendly twist.

Earth Festival 2010, sponsored by the Otsego County Conservation Association and Wildlife Learning Company, is scheduled for Saturday at the Milford Central School.

This year’s event will include a seminar series from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the school auditorium, with a wide range of topics, as well as the traditional information and vendor fair from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium.

Following a successful renewable energy workshop in January and in response to heightened public interest in alternative energy, festival sponsors decided to include the seminar series in this year’s festival, according to Darla Youngs, Administrative Director of the Otsego County Conservation Association.

The seminar series topics will run and gamut from energy audits and retrofits to natural gas-drilling to zero waste. Industry professionals will give presentations on geothermal and solar thermal energy and Finnish wood stoves. The importance of energy audits will be discussed, as will both residential and commercial energy retrofitting.

With the information and materials provided, home and business owners will be better able to assess renewable energy options and evaluate the compatibility of these energy sources with their individual sites and lifestyles, Youngs said.

The seminar series will also explore various aspects of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus shale formation, as four speakers take the stage to share their perspectives and concerns. Representatives from the environmental, oil and gas, and legal communities will discuss drilling currently underway in Otsego County by Gastem, an oil and gas exploration and development company; flaws in the proposed New York State regulations on horizontal drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing; how to recognize and report possible violation of environmental laws and regulations; and legal considerations for individuals and towns.

The scheduled speakers include Lou Allstadt, a former Mobil Oil executive; Orville Cole, from Gastem; Erik Miller, representing the OCCA; and attorney Mary Jo Long.

Other seminar topics and presenters include: energy audits/retrofits and solar thermal heat, Equity Energy; energy issues with new/retrofit commercial construction, NYSERDA; Finnish wood furnaces and ovens, German Mike’s Masonry; geothermal, Great Brook Enterprises; Low Carbon Diet, OCCA, and zero waste, Chris Burger.

The pre-registration deadline was April 2, Youngs said, but registrations will be accepted up until Friday, April 9. Walks in are welcome, she added.

Information booths and a Vendor Fair will be open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the gymnasium.

They include:

The Milford Central School Education Foundation will host the ôGo Greenö Fashion Show at 3 p.m. (by ticket only, call 607-286-7721, ext. 8408).

Clean Styrofoam packaging material, meat trays, mushroom boxes, and egg cartons will be collected.

Free document shredding service from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for disposal of confidential papers provided by ConfiData, a division of Empire Recycling.

Spring flowers, sprouts, micro greens, organic meats, cheeses, baked goods and crafts from the Cooperstown Farmers’ Market.

MCS Class of 2014 will host an eco-friendly car wash. $5 per car _ all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.

Bob Donnelly and Dave Kiehm will lead a bird walk in the Robert V. Riddell State Park as part of Earth Festival. Participants should meet in the school parking lot at 8 a.m.

Festival visitors can look forward to several local food items at the CADE booth. CADE will serve up local beef burgers from Sunset View Farm, as well as quiche and soup from Lucky Dog Farm and Cafe.

Students from Milford Central School will be leading children’s activity stations throughout the day, and are currently preparing a wide array of eco-art for public viewing.

Children’s activities will include: Nature Hike & Tree Identification, 9 a.m.; Bird House Making & Plant Potting, 10 a.m. to noon; Maple Sugaring Demonstration, 1 p.m.; Afternoon Ultimate Frisbee Games. The Milford Education Foundation will end Earth Festival with a special ``recycled fashion’’ show (by ticket only). Earth Festival activities will kick off with a free Family Movie Night, including a special eco-art/fashion preview, at the school on Friday beginning at 6:30 p.m. with the movie ``WALL E.’’

The City of Oneonta Public Transportation (OPT) buses will provide bus service to Earth Festival from Oneonta or Cooperstown and all points in between.

More information about the Earth Festival is available on the OCCA website www.occainfo. org.