One-Stop Sustainability Shop

By Bill Trueit | Aug 03, 2017

A one-stop marketplace for those interested in environmental practices, lifestyles, and careers was presented to an estimated 300 people who attended the Sustainability Fair at McCollum Park on July 29. The event was hosted by the Northwest Stream Center and featuring 21 different organizations.

For many, the highlight was a tour of the Northwest Steam Center nature trail. The organization restored a 20-acre site that had been a dump site and a parking lot into a pristine nature preserve Now the land is a wetlands park and education center. Visitors walked along an elevated half-mile trail with interpretive signs and informative docents explaining the habitat and many plants and animals that call it home.

The trout stream exhibit featured a clear panel that allowed visitors to see the stream from the perspective of the trout. Tom Murdock, executive director of the Adopt a Stream Foundation, said, "Lots of kids’ noses seemed to be glued to the Trout Stream Exhibit.,” said Tom Murdock, executive director of he Adopt a Stream Foundation. “We cleaned off a lot of nose prints.”

The Stream Center also serves to demonstrate solar power. Whidbey Sun & Wind installed solar panels at the center. Project Manager Mark Anderson was there to explain the system and tell visitors what to consider for their own residential solar systems.

"We are trying to introduce to people many different ways that they can be better stewards of their local watersheds,” Murdock told the visitors.

Those interested in community activism could sign up for events through the Everett chapter of 350.org. They provided a handout of ten ways to "immediately help the planet." Topics included transportation, waste management, and food.

Eric Adman, president of Sno-King Watershed Commission, demonstrated how to take and test water samples. Volunteer members have tested samples throughout King and Snohomish Counties. Adman said his organization has trained students how to test samples around their communities and how to communicate results to local government agencies. The Sno-King Watershed Commission has also been involved in legal actions to make sure water quality regulations have been enforced.

At the Project Harvest tent, Amy Johnson explained how volunteers connected fresh produce with 21 Snohomish County food banks. "Currently, we glean from farms after a harvest with what they feel they cannot sell," explained Johnson. She also said that they collected unsold food at farmers' markets in Everett and Lake Forrest Park.

Zsolt Pasztor explained how to grow food in small places. Pasztor provided information from the Farmer Frog tent with a working display of an indoor hydroponic vegetable garden and indoor fish tank. Pasztor, Operations and Maintenance Manager for Farmer Frog, said his goal was "to let people know they can grow their own food in the city if they want to, even in an apartment." Farmer Frog provides training to schools, residential garden design services, and a variety of commercial services. Commercial services include setting up living fences, urban farms, and rain gardens.

Chevrolet's challenge to Models of both the Bolt and Volt—Chevrolet’s response to the Tesla--were on display.

"They're actually starting to pick up quite a bit" said Everett Chevrolet sales representative Matt Dixen. Dixen said increased interest was the result of better performance and news about the roll out of the Tesla 3 electric car. Dixen touted the 238-mile range of the Bolt on a full charge and its roomy interior the leading selling points of the new vehicle.

For those on a budget, Puget Sound Energy provided home energy saving tips at their tent. Community Transit used the event to inform rate payers about rate and routes. Gardeners were treated to sustainable gardening and design options with materials from the WSU Extension, the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, and the Northwest District Beekeepers Association displays. Individuals wishing to investigate careers in environmental sustainability could find information on degree programs from the Cascadia College tent.

“Based on the positive public reaction to this event, the Adopt a Stream Foundation is considering a bigger Sustainability Fair in 2018,” said Murdock. Until then, a big part of the fair will still be open to visitors.

Located behind the WSU extension building at the south west side of McCollum Park, the Northwest Stream Center will be open to the public during August Thursday through Sunday. Hours will be from 10 am to 4 pm. "Here we are going to be teaching people how streams, and wetlands and forests, fish, wild life and people are all interconnected." said Murdock adding that the objective was to teach people how to be better stewards of their own wetlands.

Admission is required for tours. Prices range from $5 for Stream Foundation Members to $12 for guided tours for non-members. Children under 5 are free. Tours are also limited to no more than 30 people per half hour tour. Call 425 316-8592 to make a reservation.

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