Riverland goes green

Published 4:46 pm Thursday, September 16, 2010

RE-fest, a collaborative project among local organizations to educate people about green living, will take place at Riverland Community College on Saturday, Sept. 18.

RE-fest stands for “rethink conservation, rethink clean energy and restore conservation.” The opening ceremony starts at 10:45 a.m., and exhibits/workshops start at 11 a.m. The workshops aim to teach people about energy conservation, renewable energy and other ways to preserve the Earth’s resources. These will be held inside RCC to accommodate the speakers and avoid any possibility of bad weather.

“The support from the college really helps and makes it a lot easier,” said Larry Dolphin from Friends of the J.C. Hormel Nature Center. “It also works well with RCC’s electrical program.”

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RCC’s electrical program teaches its students about the uses of our local wind energy as well as solar energy techniques. Dolphin said this, combined with wind and solar energy workshops, aims to get people looking at renewables.

Also at the event, exhibitors will display energy-friendly products; artisans will show and sell their works, and teens and adults will have opportunities to make pledges to go green.

To keep things fun for kids, the event will showcase musician Tom Pease, magic and puppetry by Jim Jayes and a keynote session by Randy Brock — chief meteorologist for KTTC. Some local food vendors will also be present. To attract more kids and families to the event, Pease has already been performing in local schools. Furthermore, Pease is a major advocate of clean energy and reflects it in his lifestyle.

RE-fest is supported by local organizations such as Austin Utilities, Owatonna Public Utilities, Friends of the J.C. Hormel Nature Center, Austin Parks and Recreation, Southern Minnesota Municipal Power Agency, KSMQ, KAAL, Izaak Walton League of America Austin Chapter and Riverland Community College. This is the third year that RCC will host RE-fest.