“Going Green Matters” – Year 14, Better than Ever

Turn over a New Leaf, do something sustainable

It was a glorious day, clear, bright and warm for March 8th and perfect to attract enthusiastic attendees to Going Green Matters, the biggest local environmental event of the year. “Trees: Back To Our Roots”  was the theme for this year’s event, the 14th year.  Featuring more than 100 exhibits on trees and a wide variety of environmental topic, it was well organized, interesting, and a great place to meet new people and share ideas. Each year, following this major event, Go Green Wilmette President, Beth Drucker, gathers ideas from members and from attendees about what went well and what did not and from this begins building the event for the following year and each year, it improves. This year was superb.  People were enjoying what might be the last opportunity to connect as a community, given reports of event closures.

Parking cars on a gorgeous day

The event which was co-sponsored by the Village of Wilmette took place at the Michigan Shores Club,  which generously shared their beautiful venue. Highlights included the many tree-related exhibits; Green Family Makeover; Community Solar Corner; updated model sustainable home; booths on reducing waste, exploring nature, gardening, and electric cars; student exhibits; and many GGW Eco-Stations located throughout the fair.

I enjoyed the Go Green Café and thought that the green Conversation Corner tables were a brilliant idea.  I was so busy inside that I never made it outside to compare the best electric vehicles at the beach parking lot and had no bike to drop off for recycling with Working Bikes.

As I explored the various locations and exhibits, I had the opportunity of chatting with both attendees and exhibitors.  Everyone had happy expressions. Relaxing near the Go Green Café were Kristin Merrill who was looking for ways to be more sustainable. She was chatting with Pamela Paulsrud who has a website about trees and artwork , and was looking for information on sustainability and trees.

Miles Gratz and his girlfriend Katie Friedman were at one of the three Conversation Corners.  They volunteer through Greenest Region Corps.

As I wandered into one of the other rooms, I saw Amber Brown and Eddie Oketanna,who were representing Nicor Gas, answering questions, and giving out kits containing weather stripping and more.

Enid Smith’s “Simple Swaps for Low Waste Living” was especially impressive.  Enid was sharing what she does at home.  She has achieved what many of us try to do- remove plastics from our environment.  This is hard to do. Her Instagram

Trinity Pierce had a large and lovely booth where she is part of the Chicago Region Trees Initiative based out of the Morton Arboretum

Nina Potcher  displayed a fashionable, top that she made from scraps. The focus of her booth was to show the impact of fast fashion materials and how to be a more sustainably – oriented, conscientious consumer.

I chatted briefly with Rachel Eppler who was representing Sierra Club’s Illinois Chapter, which is committed to passing the Clean Energy Jobs Act. This act will ensure 100% carbon neutral energy by 2050.

Stephanie Van Winkle, Ambassador, Alliance for the Great Lakes Organization displayed a book about the Great Lakes.  The organization advocates for the survival and health of the lakes against problems such as invasive species, plastics and agricultural runoff.

The One Earth Film Festival is currently taking place and Monica Fox was answering questions about the festival. She strongly recommended that I come to see the film at the Wilmette Theater on Saturday, March 14th at 3:00. Here is the schedule.

Beth Drucker, President of Go Green Wilmette has been very active in encouraging other Chicago suburbs to establish “Go Green” groups. She was talking with Margaret Goss. Go Green Illinois

Anne Nagle’s booth was in line with her passion- Great tree stories of Wilmette, “Root Yourself in Wilmette History”. Baseball bats were displayed.

Wilmette Public Library’s Down Under had a great booth taken care of by Linda and Rick Rubens.  Sales from Down Under support Wilmette Public Library programs.  I purchased a gorgeous book about flowers, and I love it.

Arborsmith Ltd is dedicated to the preservation and care of trees.  At the booth there were lovely tree pins.  If you have tr ee questions, Lesley or Bruce Smith may be able to help.

One booth shared information on upcoming Go Green Wilmette sponsored events that include the “Native Plant Sale” on Saturday, May 9th at West Park 3555 Lake Avenue, Wilmette from 9 to noon, and the very special summer event when Go Green Wilmett presents “A Local Tour of Sustainable yards on July 19th from 9 to noon.

As I considered leaving, I noticed a poster with wild animals – a skunk, a wolf and so on. Bernice Valantinas was speaking with Ilanah Taves  and when she was through, I asked about skunks because we had some in our yard in the spring.  Talking with Ilanah a bit more, I learned that she is a second-year student at the University of Cambridge working on a PhD in Geography.  She is studying urban geography, specifically the human-wildlife interface in cities.  Here dissertation work focuses on human responses to urban coyote adaptation with special attention to the city of Chicago, where she grew up.  I think this topic is fascinating.

Visit the Go Green Wilmette website to find out about upcoming events, and mark you calendar for Going Green Matters, returning in March 2021.

Photos: B. Keer

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