Genesee Community College's Earth Club, Student Activities Office, and College Village are joining forces again with Cool Kids to produce the 7th annual Cool Kids! ECO-Fest – a fun-filled, educational event that increases awareness of important environmental issues while celebrating Earth Day.
All portions of the event are free and open to the public and scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 14 at the Batavia campus. Both indoor and outdoor activities will be happening throughout the four-hour event, which winds down with the Eco-Raffle of great green prizes, including the Grand Prize -- a 21-speed mountain bike provided by Adam Miller Toy & Bicycles. (You must be present to win.)
Many of the popular eco-opportunities will be back, such as collecting residential e-waste, worn American flags, rubber sneakers, plus the Inflation Station with Sloat Tires, as well as the Wildlife Educators Coalition and a full display of worldwide artisans' work from One World Projects.
But there are also be some new green alternatives to explore and enjoy.
The largest and perhaps most dynamic new Cool Kids! ECO-Fest program in 2012 will be the live demonstrations of the "BigFoot Baler" happening on the west end of campus. This massive piece of equipment will be taking "ag plastic," which is the bale wrap, vegetable row covers, and bunk silo covers delivered by local farmers, and compacting the waste into 1,000-pound bales. These will eventually be recycled into plastic film, fencing, picnic tables, benches and other molded plastic items.
Without recycling, agricultural plastics end up buried on farms and nurseries, burned, or taking precious space in landfills. The BigFoot Baler has been made possible through NYS DEC and Cornell University's Recycling Agricultural Plastics Project (RAPP).
For scheduling efficiency in the compaction process, Conservation District Manager George Squires asks that all farmers participating in "ag plastic" recycling call the Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation District Office at 343-2362 before April 14. The BigFoot Baler requires the plastic to be free of mud and manure; soils, forage and stone should be shaken off and smaller pieces that can be handled by one person are preferred. GCC student volunteers will assist with processing.
"Each year at Cool Kids! ECO-Fest, we try to introduce at least one major new initiative that explores the innovative facets of environmental sustainability," said Donna Rae Sutherland, Genesee's Earth Club co-advisor and associate director of Marketing Communications.
"Last year we began collecting worn American flags and demonstrating bird banding. Two years ago it was collecting rubber sneakers. This year, we welcome the BigFoot Baler! The annual Cool Kids! ECO-Fest leads the charge in helping everyone learn how they can play an important role, each and every day, in building a greener future. It's not hard. In fact it's fun and it really is 'way cool.' "
The bird-banding demonstration by Tom Klotzbach is also happening on the west side of campus near the college's Nature Trail. He is a local birding expert and researcher, as well as a GCC alumnus and employee. He is in the third year of a three-year bird-tracking project with more than 60 bird boxes located at GCC and on the western portion of the Ontario State Parkway.
The seasonal outdoor effort starts in early April when Klotzbach begins tracking various species of native and non-native birds. Through banding and biweekly nest box checks, Tom is collecting bird data such as age, sex, fat score and mass, which are used to study migration patterns with the U.S. Geological Survey.
The 7th annual Cool Kids ECO-Fest also includes more than 35 exhibits, presentations and activities, inside the college's forum and cafeteria. As in years past, hundreds of people of all ages are expected to attend the event enjoying environmental fun and educational opportunities, and the more green things they do – the more Eco-Raffle tickets they earn to increase their chances of winning the mountain bike.
Among the ways to earn Eco-Raffle tickets:
• Donating residential e-waste or electronics such as old computers, monitors, calculators, TVs, VCRs, stereo equipment, video games, and microwave ovens (No other kitchen appliances, please.)
• Donating paperbacks books for American troops overseas
• Donating worn American flags for proper disposal by Sheppard, Maxwell and Hale
• Getting your tire pressure checked by Sloat Tires Inflation Station
• AAA mercury hood lamp switch-out (for 2002 or older cars)
• Being an ECO-Fest volunteer
• Wearing green
From kites to water bugs to tree saplings, eco-tips to digging fossils, treasured trash time or battery tests -- it's all free at the 7th annual Cool Kids! ECO-Fest.
Genesee Community College is also excited about two other Earth Day celebrations this spring emphasizing its commitment toward a greener future.
• Street cleaning of R. Stephen Hawley Drive happens from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m., Thursday, April 12 with a post-cleaning pizza party sponsored by the college's Earth Club in the GCC cafeteria.
• "Pillage the Village" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10 is the end-of-year yard sale at College Village. The event is free and open to the public, and will be located near the Village Hall at College Village, 8170 Batavia-Stafford Townline Road in Batavia.
For further information on all college events contact Donna Rae Sutherland at 343-0055, ext. 6616, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Cool Kids! and the list of "allowable recyclables," call The Cool Hotline at 637-3984 or www.generationcool.biz.
For a video on recycling agricultural plastic go to: