Sustainability Day hosted by City, SEC
Whether it's changing to CFL bulbs or installing a rain water collection system, the City of Sonoma and the Sonoma Ecology Center are eager to help Valley residents find ways to be more sustainable in their regular life. That's why the city and the SEC have partnered to create Sustainability Day - a full day of workshops covering a wide variety of green topics, to be held July 9 at the Sonoma Garden Park. Best of all, the event is totally free.
"All of these workshops are for the beginner. They can get a taste of the topic and see if they want to explore more," said Julie Jehly, who is organizing the event for the Ecology Center.
The day begins at 10 a.m. and is made up of a series of short workshops that run through 4 p.m. When attendees get to the garden, they will be greeted by a whiteboard listing all of the workshops available (see sidebar for a complete list of workshops), along with their times and locations in the park. Attendees can decide which workshops seem most appealing, and can sit in for as many discussions as they like.
"It's all drop-in," Jehly said. "Each presentation is 30 minutes, with 15 minutes allotted for questions."
In addition to the workshops, each participant will get a raffle ticket to win a variety of goods donated by presenters and a grand prize of an environmentally friendly washing machine. The front-loading, Whirlpool machine is valued at $550.
"That's coming out of our water conservation program, we're very eager to get people saving water. Also, it (the washing machine) doesn't use any silver ion technology, which I guess is a good thing," Wendy Atkins laughed. Atkins is the stormwater coordinator for the City of Sonoma, and will be a speaker during several workshops throughout the day.
In addition, the Ecology Center's usual Harvest Market, which features seasonal produce and flowers grown right in the garden and collected by volunteers, will be extended to run the length of the day. Assemblymember Jared Huffman is expected to make a stop at the park to check out the workshops. Sonoma Chevrolet will also have a Chevy Volt, the latest in green automobile technology, on display for attendees to view.
On the second Saturday of each month, the Ecology Center hosts a native plant workday, inviting volunteers to the park to learn how to propagate native plants that are then used in the center's creek restoration efforts. The workday will take place from 9 a.m. to noon during Sustainability Day, complimented by several workshops on native plants, explaining how to use them in landscaping and the importance of habitat restoration.
"If you've always wondered what the native plant days are, you can pop in for 15 minutes or stay the whole three hours," Jehly said.
The workshop topics will run the gamut, from how to utilize grey water and the benefits of mulching, to ways to volunteer in the Valley and how one's diet can impact the environment. Jehly will be giving the workshop, "Home Energy Upgrades A-to-Z" that looks at a wide range of ways to save energy in the home.
"It's as small as changing your light bulbs to as large as installing solar panels," she said.
Atkins will discuss biking, including the city's master plan for making Sonoma easier to navigate on two wheels. She will also make a presentation on rain water collection systems, inviting speakers from the county's Permit and Resources Management Department to present during the workshop.
"They'll talk about the requirements of rain barrels on a county level in terms of permits," Atkins said, adding, "We'll talk about the City of Sonoma's requirements too."
A myriad of organizations will participate in the day's event, including the Sonoma County Water Agency, Sonoma County Parks, the Southern Sonoma County Resource and Conservation District and a variety of green vendors, many of whom will also have booths showcasing their products and services.
For more details, visit www.sonomaecologycenter.org or contact Jehly at 996-0712, ext. 115, or firstname.lastname@example.org.