Under a cloudless sky, Arlington’s fifth annual Ecofest was a day full of education, eco-friendly giveaways and family activities at Founders Plaza and Levitt Pavilion in downtown Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 21, 2013.
Events ranged from learning about ecofriendly products and services from local vendors to free gardening classes and musical entertainment. Kids took part in a host of activities, such as interacting with animals at a petting zoo, learning the ins and outs of cycling at Bike Safety Town and skateboarding at Sk8 Zone.
Dustan Compton, Conservation Program Coordinator in Arlington’s Water Utilities Department, hoped that attendees would walk away with concrete ways to save energy, save water and save money.
For instance, Compton helped residents exchange old showerheads for more efficient ones that only put out only two gallons of water per minute. Low-flow showerheads not only help people save money on their water bills but they also cut back on energy consumption because there are using less hot H2O.
“We’re not asking people to change their behavior, like taking shorter showers – which is, of course, great – but this is a quick, technological fix,” Compton pointed out.
Along similar lines, Ecofest volunteer Maneesh Roberts educated people at the Arlington Conservation Council tent, which featured simple home improvement projects that offered a total of about $1,000 in water and energy savings.
“A few people have realized the details they’ve missed,” he said, after explaining how little cracks around doorframes and windows can add up to a large gaping hole in a house. Homeowners have the potential to save up to $100 a year by caulking these cracks or installing weather stripping.
Patrick Shortall, Arlington resident of 10 years, came to the free festival to take part in the Make A Rain Barrel Class where participants learned about the device’s benefits before assembling theirs to take home. The cost for the barrel was a steal – only $10 for citizens.
“I thought it would be interesting to see how we can save money,” Shortall said. “We also want to try to be little bit more self-sustaining.”
Rain barrels allow homeowners to capture rainwater, the type of hydration plants prefer, to use at a later time. Besides conserving the City’s water supply and saving residents money, utilizing rain barrels also reduces flooding, erosion and surface water contamination.
Besides rain barrels, some attendees like Arlington High School junior Juana Escobedo left the event with one of 1,500 trees that were given away at no cost.
While the event attracted those who wanted to learn about ecofriendly habits, products and improvements, not everyone there planned on attending. Emilee Bailey, who recently moved to Arlington, was on her way to the farmers market with her two children when she saw the festival and decided to take a look.
“We walked through the [vendor] booths and signed up for things. The kids played and got balloon animals. We listened to music. It’s been a nice morning,” she said with a smile on her face.