Popular workshops focus on benefits of going green

By: Megan Thomas
August 16, 2008

Chandler is holding several eco-improvement classes and workshops at its Environmental Education Center as part of efforts to create a more environmentally friendly community.

City officials have been trying to encourage home and business owners to become more environmentally proactive through offering tax incentives and rebates for energy efficient products and landscaping.

The city opened its Environmental Education Center, a green facility, at Veterans Oasis Park in April to educate residents about the environment and how to protect earth’s resources.    

The education center has been holding a series of green-living classes to give everyday people the knowledge they need to be more considerate of their environment while teaching them beneficial habits that can improve various aspects of their lives.

The series encompasses everything from environmentally friendly child rearing and healthy local eating to collecting rainwater and starting a backyard compost.

The first of its green workshops was well-received by the community, according to officials. The workshop, Green Remodeling 101, was held July 12 and provided residents methods to make their homes more resource-efficient.

Jeff Frost, the workshop leader and co-owner of a.k.a. Green, said that if many citizens made small improvements to their energy consumption and living habits, it would greatly benefit the environment.

“Really small things can have a huge, huge difference…being green isn’t about being an environmentalist, it’s just good business,” Frost said.

Participants learned how to reduce energy and water usage, improve indoor air quality, and incorporate eco-friendly materials into their homes. Matt Dawson, assistant naturalist at the center, said the workshop drew in people from both Chandler and neighboring cities.

“I think it shows a lot of interest in green programs...we wanted to share with the public how they could turn their homes into green buildings as well,” Dawson said.

“The program was scheduled for three hours and it went over by 45 minutes because (Frost) had so much to share and most people stayed for all of it.”

Dawson agreed that the small actions people take to conserve can have a large impact. He said the center helps people take the small steps necessary to become better citizens of Earth. 

“We definitely believe you don’t have to change your entire lifestyle to be green,” said Dawson.“ There are a lot of things you can do just by changing your habits.”

Dawson said he hopes the center can continue to hold many more workshops and classes in the future that can address people’s various environmental interests.

“[Green Remodeling 101] went pretty well and I hope we can do more workshops like it,” Dawson said. “We passed out a customer satisfaction card and it was pretty much ‘excellents’ across the board.”

Classes will be offered over the next several months. You can learn more about the center and its upcoming green classes and workshops by calling (480) 782-2890 or by visiting http://www.chandleraz.gov/default.aspx?pageid=682 . A list of the Environmental Education Center’s classes is available at: http://www.chandleraz.gov/Content/environmental_nature_programs.pdf .




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