Thinking green: Here's what to expect for this month's Rochester EarthFest
There are myriad aspects to climate health. With its second annual EarthFest, Rochester is covering those bases.
You’ll find events part of the festival all over town the week of April 18-24, including the Rochester Public Library, Quarry Hill Nature Center, Assisi Heights and Central Park. The week culminates in an exhibition at Mayo Civic Center on Sunday, April 24, with vendors and speakers, including keynote speaker Mary Ann Hitt, director of Sierra Club Beyond Coal.
“I think it’s a really good assortment of topics,” said event organizer Mary Idso. “There are four in each classroom for a total of 12 speakers, and then our keynote speaker is at 1 p.m.
The event’s theme is based on Mayor Ardell Brede’s 2015 proclamation that Rochester would rely on 100 percent renewable energy by 2031. One of the expo sessions is a panel on how we can accomplish that.
Some of the other sessions are on farm-to-table practices, solar energy and Mayo Clinic’s Green Team. Additionally, you’ll find set up exhibitors set up around the Civic Center such as We Bike Rochester, Minnesota Children's Museum of Rochester and environmental nonprofits. Students from the local high schools will present projects in the expo as well.
Plus, there will be a very special guest. “Hanna Elshoff will be there with her solar E.L.F. bike,” Idso said. “She did a cross-country trip last year and drew a lot of media for it. She’s from Eyota. Last year she was getting ready for the trip and now she’s completed it, so I’m sure she’s got lots of stories about it.”
The expo is free and open to the public.
Idso said she’s pleased with the variety of discussions scheduled. “I think a lot of people want to come and talk about a lot of things, and figure out these different segments that can appeal to the public,” she said.
Other events going on during the week include:
EarthFest Rally and Climate March at Central Park, April 23 at 10 a.m. “We’ll have free coffee and doughnuts starting at 9:30, then at 10 we’ll have a couple speakers, and we’ll march around town with posters,” Idso said, “just down Broadway over a block or two and then back up to Central Park.”
Every Day is eARTh Day at the Rochester Public Library Art Room, featuring Go Green! Teen Crafternoon on April 19 and Earth-based storytimes for young children throughout the week.
Art in the Sky Exhibit, featuring posters made by Bamber Valley Elementary School fourth-grade students in the Skyway between the Civic Center and Doubletree Hotel. The posters are themed “How do you enjoy and take care of the Earth?”
Pub Crawl, April 23 starting at 1 p.m. Stops will be CB3 Burgers and Brews, Kinney Creek Brewery, and Forager, back by popular demand!
Earth Day Extravaganza Open House at Quarry Hill Nature Center, April 22 at 4 p.m. Test your animal knowledge and make the best choices to help you “survive” all the way to the end of the trail. Go for a hike and help clean up the park. There will also be live animal programs featuring Minnesota’s “Most Want-ed” (animals in need of protection); the Blanding’s Turtle & the Timber Rattlesnake.
Net Zero Home Tour at Mary and Ivan Idso’s home, 107 11th St. NW, April 22 from 4-6 p.m. According to Mary Idso, they aren’t quite done but are well into the process of becoming net-zero emissions.
The Med City Beat is a proud sponsor of EarthFest.
About Brita Moore: Brita is a native of Seattle and moved to Rochester in 2015. She works as a magazine editor and freelance journalist, and she plays the cello in various groups around town. In her spare time, you will find her making jewelry or cheering on the Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, and Storm from afar. Twitter.
(Cover photo: 2015 / Rochester EarthFest)