One mission of the Green Resource Center for Alabama is to “educate people on practical things they can do” for the environment, according to GRCA board member Audra Bean.
The GRCA, based in Homewood, will continue to pursue this mission when it hosts the fifth annual Clover Crawl Green Home and Garden Expo, a free event scheduled to take place at Vulcan Park, Saturday, March 31, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.
Attendees can eat, listen to live music, enjoy kids’ activities and check out beautiful views of the Magic City afforded by the park’s location high on Red Mountain.
They can get information and, in many cases, see demonstrations, of green products and services for the home, office and garden.
And they can learn how small lifestyle changes, such as beginning to recycle or save energy, can make a big difference.
“The ultimate goal is to inspire people to action,” Bean told Weld Local. “It’s all about baby steps. You start with recycling your newspaper. You get people involved in an easy practice. Then you combine it into everything you do – buying a home, energy efficiency.”
According to Michael Churchman, executive director of the Alabama Environmental Council (AEC), “It’s showing people there are simple steps that people can do in their daily life that will leave a better mark on the planet.”
“I think people generally want to do the right thing, and this event provides an outlet and a resource for people to find what would really work for them,” according to Bean, who, in addition to serving on the GRCA board, is director of public relations and marketing for Vulcan Park and Museum and serves as liaison between the GRCA and Vulcan in planning Clover Crawl.
Bean says that having so many vendors in one place is a plus for green consumers. “If it weren’t all in one place on one day, it would be harder to find all that information,” she said. “I think people want to do the right thing and the right thing for future generations.”
Clover Crawl will feature about 30 vendors and other eco-groups.
Among them will be Dixie HomeCrafters, which offers a range of “green” or eco-friendly choices in building materials; J3 Organics, which offers organic lawn care, including natural compost and soil amendments; Nature’s Tap, a water-conservation company that offers rainwater harvesting and greywater recovery systems; and Zkano Socks, based in Ft. Payne, Ala., which makes socks with organic cotton grown without pesticides and fertilizers.
New vendors this year will include Eco Three, which does residential energy audits; Shaklee Products, which says it created one of the first nontoxic, biodegradable cleaning products in the United States; LeafGuard of Alabama, which installs leaf guards and gutters and recycles the scrap aluminum when they remove old guttering; and Phoenix Energy, which does conversions that allow cars and trucks to run on compressed natural gas.
Phoenix will display a diesel truck and a Honda Civic GX, the only natural-gas vehicle commercially available in the United States. Clover Crawl is a great chance for Phoenix to raise its public profile in Birmingham, according to operations director Matt Hyde. “We want to establish a presence here, since a lot of people don’t know there is an alternative fuels company in Birmingham,” he told Weld Local. “We want to get more involved in our local market.”
The AEC will be at the event for the first time this year and will set up a recycling trailer for plastic, aluminum cans and miscellaneous paper.
The AEC will have a booth with information about recycling in Birmingham and around the state. “I think it helps continue to get the message out regarding recycling in the Birmingham metro area,” said Churchman. “It’s such a fragmented system. You can do something one place and not another.”
The AEC will soon install recycling trailers in 10 Jefferson County communities that lack curbside recycling programs, including Pinson, Gardendale and Pleasant Grove. According to Churchman, money for the trailers and some other initiatives came from the state-funded Recycle Alabama program.
Clover Crawl regulars Technical Knockout (TKO) and Cintas will return. TKO will accept virtually any electronic devices, except televisions, for recycling, while Cintas offers secure document destruction. In addition to such items as computers, copiers and cell phones, TKO will accept household items, including washers and microwaves.
And don’t worry about bringing too much stuff. “Everybody is clearing out for spring, and there’s no limit to how much you can bring,” Bean said.
Annie Damsky of Villager Yoga, which just opened in Mountain Brook two months ago, will be at Clover Crawl to teach family yoga and conduct kids activities. “We believe in a healthy lifestyle, and what yoga advocates, even away from the mat, is living a mindful life,” Damsky said, adding, “That can translate then into protecting your resources and living a lifestyle that impacts the earth less.”
The children’s activities at Clover Crawl will include Young Rembrandts, who teach kids how to make art from recycled material. “A lot of kids want that fresh sheet of white paper,” Bean said. “They teach them they can use newspaper or something that’s already been typed on to create a cool, funky piece of art to hang on the refrigerator.”
Shindigs Catering will have one of their food trucks at Clover Crawl, according to Bean. “It’s very fresh, very healthy,” she said.
Clover Crawl and Vulcan make a good match, according to Bean. “Three years ago, the GRCA asked if they could host the event here [and] we saw it as a great partnership, because we want to promote green things as much as possible,” she said. “We want to have people understand that Vulcan is forward-thinking, that we look to the future. The trend for non-profits, especially because of the economy, [is that] people are being challenged to collaborate. This is a great model to show how two non-profits can work together to benefit those organizations.”
The Clover Crawl Green Home and Garden Expo will be held Saturday, March 31, 10 a.m –4 p.m., at Vulcan Park and Museum, 1701 Valley View Drive. For more information, call (205) 933-1409 or go to www.visitvulcan.com or the GRCA site at www.greenalabama.org. Admission to the expo and park grounds is free. Regular admission applies to the Vulcan statue observation tower and museum (adults $6; seniors 65 and up $5; children ages 5-12 $4; kids four years and under admitted free).
Jesse Chambers is the editor of Weld Local and a contributing editor at Weld for Birmingham. Send your feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org.