By Brittany Ward
July 23, 2018

This Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, LES’s eighth annual Sustainable Living Festival will be taking place in The Railyard. For those attending the farmers’ market, it is the perfect time to learn how to be environmentally responsible and have fun doing it. Member’s from the community are invited to come down and educate the Lincoln community on how to live more sustainably.

Communication Specialist, Rachel Barth, shares what she’s most excited for this weekend, “45 community partners coming together in one location for 4 hours on a weekend! It truly is the beauty of Lincoln and what a neat and family- and eco-friendly community it is. My favorites include seeing our line technicians teach about electrical safety and our kids try their hand at our little lineworker rodeo. I really like chatting with Higher Level Happiness about their vision for a large, expansive Lincoln-community treehouse; as well as (making) seed balls for kids to spread and grow native plants to attract butterflies and other pollinators. The UNL Bee Lab will have live bees and cool information about this insect.”

If you’ve attended the festival in previous years you may recognize some past vendors with new and fun interactive activities. The new bike-share program, Bike LNK, will also be out there to explain the program and will bring some bikes to test out. For those who have been attending the Stransky Park Concert Series, you’ll recognize the ArtReach Project and they  will be in attendance with some surprises.

Barth shares some exciting things happening in Lincoln and at the festival, “New programs with LES include Paperless Billing, Electrical Vehicle study and Peak Rewards program. Our community partners are bringing new programs to Lincoln and will be on hand to talk about them. You might even get to experience what might be Lincoln’s largest recycled kaleidoscope.”

People will also be able to closely look at electric vehicles such as the Chevy Bolt, Nissan Leaf and Teslas. There will be someone present to tell you how you can recycle all electronics. Attendees can also have your questions and curiosities answered about composting at home and find out how LES is using renewable energy to power our community.

Last year’s festival was a big success with high expectations this year. “The festival is high-energy (pun intended); with hands-on activities and learning for kids to adults. Turn out is always exceptional and continues to grow. We had approximately 700 festivalgoers last year and we expect at least that, this year,” said Barth. “It was CRAZY, last year, when people were flooding Canopy Street and I was giving away our reusable bags. I remember people smiling and thanking us for the education. It’s simply a fun way to spend the Saturday morning.

Below is a list of the partners that will be having interactive activities and learning experiences this weekend.

Cycling and Transport partners:   Bike LNK, Wheelie Good Bike Shop, Lincoln Parks & Recreation, HVCcycle and Great Plans Bicycling Club

Education Partners: University of Nebraska State Museum – Morrill Hall, Joslyn Institute for Sustainable Communities, Lincoln Children’s Museum, Nebraska Ethanol Board, Circle Me, ArtReach Project, Nebraska811 and Sustain UNL

Recycling and Compost partners:   Big Red Worms, Black Market LNK, City of Lincoln Recycling and Solid Waste, Nebraska Building Products, Nebraska Recycles, Nebraska Recycling Council and UNL Environmental Studies Program

Plants and Animals: Lincoln, Nebraska Watershed Management Division, Clean Air Lawn Care Lincoln, CommonGround Nebraska, High Level Happiness, Lancaster County Extension Master Gardeners, Keep Lincoln and Lancaster County Beautiful, Monarch Gardens LLC, Pioneers Park Nature Center, Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center, Arbor Day Foundation, UNL Bee Lab and Community Crops.

In addition to learning and having fun, enter to win a free adult or children’s bike from Wheelie Good Bike Shop or a smart thermostat. If you haven’t ever had solar-cooked popcorn, Saturday is your day to try it out.

Tune in tonight at 6 p.m. for “Our Streets”, Barth will be on air talking about the festival as well.

For more information, go to the website or Facebook.

Tune into Our Street, Monday 23, 2018, 6-6:30 p.m. to hear an interview about this event.

Brittany Ward is an editorial intern with KZUM.