Weather adds oomph to EarthfestPublished 12:04am Sunday, April 21, 2013
NATCHEZ — It wasn’t as if residents needed an excuse to celebrate the earth Saturday.
Under bright sunny skies, overlooking one of the best river views the planet has to offer, the Natchez chapter of Gaining Ground Sustainability Institute of Mississippi offered at least 34 ways to think about the earth and sustainable living.
Vendors at the first Natchez Earthfest offered everything from recycled home furnishings and garden ideas to a solar-powered car and recycled art. And by the way, there was music and food, too.
“This being our first event, I am amazed at how the local people have stepped up to make a difference,” local chapter founder Mitzi Callon said Saturday morning.
“It’s all about awareness. That is the first step, and that is what we are doing today.”
Standing beside a crowd of people oohing and ahhing over her shiny Tesla Roadster, Carolyn Hegman couldn’t agree more. Carolyn and her husband, Will, of Mississippi Solar drive across the state in their electric car to make people aware of the benefits of solar energy and electric cars.
Before they left their house in Philadelphia, the Hegmans charged their car using electricity produced by their solar carport. When others are paying at the pump, the Hegmans are essentially driving for free, thanks to the sun.
The car can go from 0 to 60 mph in under four seconds and can travel 240 miles on a single charge. Using an adapter, the Hegmans can charge up at almost an RV park or charging station.
For those who could only dream of owning a Tesla, there were more down-to-earth options.
Representatives from the Green Alliance were showing innovative ways to recycle through art.
McLaurin School students created a wall of brightly colored flowers made from recycled soda bottles and paint.
“I got the idea from an Anthropologie store in Houston” McLaurin art teacher Mary Beth Wentworth said Saturday.
The display of flowers overlooked a table of autobiographies students from Frazier and McLaurin made by covering discarded library books with recycled bits of fabric, paper and plastic.
Morgantown School art teacher Anne Marie Bailey got a few ideas for a similar project she is doing in her eighth-grade art class.
“I like to teach my students that art can be made out of anything,” Bailey said. “It broadens their minds — recycling is like that.”
Heather Hodgson and her 10-year-old daughter Chloe were helping children broaden their minds by creating art out of plastic soda bottles,
Hodgson has lived in cities like Rochester, Minn., where recycling and sustainable design is practiced. The town uses energy from waste to produce heat for the public library and other buildings.
“It was great there, and I’d like to see (recycling efforts in Natchez) increased,” Heather said.