Blue and Green Meetings


(This 993rd Buffalo Sunday News column was first published on April 4, 2010.)


Two outstanding conservation activities are upcoming on subsequent weekends in April. The first is Buffalo Waters, the 2010 Conservation Conversation sponsored by Adirondack Mountain Club's Niagara Chapter. It will be held at the Gateway Executive Offices next to Woodlawn Beach State Park from 8:30 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 10. The second is the Buffalo-Niagara Green Expo sponsored by State Senator Antoine Thompson's office. It will occur from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on April 17 in the Walden Galleria Mall. Both events are free.


What better topic for the ADK meeting than water, our increasingly important international resource. The outstanding speakers at the April 10 meeting on this topic will be Jerold Bestedo, Rachel Heckl, Theresa Hudson and Tim Tielman.


Bastedo, executive director of the Penn Dixie Paleontological and Outdoor Education Center, will provide a history of the up to one-mile deep glaciers that covered this area in four major advances, as well as an overview of the glacial impact on the Niagara Frontier and a possible scenario for the geological future of our community. Tielman, representing Campaign for Greater Buffalo, will share stories about the sometimes rough, sometimes glorious history of Buffalo¹s waterfront. Hudson will represent the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers for which she works. She will describe the Corps' extensive field work and its role in enforcing federal laws to protect our resources. Heckl from Great Lakes United will address the serious issues we face related to water conservation and water quality.


The April 17 Buffalo-Niagara Green Expo will be the second of these annual festivals with the number of exhibitors more than doubled. Months ago I sat in on the first meeting preparing for this event and I was impressed with the enthusiasm of the more than two dozen volunteers who would spend hundreds of hours preparing for it.


I had no idea that there were so many local organizations associated with "green" -- a.k.a. environmentally friendly – products, services and activities. This year over 100 will be exhibiting and every one on the long list looks interesting. They are loosely organized in the categories: Homes, Bodies, Gardens, Businesses, Careers, and Communities.


Volunteer Mary Fisher of Environmental Education Associates has been working closely with program director Bill Nowak. She gave me examples of the many activities. Here are a few of them:


Andy Leuth of Ken-Ton Middle School will operate a wind tunnel at which youngsters will have an opportunity to make devices to test in the air blast. The Community Action Organization will demonstrate its Hoop Houses, simplified greenhouses that extend the growing season for botanists and farmers. They will erect part of one that will later be placed outside the Buffalo Museum of Science.


Sherwin-Williams will demonstrate environmentally friendly paints and will provide chalkboards on which children can exercise their creative artistry. Kelly Davis is bringing her live alpacas. David Lansear will show how houses are built out of hay bales and Solar Liberty will demonstrate its energy systems that derive power from the sun. The Department of Labor will provide job counseling and those interested are invited to bring resumes. Among the openings will be those listed by Expo exhibitors.


The Himalayan Institute of Buffalo will be demonstrating Yoga and other paradigms of health and healing. RubberForm Recycled Products and Ashley Tool and Machine Company will show how materials like tires and concrete are turned into a wide range of products. Riverkeepers will display rain barrels painted by local schoolchildren and among the many conservation organizations that will be exhibiting will be the Olmsted Parks Conservancy.


Mark your calendars.-- Gerry Rising