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ESF Students to Teach Sustainable Skills

Sustainable Skill Share puts focus on eco-friendly living

By Karin Dolinsek

Members of the Central New York community will have an opportunity to learn hands-on how to lead more eco-friendly lives at Saturday's Sustainable Skill Share.

Students from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry are partnering with the Syracuse Center of Excellence to host the event.

The goal is to engage the Syracuse community in sustainable living practices through workshops taught by local experts, said Sarah Martin, logistics contact for the ESF Community Coalition. Some of the workshops include backyard composting, bike repair, spirituality and sustainability, and hydroponic gardening, she said.

The first workshops will start at 11 a.m. and workshops will run until 4 p.m. The event is free and open to people of all ages.

"With these free workshops, people can try new things they may have wondered about before or learn a new skill," Martin said.

The event will also host a visitor from the Out of the Cage Animal Mobile, a traveling petting zoo, Martin said. Several local organizations and businesses -including the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency, Save The Rain and the Syracuse Peace Council - will table at the event. Local businesses will donate food for a snack table, Martin said. There will also be some children's activities for kids too young to appreciate the skill-shares, she said.

The event is part of ESF's Environmental Communications Workshop, which hosts a public event each year, Martin said. This is the first Sustainable Skill Share, and for the event, the group chose a name that would emphasize the relationship between ESF and the Syracuse community, Martin said.

Alex Knoth, a sophomore environmental law and policy major at ESF, said she thought the event was a good idea.

"It promotes being green and also lets people in the community learn new things," Knoth said.

The ultimate goal is to introduce sustainable living in a fun and engaging way, Martin said. The group invited people from many backgrounds and professions who will be participating in the event and is hoping to appeal to a greater audience, Martin said.

"We want to show that there are many ways to be green, most of which are fun, easy and can save money, too," Martin said.

Students chose the CoE as the venue because it represents the eco-friendly goals of the group and can hold a large-sized public event.

"It's really a perfect place because it's so green," Martin said. "They were willing to host the event, so that's how we chose it as our venue."

The CoE was happy to host the event because it supports the center's mission of encouraging environmentalism and educating the community to create sustainable environments, said Khris Dodson, communications and program manager for the CoE.

"The center sees itself as a positive and accessible part of the community," Dodson said. "With this event, we try to provide education on simple sustainable activities like backyard composting and cooking with local ingredients."

This article was published originally April 11, 2011, in the Daily Orange, Syracuse University's student newspaper.