Did you do your part Tuesday to celebrate Earth Day?
There are many things a person can do to be more environmentally friendly and about 20 businesses and organizations displayed and demonstrated their earth-friendly products and ideas at the Earth Day Expo at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd.
The ideas were plentiful. They ranged from what a person can do to control stormwater runoff to buying lead-free fishing tackle to creating a rain garden.
The Thirty Lakes Watershed District and the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District sponsored the expo.
Marty Peish of the Thirty Lakes Watershed District said Central Lakes College sponsored the expo for years, but wasn't able to do it this year so the water district stepped up because it wanted to see the expo continue.
Kevin Johnson of K Johnson Construction in Sauk Rapids Tuesday demonstrated how water drains through pervious concrete products at the Earth Day Expo at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd. Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
"Natural resources are so important, especially with all our lakeshore and all the people who live here," said Peish.
Glen Gustafson, a member of the Thirty Lakes Watershed District Advisory Board, said "The main thing with the Earth Day Expo is to make people aware of the importance of keeping our lakes, rivers, streams and other waters clean and the importance of lakeshore reconstruction."
Gustafson said there are 53 lakes and other waters in the watershed district and it hasn't had to repair any of them. The watershed district works to enhance water resources and protects residents from flooding.
Carrie Maurer-Ackerman of the Crow Wing County Soil and Water Conservation District said the county's goal at the expo was to offer ideas of what people can do in their own home to be environmentally friendly. Maurer-Ackerman said ideas include creating a healthy yard by having birdhouses and feeders in place and growing native grasses, trees and shrubs to attract birds and beneficial insects. A source of water, like a bird bath also is a plus.
Construction and concrete businesses displayed products that help manage stormwater runoff.
Darrel Thomas of Anderson Brothers of Brainerd said it uses porous asphalt to control stormwater runoff. The water is absorbed through the surface and stored in a stone re-charge bed, which allows the water to infiltrate back into the soil.
Thomas said Anderson Brothers installed a stormwater runoff system called StormTech to the Kohl's Department Store parking lot in Baxter and more recently the new J.C. Penney store parking lot. The underground stormwater system has an absorption bed where chambers are connected by pipe that gather and store stormwater that gradually goes into the soil.
"These type of systems are becoming more popular because there is limited land for a stormwater pond and they utilize the space more efficiently," said Thomas.
Kevin Johnson of K Johnson Construction in Sauk Rapids demonstrated how water flows into driveways or parking lots made with pervious concrete products. Johnson said the concrete doesn't have any sand in it so the concrete allows water to drain through it and into the ground.
Johnson said pervious concrete works well around trees to allow them the space to grow.
"I've been using this product for two years and it's really starting to catch on," said Johnson.
Melanie Peterson of A.W. Research Laboratories in Brainerd showed a skeleton made of plastic Tuesday at the Earth Day Expo at the Westgate Mall in Brainerd. The skeleton was one of many items that students at Lowell Elementary School created from garbage.
Brainerd Dispatch/Steve Kohls» Purchase reprints of this photo.
Steve Mikkelson of the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency had various earth-friendly tips, from how to compost organic waste to how garbage burning can affect your health.
One of the things the MPCA was promoting at the Earth Day Expo was lead-free fishing tackle. Mikkelson encourages people to clean out their tackle boxes and add lead-free tackle to be more earth friendly.
"Lead from tackle poses an immediate problem to the wildlife, including loons, eagles and other waterfowl," said Mikkelson. "Lead is found in most fishing jigs and sinkers.
"More stores are beginning to sell the lead-free tackle. We hope the industry picks up on it. We do tackle exchanges at the fairs."
Mikkelson said people should not throw the lead fishing tackle in the garbage. It should be taken to a hazardous waste collection site.
The Crow Wing Food Co-op in Brainerd offered other Earth Day tips. April Beery of the Co-op said they sell many earth-friendly products, including laundry detergent, soap, reusable shopping bags, lotions and organic foods.
"We have a lot of regulars and new people who come in to see what they can do to be healthier," said Beery. "Everything we have is good for the environment."
JENNIFER STOCKINGER may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5851.
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