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Nature’s Best By Elma Chapman - Food Music And Nature!

EnviroFest is coming soon. It’s a joint project of WVPE 88.1 and the Elkhart Environmental Center. It showcases ways to help the natural environment through knowledge of sustainability issues, reducing waste, and recycling. It’s been going on for several years, and each year it gets better.

There is always a live band and this year it will be “The Everyday People Band.”  There will be numerous displays from conservation organizations, energy companies, recycling companies, natural product companies, natural food co-ops, nature centers, parks, crafts from recycled goods, and food and beverage vendors.

There is also a show for kids at 6 and 8 p.m. featuring Dr. I. C. Coldwater. His demonstration is a great way to learn more about water resources in this area. As one participant put it, the Dr. I.C. Coldwater presentation seems like “…a mixture of a three-ring circus, medicine show and science rolled in together.” Ideal for kids and great for adults, this program provides numerous opportunities for wonder, laughter, and just a little bit of science and physics.

Last year when I attended there were 53 exhibitors. One of the crafts that impressed me the most was a purse made out of yarn and pop-top tabs. It really was cute, and you couldn’t tell what it was made from until you got quite close to it. Re-purposing things to keep them out of landfills is always a good idea!

A very helpful handout came from the U.S. Coast Guard. It promoted boat safety and we were given a free “Vessel Identification Sticker” for canoes, kayaks or rowboats. These things have a tendency to drift away, especially in storms, and when an unmanned one turns up, it can cause local emergency agencies to initiate a search and recovery mission in case someone had capsized. But if the name and a phone number are visible, they can first try to contact the owner and find out if there is indeed an emergency or just a loose canoe.

Other booths that I particularly liked were the Audubon Society’s booth which distributed a “Guide for a Healthy Backyard and Beyond”; The Nature Conservancy’s booth that was devoted to native versus invasive plants with free brochures about what NOT to plant, as well as what to plant; and Bike Elkhart with information on trails and routes throughout the county.

EnviroFest is held at the Wellfield Botanic Gardens at 1011 North Main Street in Elkhart. It’s a lovely facility on Christiana Creek. The gardens are beautifully maintained with a wide variety of flowers, and there are sculptures along the paths and paved walkways. If you’ve never gone, they are worth a visit alone even when there is no festival occurring there.

EnviroFest admission is $5 per person, the same as a visit to the gardens any other time, but if you are a member of WVPE or the Wellfield Botanic Gardens, the admission is free. This year’s event is Friday, July 11, from 5:30-9 p.m. I hope to see some of you there!