STEM Rich 2011 EcoFest at GCC Coming Soon

March 14, 2011

Lily Walker, 4, of Bergen with a sapling from the 2010 EcoFest.

Teachers, students, and parents – mark your calendars now for one of the area’s COOLEST STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) events of the year!

The 6th Annual CoolKids! EcoFest will be held Saturday, April 9th from 10 am to 2 pm in the student forum and cafeteria  of Genesee Community College (One College Road, Batavia, NY)

Seem like a bit of a hike from Rochester? It is so worth it!

I attended the event last year and was blown away by the number of STEM related hands-on displays, activities, and educational presentations. 

This year’s event will feature approximately  forty-five booths as well as a free pizza party for all at 12:30 pm and an exotic wildlife show at 1 p.m. on the Cool Kids Stage.

The most eye-opening part of the festival for me last year was its E-Scrap Drive.  Approximately 30,000 pounds of recyclables were collected last year! Trucks, bins, and barrels were teeming with old computers and sneakers. The drive will be part of this year’s festival as well. 

You are encouraged to bring the following items to the festival to be recycled:

OLD ELECTRONICS (drive up service available – TVs cost $5 to recycle – no businesses or agencies can recycle)

The following electronics are free to recycle:

~ Computers, laptops and printers
~ Fax machines
~ Cash registers
~ Wiring
~ Phones – cell and rotary
~ Stereos
~ Microwaves
~ Rechargeable batteries
~ Calculators
~ Typewriters
~ Peripheral computer equipment— mouses, keyboards, cables, modems, external drives, etc.

OLD SNEAKERS  (no metal parts!) for Nike-Reuse-A-Shoe Drive!

Paperback BOOKS (no hardcovers–or Romance novels) for Operation Paperback!

For each recyclable you bring from the list above, you will earn a raffle ticket to win a mountain bike.

The massive E-Scrap Drive at the 2010 EcoFest.

You can also earn raffle tickets by getting a FREE tire pressure check with Dunn Tire of Batavia (and a free tire gauge) and by getting your car checked for a mercury light switch by AAA. 

These events will be held in the parking lot along with a huge display of alternative energy cars (hydrogen, ethanol, electric and vegetable oil)

Read more about last year’s Eco Fest in my STEM Blog Article from April 2010.

by Caurie Putnam, Coordinator, STEM Mentor Program


Down to a Science – Cool Kids EcoFests make Environmental Issues Fun!

April 19, 2010

Lily Walker, 4, of Bergen with a sapling from EcoFest.

Environmental science can be cool, creative, and fun—that was the message at the fifth annual Cool Kids EcoFest on April 17th at Genesee Community College. 

The EcoFest attracted 1,000 visitors to environmental displays and activities from over 50 green businesses and organizations—such as the Iroquois Nature Preserve, Braddock Bay Raptor Research, The Sierra Club, the Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, the NY Geographic Alliance, and the Wildlife Educators Coalition.    

Lily Walker, 4, of Bergen, most enjoyed the display by The Genesee County Soil and Water Conservation.  She gingerly cradled the free seedling the group gave her as her mother, Caroline, said she loved the event.  Walker learned about EcoFest from a flier the Byron Bergen school district sent home.  “It keeps the kids entertained while getting the message about the environment across to everyone,” Walker said.    

That is the precise goal of the EcoFest’s Director Steve Appleton.  Appleton created the event not just to make environmental issues appealing to children, but also to adults.  “Most kids are already in-tune with recycling and the environment, but this is to help the whole family learn that environmental stuff can be fun,” Appleton said, “I specifically made it an after school event to address parents—to bring them into their kids world.”    

Some displays parents seemed most drawn to were:  Cabot Cheese samples, giveaways of TOPS Friendly Markets and Monroe County Dept. of Environmental Science reusable bags, a Cadillac Escalade Hybrid display and a Mercury Switch-Out sponsored by AAA of WNY where AAA removed the mercury switch hood lamp from cars 2002 or older.    

Jeannette Elia, 12, of Bativia, demonstrating how to knit with plastic bags at EcoFest.

Appleton also drew in people of all ages with free raffle tickets  in exchange for donating e-scraps (such as old computers), old sneakers, and bottles and cans.  The tickets could be used to enter drawings for green prizes, like a mountain bike.  By the event’s end an astounding 26,000 pounds of electronic junk and 290 pairs of sneakers were collected for recycling.   

The lessons of EcoFest made an impression on all who attended, especially a group of future teachers.  The Genesee Community College Education Club staffed a “Let’s Morph – Butterfly Table.” Lauren Humphrey, an earth science major at GCC who will be transferring to SUNY Geneseo’s Geological Sciences program, learned some things she plans to apply to a future science classroom of her own.  “This is such a great event for earth science,” said Humphrey, “I’ve watched the kids get so excited planting seeds and getting their free seedlings…that stuff is real and makes the environment real to them.”   

Future teachers from the GCC Education Club at their Butterfly Table.

Appleton plans to hold a 6th EcoFest at GCC next Spring, however, if you can’t wait that long the 2nd Annual Cool Kids EcoFest in Corning is this coming weekend.  The Corning EcoFest will be held on Saturday, April 24th 2010 from 11 am to 3 pm at Corning Community College in Corning, New York.  For more information visit this link.  Cool Kids also sponsors free, GREEN themed performances in the Village of  Brockport on Friday nights during the Summer.  Bookmark The STEM Blog for more information and a summer schedule.

The massive E-Scrap Drive at EcoFest.

DJ Stephen Wright from WGCC with one of the bowls made from recycled records the organization was selling.