Halton Eco Festival

17TH ANNUAL HALTON ECO FESTIVAL
An Environmental Fair for Healthy Living, Biodiversity and a Sustainable Future
at the Glen Abbey Community Centre, 1415 Third Line, Oakville, L6M 3G2
Saturday, April 29, 2017 from 10am to 4pm

Organized by the:
Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights (OCCPEHR),
P.O. Box 52007, Oakville, ON L6J 7N5, (905) 849-5501,  info@oakvillepeacecentre.org

REPORT ON THE 2017 HALTON ECO FESTIVAL

Earth Week was celebrated at the 17th annual Halton Eco Festival on Saturday, April 29 at the Glen Abbey Community Centre in Oakville.

The Halton Eco Festival is a fun, interactive and educational event that families and individuals really enjoy. There were about 800 people in attendance.

You can here download a copy of the 2017 Halton Eco Festival poster.

This one-day environmental fair has been organized by the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights (OCCPEHR) every year since 2001.

HEF2014

The Halton Eco Festival is one of Ontario’s longest-running environmental fairs.

In 2017, the event was sponsored by Conservation Halton, Halton Region Public Works, the Town of Oakville’s Environmental Policy Department, and Niagara Escarpment Views.

The Halton Eco Festival gives people a good idea about the various ways they can participate in improving their health and our community’s environment.

“We are pleased that this community event is raising greater awareness about the importance of the natural environment as it encourages Halton Region residents to become more environmentally sustainable. It has succeeded by promoting healthy living, biodiversity and the belief in a sustainable future,” remarked Stephen Dankowich, author of this report and OCCPEHR co-founder and executive director since 1992.

SURVEY OF VISITORS AND THEIR #1 ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUE

Visitors were greeted by OCCPEHR Board Member Don Meade who asked everyone to tell him what their number one environmental issue or concern is.

The results of Don’s survey have been tabulated and the top three issues for event visitors were pollution, climate change, and biodiversity. Other issues cited and in order of prominence included public transit, overpopulation, urban sprawl, genetically modified food (GMOs), water, energy, air quality, trees, animal rights, road noise, and Fukishima.

Music by Sahaja Yoga Meditation

YOGA PRESENTATIONS

Sahaja Yoga Meditation presented a group yoga demonstration and conducted individual meditations throughout the day. This phenomenal organization has partnered with the UNESCO Centre for Peace and provides free weekly classes every Friday night at the Glen Abbey Community Centre. They also have  organized various public cultural events for the benefit of the Halton community during the past eleven years.

MANY ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AND PARENTS

Children really enjoyed visiting several booths located in the “Kids Eco Fun Zone” as they participated in arts and crafts, planted a seedling, made a seed bomb, learned about tree climbing and summer camps, and held a snake with Sciensational Sssnakes!! .

Everyone will now know you have a green thumb after planting a seedling at the Books With No Bounds booth staffed by Julia Mogus. This Oakville-based group collects books to promote literacy in aboriginal communities and has been the recipient of many well deserved awards. Your new or used books are always welcomed by them.

Andrew Swannell of Tree Climbing Canada encouraged children and parents to get out into nature and climb trees. TCC’s programs assist kids to learn how to safely hang out in trees!

At the Oakvillegreen booth organized by Guiliana Casimirri, children made seed bombs using seeds of native species of flowers and grasses rolled into a clay ball. Visitors took their seed bombs home with them to be planted in their garden. Kids cannot wait to see what grows!

Appleby College has developed an exceptional program of activities and learning for children at their summer camps. Visitors were encouraged to register their kids from a long list of weekly educational programs available.

Sciensatioanal Sssnakes! 2

Sciensational Sssnakes!! is a fantastic Guelph-based organization that does hands-on education about reptiles and amphibians. Their show features an informal lecture about the animals, their ecology and conservation issues as well as the opportunity to interact, touch and hold the animals. The live animals are safe, friendly and easy to handle; families took memorable photographs of little, loved ones holding a snake! Owner Jenny Pearce greatly appreciated the opportunity to introduce kids and parents to her collection of delightful snakes again this spring at the Halton Eco Festival.

SPONSORS HAD LOTS TO SHARE

Halton Region Public Works distributed hundreds of free orange boxes to visitors with a limit of one per family. Orange boxes are the same size and shape as blue boxes however the orange boxes are used for holding your household hazardous waste prior to taking it to the waste depot on Bronte Road. Staff members including Jasna Filipovic shared their many resources and expertly answered questions people had regarding their significant public services and responsibilities.

The Town of Oakville’s Environmental Policy Department had information about a variety of issues including air quality, climate change, community and corporate sustainability, energy, environmental stewardship, land, monitoring, water, wildlife and biodiversity. The department shared information about Oakville’s environmental footprint and had many suggestions how to reduce our impact on the environment. As well, they were promoting the Town’s “Keep Calm and Adapt” event about emergency and extreme weather preparedness being held the Saturday after the Halton Eco Festival at the QE Park Cultural Centre.

Conservation Halton is an environmental agency that protects, restores and manages the natural resources in its watershed. CH has developed climate change programming and were pleased to receive people’s input into it at the Halton Eco Festival. In front of a new incredibly well-designed and good looking booth, Norm Miller and staff suggested visitors obtain a membership pass to their many regional parks so you can readily escape into nature all year long.

Niagara Escarpment News is a high quality magazine distributed all along the Niagara Escarpment at select outlets. This quarterly publication features outstanding photography by Mike Davis and super interesting articles written by editor Gloria Hildebrandt, both in attendance to share stories with visitors. People were welcome to receive a recent copy at the Halton Eco Festival and encouraged to subscribe so they will never miss reading an issue. Receiving this magazine by mail, you can keep it on your coffee table so others can enjoy it too!

OCCPEHR Booth 2

EDUCATIONAL BOOTHS AND KNOWLEDGEABLE REPRESENTATIVES

There were twenty-five educational booths on the arena floor. These booths were staffed by knowledgeable representatives of various businesses, local community groups, governmental departments and health care providers with an environmental focus.

The POWER booth was staffed by Diane Watkins and Leslie Adams. Protect Our Water and Environmental Resources is a Halton Hills-based group which is now focused on the issue of dealing with invasive species. As POWER teaches us, there is less biodiversity when the amount of invasive species increases.

Solar Ontario designs and installs solar swimming pool heating systems, solar water heating systems and solar electric systems in southern Ontario with 40 years of experience. This Oakville-based small business is ready to help you start saving money and reducing your impact on the environment.

The Association for Canadian Educational Resources (ACER) is dedicated to educating communities to monitor and take ecological action in response to climate change. Alice Casselman showed visitors how to measure a tree and how to protect them.

Daryl Houghton of the Bronte Creek Project shared information of their high school program dedicated to creating effective environmental leaders. With the BCP, high school students receive an incredible outdoor education.

The Physicians for Global Survival are committed to the abolition of nuclear weapons and all the harmful effects of the nuclear fuel cycle. PGS are members of ICAN, the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, and Dr. Barbara Birkett showed a short video on her computer screen highlighting ICAN’s strategies and tactics for winning a world free of nuclear weapons. The local Oakville ICAN Chapter is comprised of peace activists who are mobilizing the community’s involvement via petitions, speakers, Hiroshima vigils, contacts with area politicians and appeals. A petition regarding the upcoming June 15-July 7 United Nations negotiations for a treaty to ban nuclear weapons was circulated at this booth.

Several visitors remarked how pleased they were that a new group was recently formed in our region, the Council of Canadians – Halton Chapter. Founded in 1985, the Council of Canadians is Canada’s leading social action organization, mobilizing a network of 60 chapters. They advocate for clean water, fair trade, green energy, public health care, and a vibrant democracy. Their mission is to educate and empower people to hold governments and corporations accountable.

Veronique of the Oakville-based Eagle Chiropractic Health and Wellness Circle attended to let people know their goal is to achieve optimal health and wellness for all ages utilizing chiropractic care, orthotics, massage therapy, holistic nutrition and yoga.

Fair Vote Canada’s Halton Chapter attended to promote proportional representation as a replacement for the first-past-the-post voting system currently in place in Canada. Dan Griffin and other volunteers advocated for a healthier democratic process and expressed their profound disappointment in the Trudeau government’s recent rejection of proportional representation as they promised in the 2015 election campaign from their booth at the Halton Eco Festival.

In-Line Family Chiropractic specializes in family wellness and corrective care and offered free spinal check-ups for visitors at the event. Using a plaster cast model of the human spine, people learned a lot about pain in the back, neck and elsewhere and how to take better care of ourselves.

The Safety Division of the Oakville Fire Department attended to share information about protecting your family from the risk of fire in your home. Visitors found it important to learn more about common sense practices as well as more technical questions regarding the prevention of fires. In addition, they showcased an electric car now driven by the fire department.

The Oakville Provincial Liberal Association displayed their bright red canopy-topped booth and answered questions regarding how their party is attempting to pursue its goal of a stronger and more caring Ontario. Representatives of Team Kevin Flynn (Oakville MPP and cabinet minister) distributed bags while encouraging participation in the Ontario political system.

At the What’s Good-Wellness By Design booth, Katrina and Charleston Dollano and Kim Tran encouraged visitors to also visit their practice located in the Trafalgar Village Mall across from the Oakville GO Station. Developing a novel approach connecting food with health care, they are engaged in the fusion of balanced nutrition, mind and body with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) food cures, Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture and chiropractic care.

Eco JeopardyECO JEOPARDY AND OTHER FEATURES AT THE HALTON ECO FESTIVAL

Another fun feature at the event is participation in Eco Jeopardy.  The game challenges your knowledge of environmental issues and Halton Region and is an inventive re-creation of the popular television show.

Festival goers grabbed a snack or meal and relaxed with a hot or cold beverage at our Eco Cafe food booth. We served the best tasting somozas and pakoras in Halton Region, yummy vegetarian and cheese pizzas from Panago Pizza on Cornwall Road, and sumptuous muffins from Whole Foods Market.

Upon free entry, visitors were invited to fill out a ballot to win door prizes gifted throughout the day. Prizes included a $60 bike helmet from Cyclepath, a $250 Bluetooth speaker from Cogeco, environmental books and a $100 bird feeder from Wild Birds Unlimited. There were seven winners.

People were encouraged to carpool to this community event with family, friends and neighbours. There is free parking on site and is easily accessed by public transit on Bus #3 from the Bronte GO Station at 3rd Line just south of the QEW or Bus #28 from the Trafalgar Road Oakville GO Station.

VOLUNTEERS DID A SUPERB JOB

Volunteers received rave reviews from sponsors and exhibitors for a job well done. Student volunteers came from a variety of schools including Holy Trinity and Oakville Trafalgar high schools, McLaughlin College, Appleby College and the University of Guelph.

VISITORS TOLD US UPON LEAVING

We conducted a short survey poll with visitors leaving the arena to find out what they liked the best and we were told that they loved the snakes, really appreciated the vendors very much although they would have liked to have seen more booths set up at the event but overall were very pleased with the event.

CONTACT US FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO GET INVOLVED AS A VOLUNTEER OR VENDOR

For more information, please contact the Oakville Community Centre for Peace, Ecology and Human Rights at (905) 849-5501 or info@oakvillepeacecentre.org.

For a list and contact information for all sponsors and exhibitors, please click here.