All articles are written by YJDP Student Correspondents and edited by mentors from The Washington Post prior to publishing.
The Vienna Community Center hosted the sixth annual Vienna Green Expo on April 24. From 6:30 to 9 p.m., community members freely perused the juried showcases of local and regional environment-friendly exhibitors, ranging from permeable pathways to habitat gardening.
Vienna’s Community Enhancement Commission sponsored the event, and invited over 40 Earth-friendly companies and organizations to present on transportation, recycling, clean energy, gardening, government initiatives, environmental awareness, alternative fuel autos, travel and home energy.
Science projects from local schools, including Thoreau Middle School and James Madison High School, also presented at the Green Expo.
Katrina White, a high school student from James Madison, showcased her Science Fair research project that tested whether or not supposedly “green” cleaning products actually were green, and how they compared to other non-green commercial cleaners.
“Everyone at the Expo seemed genuinely interested in the work I have done and shared their own environmental stories with me when they came by to see my project. I am delighted to find so many people in my town are actively pursuing an eco-friendly lifestyle,” White said.
Susan Stillman, Chairman of the Community Enhancement Commission, takes pride in the organization’s mission to make Vienna a more sustainable and environmentally conscious community.
“The show is vetted so that the Community Enhancement Commission makes sure that everyone presenting is really here to help improve the environment and improve sustainability in the Vienna community. We want to leave as much as we can for future generations and take as little as possible,” Stillman said.
The Green Expo created a Children’s Passport Program, where kids visit at least nine different exhibits while getting their green passport “stamped” along the way. After visiting nine exhibits, kids received a special prize.
“The wonderful aspect about the Passport Program, is that kids then go home and tell their parents, ‘Mom, we really should be doing this,’ so by educating kids we can educate adults as well,” Stillman said.
But adults did not miss out on any of the fun. Alternative energy cars, including a Tesla and an owner-enhanced Prius which both run entirely on electricity, were parked outside where visitors could chat with the car owners. Free and organically grown (of course!) apples were up for grabs, as well as the opportunity to enter in a free raffle for a rain barrel.
All community members were encouraged to bike or walk to the Green Expo.
“It is important that everyone gets involved in the environmental movement, since after all we all share this Earth,” White said.