Eileen McVey of Lusby prepared soil for children at the Calvert County Green Expo on April 20. (Bethanne Monaco/The Calvert Recorder)

Visitors to the fifth annual Calvert County Green Expo were introduced to all of the conservation efforts available in Southern Maryland. Attendees young and old gathered at Annmarie Sculpture Garden and Arts Center to learn about ways they could protect the planet.

More than 90 vendors participated in this year’s expo. Vendors sold organic, earth-friendly goods and other participants handed out information about their causes. Groups represented at the expo included the Sierra Club, Cove Point Natural Heritage Trust and the Friends of Calvert Cliffs State Park.

“We are hoping to educate kids about where food comes from,” said Crystal Anthony, a member of the Friends of Calvert Cliffs State Park. She said the group recently planted 68 fruit trees and several blueberry bushes at the park. They were at the expo to promote awareness about Calvert Cliffs.

The Calvert County Master Gardeners, through the University of Maryland Extension Office, also attended. The group held presentations throughout the day and provided an area where children could plant vegetables and fruit plants.

Master Gardeners member Eileen McVey of Lusby said children at the event were asked to place the plants in a garden box, which had been decorated by children who participated in Annmarie Garden’s spring break program.

A marker was placed by each plant indicating which child had planted it, and children were encouraged to visit Annmarie Garden to follow their plant’s development. Plants should be available for harvesting in July through September, McVey said, and the fruits and vegetables will be donated to area food pantries.

Many local schools had displays at the expo, including Dowell Elementary School.

The school’s Green Team display intended “to explain what we do at Dowell” and how to recycle, student Mackenzie Duval, 11, said. The team is open to fifth-grade students during recess, and members participate in conservation and preservation activities.

Children and their parents also were given the opportunity to make picture frames out of old compact disc pieces in Annmarie Garden’s artLAB.

One boy and his mom, who were busy decorating a picture frame, said they came to the Green Expo to learn more about area conservation programs.

“We are always trying to support local green efforts, and we wanted to see what the county had to offer,” Nicki Robshaw said.

Vendors in attendance included Prosperity Acres, the home of “green” goats. The business, based in Sunderland, rents out goats to eat unwanted vegetation, owner Mary Bowen said. According to a pamphlet about Prosperity Acres, the goats are not harmful and leave a natural fertilizer.

Another vendor was Solar City. Company energy consultant Scott Sharpe of Anne Arundel County said the business provides solar panels to customers for free. Customers then pay for the energy received from the panels.

“The one catch is, they have to have good sunlight,” Sharpe said.

He said energy costs are lower than what homeowners would pay to standard utilities.

The Green Expo offered a variety of organic foods and beer. Grizzly Mountain Grill and Spider Hall Farm were among the this year’s vendors.

The Green Expo was hosted by the Calvert County Citizens Green Team in partnership with Annmarie Garden and the Maryland Forestry Board.