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Ninth Annual Cool Kids ECO-Fest is April 12 at GCC

By Billie Owens

This information is provided by Genesee Community College:

The Ninth Annual Cool Kids ECO-Fest happens at Genesee Community College's Batavia Campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 12. This fun-filled, educational event aims to increase awareness of important environmental issues while celebrating Earth Day.

It's free and open to the public. The first 250 attendees will receive free tree seedlings to plant. And more than 40 exhibitors will have booths including exotic wildlife, make-it take-it activities, and you get a chance to recycle items you often don't know what to do with.

Some favorite recycling initiatives from years past continue, including the collection of rubber sneakers to be made into running tracks, paperback books sent to American troops overseas and the worn American flags collected for proper disposal.

But just like Mother Earth, the Cool Kids ECO-Fest is ever-changing with new opportunities each year. Planners are excited to be welcoming Habitat for Humanity's call for non-fabric, wood or metal furniture including desks, bookcases, tables and dressers. In addition, old bicycles and reusable bike parts are being collected by Trailside Bikes of Orleans County.

For the first time, Cool Kids ECO-Fest at GCC will not be accepting any electronic waste (E-waste) such as computer CRTs, televisions, stereo equipment or microwave ovens.

Also new this year will be the Seeds of Change -- The Earth Charter and Human Potential Exhibit created by the Soka Gakkai International and The Earth Charter Initiative. The multi-panel display is seven feet tall, and with dynamic images and compelling messages viewers learn about community empowerment, water harvesting, the Green Belt and The Paulo Freire Institute and much more.

After ECO-Fest, GO ART! will screen the environmental film "Comfort Zone" in the Conable Technology Building.

Each recycled item from the list below earns a Cool Kids ECO-Raffle ticket increasing the chances to win great, green prizes including the grand prize of a brand-new bicycle from Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle.

Recyclables being accepted are:

•    Non fabric, metal or wood furniture for the Habitat for Humanity ReStore

•    Old bicycles and reusable bike parts collected by Trailside Bike

•    Old rubber sneakers (no cleats, please)

•    Paperback books for American troops overseas

•    Worn American flags for proper disposal by Shepard, Maxwell and Hale

•    Old eyeglasses

•    Computer ink cartridges

"The small things we do as individuals have a big impact on our planet. That's the theme of Cool Kids ECO-Fest every year. Each one of us makes a difference," said Cool Kids' Steve Appleton. "The items people have brought to Cool Kids ECO-fest over the years have kept thousands of pounds of waste out of landfills. Let's keep it going. ... We can celebrate Earth Day every day as individuals, but on April 12th we come together and become Green Gangsters!"

To expand the festival to a broader audience, GCC is partnering with Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) to show the film "Comfort Zone." Essentially it asks, "How big is your carbon footprint?" This critical question is addressed by three Upstate New York filmmakers who explored the impact of climate change from a personal perspective. "Comfort Zone" takes an in-depth look at what happens when the issue comes to our backyards.

The screening is set for 3 p.m. in Room T102 of the Conable Technology Building. Following the film, one of the filmmakers will be on hand to answer questions. The event is a fundraiser for GO ART! and costs $10 for GO ART! members, $15 for non-members, and Cool Kids ECO-Fest volunteers can attend free with seat availability. For more information about the film, please visit

Cool Kids ECO-Fest is co-sponsored by GCC's Student Activities Office, College Village, and Brockport-based Generation Cool.

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