Eco Fest – it’s a BYO event

Cambridge Primary School principal Mike Pettit with some of the students supporting the November 16 Kids Eco Festival. They are, from left, Oli Chapman-Worthy, Macie Pettit, Makayla Hollands, Maeve Barnard and Samantha Hunter.

An inaugural Kids Eco Festival coming to Cambridge later this month is shaping up to be a fun and informative way to put the concept of waste reduction within everyone’s reach.

The idea is to bring children and their parents face-to-face with different ways to better protect the planet by reducing waste. Visitors will be able to make their own smoothie using pedal power, sew their own reusable bags, learn how to become nature explorers, discover the secret life of worms, enjoy retro games, follow a water conservation path and enter a ‘wearable arts’ recycled fashion show and competition. There will also be a Go Eco pop-up shop, information about organic waste options, links to local projects and initiatives, native plants on sale, and more.

Behind it all is Janine Monk, a business administrator and long-time sustainability enthusiast who has been toying with the idea of doing something like this for the past couple of years.

Organiser Janine Monk hopes the inaugural Kids Eco Festival will set off a chain of sustainability action through the community.

“Sustainability has always been a passion for me,” she said.  “The idea has evolved slowly, really from a starting point of thinking it would be more effective if we took it to kids first.  They are often the ones to bring good ideas into the home and introduce things to their parents.”

In May, she linked up with Camilla Carty-Melis at the Go Eco Waikato Environment Centre, an organisation that grew out of a programme started in 1993 by Hamilton City Council. It now supports environmental wellbeing through E-Waste Recycling, running a Sustainable Living Retail outlet, providing community education, and its signature project Kaivolution Food Rescue, a climate action project that collects surplus food and redistributes it to community groups.

Camilla Carty-Melis from the Go Eco Waikato Environment Centre is working with Janine to bring the Kids Eco Festival to life.

“I wanted people to learn different ways of doing things that will help reduce waste.  We have a whole lot of activities lined up that will show children and adults better ways of doing things … it will be interactive and a lot of fun,” said Monk.

Carty-Melis said the November 16 festival would be a fun day for all the family, that is all about sustainability and environmental action. “Come and meet organisations that are all about protecting the planet; learn some new skills, play some games and find out how to get involved in local initiatives.”

She urged all comers to BYO coffee cup and smoothie mugs for the event. “If this goes as well as we hope, we might look at taking it to Hamilton, and perhaps run it again.”

The event will be held at Cambridge Primary School hall from 9am to 2pm on Saturday, November 16.

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