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GreenFest 2017 in Downtown Statesboro
Going green at GSU sustainability festival
Layne Rakleff, 19, of Statesboro, helps Merrin Chapman, 4, of Statesboro, use the yellow paint at the rock painting station during GreenFest on Saturday. The festival, hosted by the GS Center for Sustainability, was held in downtown Statesboro and promoted sustainable living. - photo by JULIA FECHTER/Special

               Georgia Southern University's Center for Sustainability hosted its 2017 GreenFest, a festival that celebrates ways people can be more environmentally responsible, in downtown Statesboro on Saturday.
        The 2017 theme was "Sustainable solutions for your life." Some vendors advertised sustainably-sourced products, while several informational vendors showed ways people could make food, grow plants and interact with nature.
        Some of the more popular tables offered activities for children. One of the tables was the natural dyes station, where dyes were made with food ingredients.
        "Today, we had purple dye, red dye and yellow dye," Bailey Chandler, 21, a graduate assistant with the Center for Sustainability, said. "The purple was made from purple cabbage, the red was made from red onion skins, and the yellow dye was made from turnips."
        Another kid favorite was the rock-painting station. Women from the Epsilon Pi chapter of GSU's Alpha Delta Pi Sorority helped children decorate the rocks with a variety of paints. There were also tables where people could make tin-can robots and tin-can potted plants.
        The Wildlife Society at Ogeechee Technical College also had a table out at the festival. The club came to GreenFest to offer information local animals and plants and their importance to our ecosystem, said Jordan Bassam, student vice president of the club.
        They also had a range of animal skins and skulls for people to touch.
        Environmental advocacy groups, like the Dogwood Alliance, were also out at the festival Saturday.
        "We're trying to get all our different counties in Georgia to agree not to clear-cut, not to use our tax dollars to clear cut because we need forests...our forests are what gives us oxygen to breathe, and if we don't have forests, we won't have oxygen," Connie Boole, a volunteer for the Dogwood Alliance said.
        The Dogwood Alliance is focusing on this initiative now since many trees are being cut along Interstates 16 and 95.
        One group of items that were very prevalent at 2017's GreenFest were repurposed pallets. Angel Tumminello, 20, a junior biology major at Georgia Southern, was selling pallets with her family at the festival.
        "This started back in July. I made (a pallet) for my living room and my apartment, you know, the kind that hangs up on a wall," Tumminello said. "My roommates and a bunch of my friends were like, ‘Wow, that's really cool.' So I had a lot of people ask me to make them for them."
        Angel typically designs the pallets, while her father cuts up the wood and her mother does the sanding.
        "Everything is made from reclaimed wood, so everything you see here is upcycled. All of the other material are from places, like thrift shops," Tumminello said.
        Additionally, Alex Nolley of Statesboro walked around the festival wearing a suit made out of empty water bottles.
Nolley, a graduate assistant with the Botanic Garden, explained how he wears the suit, adorned with approximately 38 bottles, because statistically, only 38 out of 167 water bottles are recycled.
        "A lot of people ask why am I wearing the bottles, and that's kind of what we were hoping for.
You know, [it's] kind of getting people to conserve water more and recycle more," Nolley said.


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