Naperville fest gets into nature
By Annie Alleman For Sun-Times Media May 10, 2012 4:22PM
♦ May 12
♦ Riverwalk Grand Pavilion, 912 Sindt Court, Naperville
♦ (630) 848-5000
Updated: May 10, 2012 4:22PM
Families can see actual birds of prey, like hawks and horned owls, at a new festival dedicated to the environmental concerns.
The brand-new EcoFest takes place from 10:30 to 12:30 p.m. Saturday at the end of Naperville’s Riverwalk near the grand pavilion, said Sandie Gilmer, program manager with the Naperville Park District.
The Northern Illinois Raptor Center will present a live birds of prey show from 11 a.m. to noon, featuring four birds of prey native to Illinois. Fest-goers can get a close look at birds such as a great Horned Owl and a Red-Tailed Hawk, she said.
“They’re going to be demonstrating the birds and you can get close to them, ask questions about their history, and what they eat and what they hunt.”
Several community organizations will have displays that will provide people with information on ways to be eco-friendly in Naperville, she said.
“The City is going to have an emerald ash borer table just explaining the City’s efforts about the emerald ash borer,” she said. “We’ll have a couple exhibits about worm composting and rain water, and we’ll have about 15 to 20 stations with crafts and games for kids.”
The recent opening of the Seager Interpretive Center and the addition of new trails in several parks was part of the impetus for the fest, she said.
“We have started the park district’s initiative to do nature programming,” she said. “We’ve done it sporadically in the past, but never as a focus.”
The district hired a coordinator recently who focuses on eco-friendly and nature-themed programming, she added.
They expect to draw about 200 families, who will receive a free eco-friendly gift, as well as fun giveaways, she said.
“We really think the birds of prey show will draw people, because it’s a very cool presentation,” she said. “You really don’t ever get to get up close and personal with a hawk or an owl.”
One of the interesting exhibits will be a worm composter.
“You can play with the red wigglers and learn about how to worm compost in your home,” Gilmer said.
Worm composting is taking a barrel of dirt and worms and using the worm waste for your garden.
“They’ll consume anything that is compostable in their bin,” she said. “Like instead of throwing a banana peel in the garbage, put it in the worm composter and they digest it, and you can use the stuff that comes out of it in your garden. It’s really interesting. The kids in our preschools love it.”
The Park District will hold an electronics recycling event prior to EcoFest in the Centennial Beach Parking lot. The public is invited to drop off used electronics 8 to 10 a.m. For a full list of what can be recycled, see the Park District’s web site.
She said they are excited about the first EcoFest and are hoping for a good turnout.
“I think it will be a fun, free morning for families,” she said. “They will walk away a little bit more educated about what Naperville is doing to promote the green effort in the city.”