Have Fun Learning To Green Your Home

Green Homes Festival

By Jean Ponzi

The 14th annual Green Homes Festival returns to St. Louis on Saturday, June 20 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in a new location: the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Faust Park. Admission is free.

This family-friendly festival showcases affordable, practical options for sustainable living combined with positive ways to maintain the health of people and the planet. The Butterfly House site will spotlight plant-based solutions to energy, water and waste issues. Admission is free. Complete an event “passport” and receive a free gift!
Presented by Ameren Missouri and sponsored by The Healthy Planet and many local partners, this event features the region’s leading sustainability focused businesses and organizations. You can talk one-on-one with local experts about your specific interests and project ideas, and learn about home improvement, building and maintenance options to live healthier and protect the environment, while conserving household budgets. Your festival host is the EarthWays Center of Missouri Botanical Garden.

Ameren Missouri energy efficiency programs can help homeowners and businesses reduce their energy costs and get cash back. Ameren Missouri also invites everyone to help paint a Metro bus with an eco-mural designed by local artists Robert A. Ketchens and William Burton Jr. from noon to 2 p.m.

Children will have fun building a sun-powered miniature roadster to compete in the Solar Speedster Derby, sampling treats cooked in solar ovens, and snapping selfies with costumed recycling characters. Kids can win prizes in fun games, make jump ropes and recycled art, enjoy face painting, and meet a Canine Good Citizen from the Humane Society of Missouri.

More than 70 sustainability-themed displays and exhibits by local businesses and non-profit organizations will cover: solar, wind and geothermal renewable energy systems; energy efficient lighting and appliances; cool roof retro-fits; efficient windows, insulation and weatherization; heating and cooling systems; green home building materials and methods; home energy auditing; non-toxic home cleaning and decorating products; reducing waste by recycling, composting and creatively “UpCycling.”

The World Bird Sanctuary “Wings Over Water” program, 11 a.m. to noon, features birds of prey up close and in flight. Have your camera and sense of awe ready as hawks and owls soar right over your head!

Discover new ways to “Get Around Green” with bicycle transportation, safety and maintenance tips; public transit resources; and alternative vehicle and fuel options. Cycle to the festival and take advantage of convenient free bicycle parking. The Missouri S&T Solar Car Team will share their knowledge and stories of competing in national road races and designing a sun-powered concept racer. The team will also coach and cheer on children who want to buy, build and race a miniature solar car at 12:30 and 2:30 p.m.
The NatureScaping area can inspire you to grow a livelier, healthier environment in your own backyard using native plants. Exhibitors include water-saving RainScaping options, biodiversity resources to restore wildlife habitat, invasive bush honeysuckle transformed into handsome tables, and more.

Interactive “Presentations to the People” from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. will cover useful topics: keeping backyard chickens and bees; solar electricity and solar technology; home energy efficiency and sustainability of natural gas; talking “green” with your home builder; sustainable investing; gardening with good bugs; native plant RainScaping; and composting with worms.

Join a free all levels yoga class provided by Yoga Buzz from 9-10 a.m.; yoga mats suggested, but not required.

Shop the “HOME Made – HOME Grown” Marketplace for home décor and gifts made by area crafters and edibles grown by local farmers.

Enjoy local music by Eco Elvis (10 a.m. and noon), Wack-A-Doo (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and Cree Rider Family Band (2 to 4 p.m.). The “Eat Well Local” food court features Edg-Clif Winery, Pie Oh My, My Big Fat Greek Truck, and more. The Butterfly House Gift Shop, located indoors, will offer some snacks and drinks in addition to items related to butterflies, other insects and nature.

Bring your reusable bottle and get free water refills. Recycling and composting will reduce the festival’s “waste-line.”

Enjoy this site’s year-round attractions with a $4 Fun Pass to the Butterfly House Tropical Conservatory and the St. Louis Carousel. Interpreters will share stories of the Faust Historic Village as visitors take self-guided tours.

Green Homes Festival
Saturday June 20 – 9am to 4 pm
Butterfly House in Faust Park
Admission is Free!
Hope to see YOU at the Green Homes Festival!

Want to help? Contact volunteer coordinator Kat Golden at katherine.golden@mobot.org.