Visitors at the annual Earth Day and Energy Fair held Friday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds learned from vendors about native plants and biochar, saw rings from trees cut down at Busenbark Park, looked at electric cars and otherwise thought about what’s best for the planet. And in some cases, best for themselves, too.

The News-Review asked some vendors and visitors to share their best tips for what our readers could do if they wanted to change just one thing to help the earth.

Cory Trotter an Americorps volunteer working with the Boys and Girls Club of the Umpqua Valley suggested repurposing materials for gardening. Poke holes in a plastic pastry container with a clear lid to convert it into a miniature greenhouse, Fold newspapers and shape them around a can. The newspapers then form a container that will hold coffee grounds, eggshells, soil and a seed. Place the container and seed inside the greenhouse and soon you’ll have a baby plant.

“It’s great because you can watch it grow,” Trotter said.

Juliet Palenshus of UC-Veg recommended eating more plant foods. Consider adding a meatless Monday or a plant-slant Saturday to your weekly menu. Palenshus said that will not only improve your health, but also improve the environment since meat and dairy production is more resource intensive than what’s required to grow plants for food.

“That’s one of the easiest and most powerful things a person can do,” Palenshus said.

Stuart Liebowitz of the Douglas County Global Warming Coalition said recycling is a good way to reduce waste, but there is a better way. The best way to reduce that his best tip is to reduce waste.

Recycling is good, but it’s better not to buy wasteful products like single-use plastic serving cups and plastic straws in the first place. That can reduce the amount of plastic trash that litters the planet and the ocean, but it also helps reduce climate change, he said.

“When you reduce waste, less energy is expended on providing what you need,” he said.

Kristin Chiesna of NeighborWorks Umpqua suggested voting with the dollar — to divest from fossil fuels and invest in the community, supporting companies that treat employees well.

Dick Dolgonas suggested walking and biking more, which is healthy for the body and the environment.

“There’s no carbon emissions,” he said.

Halie Speer of Winston said she learned that Cheerios is giving out seeds for plants that attract bees, and said she plans to look into it.

“I’m excited. I think it’s going to help everybody,” she said.

Craig Rundle, a retired sixth-grade science teacher, was volunteering at the Heartwood Resources booth, where an electric car called “Al” that he made from motorcycles, lamps, shower handles and other repurposed materials was on display.

Rundle’s advice was to share information about the environment with the next generation. “Work with children. They are the future.”

Reporter Carisa Cegavske can be reached at or 541-957-4213.

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Senior Reporter

Carisa Cegavske is the senior reporter for The News-Review. She can be reached at or 541-957-4213. Follow her on Twitter @carisa_cegavske

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