3 Lessons from the 2019 State Fair
STATE FAIR LESSON 1: Pronto Pups & Liatris.
Don’t those Blazing Star prairie plants look like giant purple pronto pups? One lesson from the fair that I saw over and over again is that PLAY IS POWERFUL for people of all ages. From the Midway to art exhibits, giant sing-along to the Eco Experience. Play brings us together! A huge thank you to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and their Eco Experience building exhibitors for teaching green using that key ingredient: Play!
At the EcoExperience Building, Growing Green Hearts participated on the Sustainablity Stage by offering two presentations for fair goers. First, the story was the story of 3 church congregations working together in care of water…especially the drinking water for St. Paul which water flows through many northeast metro area lakes as part of the Vadnais Lake Watershed Management Organization area. This Connect-the-Drops: Faith, Science & Youth Leadership project with Growing Green Hearts, funded by VLAWMO, began in fall of 2017 and is nearing the end this fall of 2019. The second presentation at the fair by Growing Green Hearts was: Building ESTEAM with STEM™. Children and adults tried environmental engineering design challenges that were paired with children’s literature. This extended program has been shared by GGH as a teacher training for schools and child care centers around the state.
STATE FAIR LESSON 2: All In This Together
The fair is known as “The Great Minnesota Get Together,” and when it comes to caring for the environment, Minnesotans are in this together, too. After all, environment means “our surroundings” as well as “the natural world.” Growing Green Hearts teaches how land, air, water, and living things are interconnected and we, as humans, are inside that complicated web.
Beyond the doors of the Eco Experience building are many ways to connect with environmental issues and organizations all around the fair! My kids love the animal barns and exhibits with 4H and Miracle of Birth Center. The fish pond and creatures are a must-see. The booths run by Friends of BWCA and Urban Boatbuilders make for fun, kid-friendly stops too!
STATE FAIR LESSON 3: Changes Happen
Yes, new things pop up at the fair and the climate is changing too. Let’s just plan on change happening and work towards solutions. One way to healthily tackle some of these challenges changes is using the eSTEM strategies taught by Growing Green Hearts. That’s “e” for environment followed by “S” for science, “T” for technology, “E” for engineering, and “M” for math. At the fair in 2019 we explored old and new at the fair with family and friends some questions about changes popped up: When will organics recycling be a part of the fair experience? Do any of the stands have compostable cups, plates, or a place for those pronto pup sticks? What if community gardens and the cultural connections they hold dotted the fair grounds? How many people actually used mass transit or carpooling and how can that be made even easier? What if the midway ran on solar or wind power? Let’s keep playing with those ideas and questions this fall, winter, and spring then use eSTEM to tackle them in prep for the next great Minnesota get-together!
Play. Learn. Love.