Green Fest unites advocates and educates public


BOONSBORO -- Fourteen years ago, when Jenny Sarnecki moved from Montgomery County, Md., to Boonsboro, she brought her blue recycling bin with her.

She filled it with recyclables and set it out at the curb.

"Nobody picked it up. I was shocked," Sarnecki said. "A neighbor said, 'No, we don't recycle here.'"

Since then, she said, conservation efforts within the community have been lackluster. People who chose to recycle took items to a Dumpster provided through a Washington County program. The Dumpster was removed in 2007 because people were misusing it.

"Someone even put a sofa in there," Sarnecki said.

That was when 10 members of the community joined together to form the Boonsboro Recycling Task Force. Several months later, the Dumpster was returned to a different location in Boonsboro. Members of the Task Force check the Dumpster at the Park-n-Ride at the intersection of Alternate U.S. 40 and Md. 67 daily to ensure residents are using it properly.


The group's next goals are to raise public awareness about recycling and reusing, then bring curbside recycling to Boonsboro.

"The town council has not been very receptive to the idea of curbside recycling because of the cost. We want to say, 'Let's just look into this,'" Sarnecki said. "It would save money for individuals, and it's just the right thing to do."

Sarnecki said the task force thought public education would be a good place to start, so they planned Boonsboro Green Fest.

The festival drew around 800 visitors to Shafer Memorial Park Saturday between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

The group was unsure what kind of response to expect, so they set a goal to book between 15 and 20 vendors. What they got was more than 90 vendors.

"The response has been overwhelming," Sarnecki said. "I think people are ready to be educated. They are ready to do their part by reusing and recycling. They are ready to know about solar panels, wind turbines and hybrid vehicles. They want to know what the heck does organic really mean, and why is that word thrown around so much?"

Courtney Kennedy, 36, of Boonsboro, said she was among those who are ready to learn.

"This is fabulous. I hope they do it every year," she said. "There are a lot of great things here. Some of the things I've seen here, I didn't even know they existed."

Kennedy said she was not surprised by the remarkable turnout for the event.

"I think conservation is on people's minds," she said.

Sally Hatch, secretary for the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance, said the event provided a common voice for various groups to share the message of conservation with people of all ages.

Hatch pointed out the Claud Kitchens Outdoor School at Fairview sold out of rain barrels within the first hour.

"When that happens, you know the message is getting out there," she said.

Mimi Hull, 12, of Keedysville, said she is very interested in doing her part to care for the environment. She said she found a number of fascinating items at the festival.

"I saw stuff you can use to clean homes that won't hurt the environment, but will still get things clean," she said. "And they even had toys made of recycled stuff."

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