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Archive for Sunday, May 31, 1992

TOXIC CRUSADE

May 31, 1992

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Children, adults and even a dog showed showed up Saturday morning with decorated bicycles and tricycles, costumes and handmade toys to participated in the Full Cycle Reduction Fair's non-fossil fuel parade.

The children sported signs bearing slogans such as "We're the toxic crusaders" while marching or pedaling around the Douglas County 4-H Fairgrounds parking lot in costumes made out of cardboard boxes and recyclable bottles.

The day's events, which were aimed primarily at children, included exhibits by the Environmental Protection Agency and the city of Lawrence, door prizes and classes.

In addition to Saturday's event, a series of workshops were held Friday at the fair, sponsored by the city and Douglas County in observance of Public Works.

ELI LOGAN, a 6-year-old Topeka boy, described Saturday's fair as "wild" as he crawled out from underneath his costume, a large cardboard box covered with crushed aluminum cans, recyclable bottles and tin cans. Eli later won a toy dog made of milk jugs.

Local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts showed up to learn and teach about recycling, something that Girl Scout Elizabeth Toman said her troop spends a lot of time discussing.

Elizabeth, 8, Lawrence, is home-schooled and said she was attending the fair as part of her classwork. "It's a good use" of time, she said.

Her brother, 3-year-old Jacob Toman, won a plastic watering bucket, which he said he would use to "give momma's flowers a drink."

The children were familiar with the subject of recycling because their family recycles items such as aluminum cans, and uses a compost, Paul Toman, their father, said.

ANOTHER LAWRENCE Girl Scout member also reported experience with environmentalism. Katherine Anderson, 6, said her Brownie troop picked up trash in parks and once found motor oil in a creek. The troop wrote a letter although she couldn't remember to whom about the oil, Katherine said.

Local businesses including Dillon stores, Simple Goods, McDonald's and Wal-Mart, also were represented at the fair.

Wal-Mart employees manned an exhibit advertising environmental features at their new store, scheduled to open in February 1993 at the southeast corner of 33rd and Iowa streets.

"It's a first-time test store trying to use all environmental systems possible," said Mike Benson, Wal-Mart store manager. Those systems include conserving and reusing water and replanting uprooted trees, instead of throwing them away.

A RECYCLING structure will be built next to the store so that the general public and the store can recycle items such as plastic, newspapers, oil and car batteries, said Patty Perez, Wal-Mart's ``green'' coordinator.

If the project is successful, the recycling methods will be incorporated into other Wal-Mart stores across the country, Benson said. The corporation chose Lawrence from a field of six cities for the project. "We feel really lucky to be chosen," he said.

Fairgoers also had the opportunity to attend classes on environmentalism. One class was taught by Sue Ask, a volunteer at WILDCARE, a rehabilitation center for wild animals. Using Kool-Aid, Ask demonstrated how pollutants in water can sometimes be invisible. She diluted the drink in an aquarium until it was impossible to see the Kool-Aid.

"IT'S A GOOD idea to try to influence children from an early age, and hopefully what they learn will stay with them," Ask said.

Pat Marvin, the city's recycling coordinator, also commented on the education of children attending the fair.

"They are learning to be consumers," she said. "They are aware that their dollar can influence people, that they have power in choosing who they buy from."

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