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Published: Sunday, 8/3/2008

Frogtown Fair puts focus on environment

BY LAURA BENNETT
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Jan Hunter, co-owner of Naturally Native Nursery in Bowling Green, talks with Bill Laudick of Holland about landscaping. Jan Hunter, co-owner of Naturally Native Nursery in Bowling Green, talks with Bill Laudick of Holland about landscaping.
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In the Civic Center Promenade building yesterday, a procession of leggy girls in heels sashayed down a makeshift runway. But instead of haute couture, the girls were decked out in something a bit less glamorous - busted computer parts.

The advanced student models from the John Casablancas Center in Toledo draped themselves in used electronics, cans, reusable plastic bags, and yard waste for the environmentally themed fashion show they presented yesterday at the Frogtown Fair in downtown Toledo.

The Frogtown Fair, held yesterday in and around the Erie Street Market, was an effort on behalf of the City of Toledo to encourage greener living among residents of Ohio and Michigan.

"This is an interesting way to get environmental messages across to the com-munity," said Brian Bahrs of the John Casablancas Center, whose students organized the fashion show. "It's one thing to get brochures, but it's exciting to have a live message."

The Civic Center Promenade bustled with displays from businesses and organizations, each promoting a specific facet of an environmentally friendly lifestyle.

Jan Hunter, owner of Naturally Native Nursery in Bowling Green - whose table was nearly engulfed by brightly colored plants- was selling flowers and grasses native to northwest Ohio.

"The native plants are adapted to the area's weather, soil, and wildlife," Ms. Hunter said. "They're better for the environment because they don't require oil-based fertilizers."

Waverly Hill-Mathis demonstrates the heat and light generation of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs. Waverly Hill-Mathis demonstrates the heat and light generation of incandescent and fluorescent light bulbs.
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Kimberly DeStazio of Rossford stopped by Ms. Hunter's table because the hybrid plants in her garden had not been thriving.

"I've been looking for some native plants, so I'm really excited," Ms. DeStazio said.

"We're leaning toward the green thing as everybody is, I think."

EQ, an environmental company based in Wayne, Mich., attended the fair to raise awareness about an initiative that recycles batteries and light bulbs for businesses and consumers.

"People don't realize how detrimental it is to put a battery that could contain mercury in your trash," said Jamie Buckner, a sales representative for the company.

Gross Electric, Inc. of Toledo promoted energy-efficient lighting and recycling programs.

"I think we need to educate people and make them aware of what they need to do to be more energy-conscious," said JoAnn Cook, a lighting consultant for Gross Electric, Inc., who was distributing corkscrew-shaped fluorescent bulbs to passers-by.

Diane Shankland, a teacher at Start High School, came to the fair to research alternative energy.

She said the displays had made her even more aware of the environment.

"When I brush my teeth, I let the water run, but we really should be conserving water," Ms. Shankland said.

The Frogtown Fair also included breakfast foods made from fresh produce in the farmers' market, the jazz stylings of the Bob Rex Trio, and environmentally friendly activities for children and adults.

Just down the street from the Erie Street Market, the Mercury Pollution Prevention Partnership exchanged mercury thermometers for free digital ones, and Affinity Information Management provided free electronic waste recycling for items such as computer equipment, phones, VCRs, and cameras.

"This has been sitting around for months," said Pat Linehan of Sylvania, who was armed with a dusty printer, its cord dangling.

Outside the market, a line of cars snaked down South Erie Street, waiting to have their gas caps examined by representatives of the Toledo Division of Environmental Services.

"If you have a leaky cap, you will lose up to two tankfuls of gas per year," said Karen Granata, the chief of air resources for the Division of Environmental Services.

Ms. Granata estimated 50 cars had been tested by noon, and several needed their gas caps replaced.

"This saves people money and saves the environment," Ms. Granata said. "And nowadays, with us being pinched on both fronts, that's a very good thing."

Contact Laura Bennett at:

lbennett@theblade.com

or 419-724-6728.



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