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  • FEATURED STORY

    Green living is easy at workshops

    Have you wanted to “go green” but don’t know where to begin? One way is to get expert advice at a Green Living Workshop.

    The workshops are part of the educational program at Solana Center for Environmental Innovation. Since its founding in 1983, the nonprofit group in Encinitas has been a local leader in protecting the planet.

    Next month’s Green Living Workshop is all about creative and colorful succulent landscapes. And where better to hold the workshop than at San Diego Botanic Garden? Succulents are among the many, many plants in the Garden’s collection. I am signed up to attend the workshop at 10 a.m. Sept. 20 at 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas.

    Two presenters, Melissa Teisl and Jon Hawley of Chicweed Landscape Design, will share tips on how to design a garden, how to incorporate succulents into an existing landscape and how to save a lot of water while you’re doing it. Water conservation – a timely subject during California’s historic drought – is the topic of Green Living Workshops in October (Gray Water Demystified) and November (Watershed Gardens: How to Retain Water and Reduce Runoff Pollution).

    A workshop in June covered barn owl nesting boxes. In July, attendees sorted out the facts and fiction of household solar energy generation. Another workshop covered backyard chickens.

    The workshops are short and get right to the point.

    “It’s just an hour out of your day,” said Jamie Higgins, the Center’s communications coordinator. “What we try to do is present topics people are interested in. We bring in experts and they are able to answer a lot of questions.”

    I appreciate the Solana Center using the workshops to promote local businesses and the relevant goods and services that they provide. I also appreciate how the Solana Center reinvented itself from a hauling company to one devoted to environmental education.

    Starting in 1983, the nonprofit agency known as Solana Recyclers operated a fleet of trucks, which lumbered through the streets of Encinitas, Solana Beach and Del Mar. As a pioneer of the county's first curbside recycling program, the company emblazoned its name and logo on its vehicles and on the green and yellow recycling buckets it distributed to every household. That made the nonprofit company unavoidably visible. Its purpose was easy to understand and so was its name: Solana Recyclers.

    In 1996, Solana Recyclers got out of the curbside recycling business and turned its focus toward education. Today, local children might recognize the company as the one that leads talks in their schools about pollution prevention. The presentations about household hazardous waste teach children about the harm detergents, oils and pesticides can cause to the ocean, rivers and lagoons.

    At the center's modest headquarters on county-owned property in Encinitas, people can attend composting workshops and purchase containers for growing worms. I hope you will join me on Sept. 20 at the San Diego Botanic Garden for the succulents workshop. Green living is easy and good for us, too!