The Richmond Register

October 7, 2012

Annual solar tour promotes sustainability, conservation

By Ronica Shannon
Register Sports Writer

BEREA — Berea’s solar sense was showcased Saturday in front of the Old Town Welcome Center. A collection of booths were featured offering a wide variety of information ranging from where to pick your own fruit to ways to save energy and money with solar panels.

The seventh-annual Solar Tour, hosted by Sustainable Berea, is an a celebration of what Bereans have done to save energy, money and be more environmentally friendly.

The Old Town Welcome Center featured live music, items from the Berea Farmer’s Market, the “Solar in Berea” art exhibit and much more.

Claire Davis, a Berea College sophomore, represented the college’s Sustainability and Environmental Studies class, and she and a classmate were conducting a “Community Skills Assessment” survey at the event.

“It’s where you put out there what skills you know,” Davis said.

The form was geared to obtain information about what skills Bereans have and what skills they would like to learn.

“We’re trying to unite the community to where we can help each other, built resilience and keep it local,” Davis said.

John Cotton of Alternative Energies Kentucky based in Danville, stood in front of a solar-panel display the highlighted ways to save energy and money.

The sun is “another fuel source,” he said, and using solar energy for people to save some money on their electric bills.

“We’re in a coal state, a natural gas state,” Cotton continued, “People are so used to hearing that there are only two sources of energy. I think it’s a good time for them to realize there’s other sources of energy.”

Shane Garver of Garver Farms, located about two miles from Berea’s Old Town district, hopes that future generations can come to appreciate skills that aren’t so popular anymore, such as growing and canning berries, vegetables and other homegrown foods.

He and his farm are affiliated with Sustainable Berea and were part of Saturday’s plant sale that was taking place in conjunction with the Solar Tour.

“The folks who live in this community have adopted this mindset,” he said about learning other ways to be sustainable without over reliance on fossil fuels. “I think that’s what makes Berea a unique place to live.”

Saturday’s tour included several Berea homes and businesses that are making use of solar energy..

Visit sustainable berea.org for more information about the organization and Saturday’s Solar Tour.

Ronica Shannon can be reached at rshannon@richmondregister.com or 624-6608.