Oak Park’s 6th sustainability fair celebrates, teaches environmental care


Booths spread across campus for the sixth annual Super Saturday Sustainability Fair Saturday, Feb. 4. The event consisted of a recycling drive, kids activities, environmental based companies and interactive booths (Meghana Mudunuri/Talon).

Oak Park hosted its sixth annual Super Saturday sustainability fair Saturday, Feb. 4.

Super Saturday, sponsored by Oak Park Unified School District, aims to raise awareness of environmental issues through interactive exhibits and activities on campus.

“The district has a committee called the Environmental Education and Awareness Committee, and that committee has a mandate to bring education to our students about the environment,” committee chairwoman Keyla Treitman said.

The theme of this year’s fair was California endangered wildlife. Exhibits included a tide pool and petting zoo, as well as various informational booths.

“This year, the Theodore Pane Foundation [provided] our major guest speaker, and they [talked] about native plants and wildflowers,” Treitman said.

The fair relies on high school students to help operate its different booths. Junior and volunteer Alex Trux manned the native California plant booth.

“We’re teaching people how to grow native plants,” Trux said. “Not only does the plant look pretty, but it’s better for the environment because it’s not an invasive species — it already grows in California; that way, it doesn’t hurt anything.”

It was amazing — we had a wonderful day. I enjoyed bringing [my grandson]. He made an electric car and rode the electric bike.”

— Rosalie Mastro

The sustainability fair also included a recycling event in the school parking lot. Volunteers collected clothes, electronics, cartridges and used medications.

“I’m collecting all the small electronics, as well as used medication and making sure that no one takes anything,” senior and volunteer Rebecca Grinberg said.

The recycling event focused on responsible disposal of the community’s used items.

In the case of used medication, for example, local police help dispose of the items. According to Senior Deputy Paul Ferruzza, who helped facilitate the event, the medication is taken to the police station, secured in the evidence room and later destroyed.

Certain activities, however, were directed toward children in the Oak Park community, rather than their parents. These activities, organized by the Environmental Education and Awareness Committee, included building toy solar cars and planting seedlings.

“I want to raise the consciousness of our students to become environmental stewards, to take care of the environment and to recognize their impact on it,” Treitman said.

According to Treitman, teaching children proper environmental practices early is important.

“The fact that there are a lot of things that even younger kids can do and should do now, like recycling and creating less waste — have them be your patterns for the rest of your life,” Treitman said.

The overall goal of the event was to help people pick up on the habits of living a greener life, according to superintendent Tony Knight.

“I hope that people walk away with a little more knowledge and information about the situation regarding the environment … [such as] just planting native things in their gardens, instead of going out and buying things that could use a lot of water,” Knight said.

According to Knight, a lot of time goes into planning a Super Saturday event.

“[The committee] reaches out to different organizations to come and be a part of this event,” Knight said. “As soon as this event finishes, we [immediately] start planning for the next one.”

After each Super Saturday, the Environmental Education and Awareness Committee gathers the public’s reaction to the event. For Oak Park resident Rosalie Mastro, the fair was a success.

“It was amazing — we had a wonderful day. I enjoyed bringing [my grandson]. He made an electric car and rode the electric bike,” Mastro said. “I’d definitely come next year.”