Saint Paul, Minn. - Minnesotans have a strong interest in learning how they can improve the environment and many will take action on that interest, according to attendance counts and surveys completed at the new Eco Experience exhibit co-sponsored by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota State Fair. The Eco Experience drew 350,000 visitors during its 12 day run, making it perhaps the best-attended environmental exhibit of its kind in the country and the largest single outreach effort in the history of the MPCA. Of those visitors:
• Almost 90 percent of those participating in an exit survey said they were going to apply something they learned at the exhibit to their daily lives. They were most interested in renewable energy, energy conservation and protecting water resources by using rain gardens and rain barrels.
• Of the survey participants who specified the types of actions they would take, many said they would learn more about buying wind power, consider purchasing energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs and look into recycling and composting,
• Some 4,000 visitors filled out a Make a Difference commitment card, which offered 12 possible changes they could make to lessen their environmental footprint. Those changes ranged from reducing junk mail to cutting back on driving.
"We were overwhelmed by the response," says Jeff Ledermann, MPCA coordinator of the Eco Experience. "So many fairgoers showed such a high level of interest, depth of understanding and desire for more information that we think we're witnessing a renewed focus on the environment at the citizen level."
"The Eco Experience was definitely one of the highlights of the fair," agrees Pam Simon, Minnesota State Fair exhibits and concessions supervisor. "Building attendance figures just confirm fair officials' belief that Minnesotans are ready to hear more about renewable energy, alternative fuels and vehicles, and other eco-friendly topics."
If you missed this year's Eco Experience exhibit, you can check it out online at http://www.ecoexperience.org, or get a taste for the "greener choices" available by reading the latest issue of the MPCA's Minnesota Environment magazine. Included are articles on household choices, transportation, eco-friendly remodeling, non-toxic cleaning recipes, indoor air quality and more. It's available on the Web at/publications/mnenvironment/index.html.