Tuesday, April 7, 2020

GreenFest Expo at Edison State College

Dr. Kirk Otto

Dr. Kirk Otto

Dr. Kirk Otto of Marco Island is leading the way to more sustainable solutions for our community. He is one of the organizers of GreenFest Expo at Edison State College, Collier Campus. The Saturday March 27 event, located on the college campus just off SR 951 on Lely Cultural Parkway will feature demonstrations by local businesses, government agencies and experts on food and health, coastal protection, alternative energies and everything green. Sustainable solutions meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

The goal of the Edison GreenFest is to raise the environmental awareness of the community. Ecological literacy can help prepare individuals, families, businesses and governmental organizations to better manage and prosper in the changing landscape of resource scarcity, a tightening economy, and increasing personal responsibility.

Kirk, a long time resident of Marco Island first moved here in 1984 and for twenty years ran the Island Bakery on Collier Blvd. Always an avid outdoorsman, Kirk realized that one of his passions, “the great outdoors” always made him happiest. Whether he was hiking, paddling or visiting the numerous parks and beaches in the area he enjoyed the experience. Because 70% of Collier County is public land there are many ecological significant pieces of property here for all of us to enjoy.

When Kirk left the bakery business in 2003 he wanted to stay in the area but, like many of us, rediscover and explore his roots. His doctorate in Biochemistry made him an ideal candidate for teaching at Edison State College. He has now taken over the Science lab responsibilities making sure the students have the right equipment for the lab work associated with their studies. It was only natural that in this forested, peaceful, campus learning environment Kirk would want to educate students about sustainable lifestyles. Last year he and a couple of Faculty members approached the Collier Campus President, Dr. Jeffery Allbritten about sponsoring an Environmental Expo that would create and foster awareness of the environment among the Edison students and the general Collier community. With the personal support and financial commitment of Dr. Allbritten, Kirk and his associates held their first GreenFest last year adding to the green reputation of the college.

There are a number of people and organizations in Collier County helping educate the next generation of students and residents. Kirk will have over 50 exhibitors participating in this year’s expo among them Frank Oakes, organic foods; the Paradise Coast Paddlers, a kayaking club; Renewal Premium Spring Water, a company that uses plant based material for their bottles; solar and wind companies; Florida Native Plant Society; Rookery Bay and other conservation groups; Publix and a host of other green companies.

It takes passionate local people like Kirk Otto to create awareness, put out the effort, solicit support and recruit like minded individuals and companies. Edison State College, Collier Campus is making Collier County a better place to live and enjoy the great outdoors. Plan on attending the free GreenFest Expo. For more information contact Dr. Kirk Otto at HYPERLINK “mailto:kotto@edison.edukotto@edison.edu or 239-732-3743.


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