San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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by ROSS DUBOIS

Eco-friendly Texans will get a double dose of opportunity when two environmentally themed events converge March 31 at the San Marcos Conference Center.

Electric and hybrid vehicles were on display at last year's Green Home & Living Show, a San Marcos Area Chamber of Commerce event. COUTESY PHOTO

The third annual Texas Green Home & Living Show and the Texas Rainwater Catchment Association’s 2012 State Conference will take place in the same building at 1001 E. McCarty Lane.

The Texas Green Home & Living Show was renamed in 2012 from its title of the previous two years: “The San Marcos Green Living Showcase.” Brian Bondy, president of the San Marcos Chamber of Commerce, which is hosting the event, said the reason for the change is to reflect the increase in participants from outside of San Marcos as well as the expanded ambition of the event.

“It’s hard to compete with the attention that Austin gets,” said Bondy. “But the goal is to make San Marcos a center for sustainable building, architecture, products, energy-saving and efficiency.”

The event will feature approximately 75 booths presenting “green” products and exhibits to educate attendees on some of the current options available to improve their environmental impact.

The show will also include a second stage this year to accommodate its 12 presentations, which will be staggered every half hour from 10 a.m. until the show concludes at 4 p.m. Some presentation topics include sustainable agriculture, solar power and making homes more energy efficient.

The Green Living Showcase in 2011 was perhaps most notable for the exhibition of the Chevrolet Volt, a then-new, plug-in electric hybrid car. The Volt will return this year and will be joined by the Chevrolet Cruze Eco and the most recent Toyota Prius, vehicles purported to get between 40-50 miles per gallon.

The Texas Green Home & Living Show is making an effort to be more family-friendly than previous years. There will be performances by choirs from three local schools, a dance performance by the Centro Cultural Hispano de San Marcos and a puppet show, “Jim the Grumpy Opossum.”

The Texas Green Home & Living Show is free and open to the public.

The Texas Rainwater Catchment Association’s 2012 State Conference will take place over three days, beginning March 30. The conference has also expanded from its previous years’ incarnations.

Penni Carr, owner of Penni Carr Management Event Services, which orchestrated the three-day event, said the conference has grown significantly this year. It previously took place over one day in a barn in Kerrville. Extra space and time was required to accommodate the classes and presentations scheduled for the conference.

J. David Bamberger, a fried chicken tycoon and founder of the Bamberger Ranch Preserve, will deliver the keynote address.

“Bamberger is the godfather of ‘green’ in Texas,” said Bondy.

Bamberger received the Aldo Leopold Award for conservation by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and was publicly recognized in the Texas House of Representatives for restoring 5,500 acres of degraded ranch land. The Bamberger Ranch Preserve was described in a feature by NPR as the largest restoration project on private land in Texas.

Exhibitors of the two events will participate in the trade show on March 31, which is free, said Carr.

Sonya Villarreal, account manager at the conference center, said the events will occupy equal space in the building and exhibitors will probably mingle, but the events are not officially connected.

There is at least one difference that separates the two events—the price tag. The TRCA 2012 Conference is $150 for the three-day event. Aside from presentations, the ticket also includes a rainwater collection class, a reception with refreshments, meals and a tour of a local rainwater catchment system. The general public, as well as TRCA members are able to attend.

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