October 20, 2014

Healthy Yards Expo promotes green lawn and garden practices

OLATHE, Kans. — Get the real dirt on growing green Saturday, March 23 at the Fourth Annual Johnson County Healthy Yards Expo, a lawn and garden event that aims to help citizens make greener choices in their yards and homes. This free event will be held from 9am to 2pm at the Shawnee Civic Center, located at 13817 Johnson Drive in Shawnee.
The expo focuses on Kansas Healthy Yards and Communities (KHYC), a program developed by Kansas State University Research and Extension. KHYC helps homeowners make wise choices on environmentally conscious lawn and garden care techniques. Johnson County K-State Extension is teaming with Johnson County Stormwater Management and the cities of Lenexa, Olathe, Overland Park and Shawnee to present the event.
“The Expo promotes green practices and provides education so that people can help do their part for clean water,” said Dennis Patton, horticulture agent for Johnson County Extension. “What you put on your lawn and garden can end up in our backyard creeks. This water can move into our rivers, and ultimately in our drinking water.”
The Healthy Yards Expo will highlight products, tips and tools that meet the program’s criteria, helping Johnson County residents become “greener” in their lawn and garden care.
Expo features
The expo is a great place to get new ideas from experts. It’s a one-stop learning event on green ideas, products and services. New this year is an expanded area for kids. The popular StoneLion Puppet Theatre will present “It’s a Jungle Out There” at 9:30am and 11:30am. Other hands on activities will be available to help teach children about the importance of ecology and the environment. “A lot of times it’s the children that spur parents to make changes,” Patton said. “By exposing kids to healthy practices, we hope to influence not only current behaviors but also plant the seed for change in future generations.”
Visitors to the Expo can:
• Enter to win door prizes for rain barrels or a compost bin.
• The first 100 visitors will receive a free tree seedling, courtesy of Overland Park.
• The first 300 visitors will receive an assortment of native plants to try in their home gardens, courtesy of Johnson County Stormwater Management.
• Visit with Johnson County K-State Research and Extension Master Gardeners and local plant societies. They’ll offer expert advice on gardening and plant cultivation.
• Listen to informative speakers on topics such as composting, water conservation, vegetable gardening and sustainability.
• Participate in free, fun and educational activities for children.
Free soil tests
This year will be an opportunity for Johnson County residents to get a free soil test, complements of Johnson County Stormwater Management and Johnson County Extension. It is important to know the nutrient levels in order to grow healthy plants and protect the water quality in our local streams and lakes.
Go to www.johnson.ksu.edu/soiltest to learn how to take a soil sample, and bring your sample to the Expo to get your free soil test. (One per Johnson County household)
For more information on the Healthy Yard Expo, visit LINK or call 913-715-7000.

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