A Morning Field Trip to the Arts District to Usher In Trammel S. Crow's Earth Day Dallas

Photos by Patrick Michels
A National Parks Conservancy Association mascot teaches children that bears are great for hugging.
The two-day Earth Day Dallas celebration kicked off in the Arts District at 10 this morning, and right from the start it was absolutely packed -- thanks to the Trammell S. Crow-sponsored event planners, who footed the bill to bring in 200 busloads of kids from all over the Dallas Independent School District.

A little before noon this morning, while workers finished assembling that giant map of the Trinity River Corridor Project, the Trinity Trust's Melanie Ferguson was busy handing out Frisbees and teaching kids about the river -- the Audubon Center, the planned horse park, the bridges and, for some kids, the fact there's a river there at all. Ferguson said teaching kids about all the natural features around Dallas is the first step to keeping them preserved, Ferguson said. "The more we pay attention to them, the more they come to life," she said. "A lot of people don't know we have the largest uncut hardwood forest in the U.S."

The giant map of the Trinity's going to be 20 feet long and four feet wide when it's finished, and ought to be a major highlight in the blocks of booths set up in the Arts District.

Most of the booths are for nature, conservation and recycling groups -- and environmentalist newsmakers like Dallas Area Residents for Responsible Drilling and Downwinders at Risk. A few home-builders, Pepsi and the Dallas Safari Club also have booths set up to tout their green credentials. Green Mountain Energy's even got a "Wind Face" booth, where you can get your picture taken with your cheeks flapping back against a jet of air.

Next to a bench made from an old shipping pallet, made for next week's Living Plaza in front of Dallas City Hall, bcWorkshop's got another of their recycled shipping containers, wood-paneled inside with a series of displays about their Earth-friendly home-building projects in the city.

Armed with tote bags, saplings and frisbees, DISD kids make their way through the Arts District's Earth Day festivities.
The Trinity Trust's giant model of the river was under construction this morning.
The Trinity Trust's Melanie Ferguson shows schoolkids some new features along the river.
A bench made from repurposed shipping pallets, not unlike this here in San Francisco.
Dallas PD's Xtreme Green three-wheeled cop-mover, one of six in use downtown.

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I heard they wouldn't let dogs owners bring dogs. How lame is that?

@Mark: "tesla's don't do 20mph



I went to “ Earth Day Dallas 2011 “ in the Arts District I couldn’t help but wonder what the carbon footprint might be as I counted 5 large diesel generators and another 7 smaller gas driven models . The big ones powered the exhibit booths and the requisite stages for amplified music. The smaller ones were on the food trucks. These generators ran from well before opening to closing. Seems it takes a good deal of fuel to teach us not to pollute.

Strolling around the somewhat less than bucolic setting. I saw a cart that collected trash. It had “ Green events “ painted on it’s side. This cart was powered by a gas engine. Smelled like a 2-cycle job. Electric golf carts rolled up and down the length of Flora Street. Why not bicycles? That would be cheaper, greener, and would set a better example.

There were some booths that gave away saplings so school children could take them home to plant. That’s a good thing. TXU had a booth pushing an app that would allow you to remotely adjust your home thermostat. I want an app that will install modern scrubbers in TXU’s coal plants.

Wandering around the food court I noticed far back in a secluded corner, obscured by potted plants,a small blue car. “ It can’t be. “ I thought, Sure enough there it was, a blue Tesla sports car. This was beyond cool. Beyond hip. This is the best way to make eco cool. The Tesla is an electric car that will go 200 mph! I couldn’t believe that this extraordinary example of the possibilities of alternative power was not on display. I shifted the potted plants that concealed the front of the Tesla and saw the personalized Texas plate that read “ COAL “

Fights broke out among the school children that were invited. Police had to respond, an ambulance was called. Some of these youngsters became so interested in the arts they got into Booker T Washington School For The Arts, took chairs outside, added a little graffiti, (or urban art,) to the walls, then destroyed the chairs as well as the lawn. After that kind of a workout it was only natural that they would saunter over to the reflecting pool for a nice pee.

After that experience the Dallas Arboretum's harebrained plan to pave more land, build a pedestrian bridge, and add lighted signs along Garland Road sounds downright reasonable.

I’m not anti-earth day it’s a great idea. I want the organizers to be, well, more green about it. A carbon footprint is inevitable but there were obvious ways to reduce it as well as set a good example. At least do a better job of hiding the generators.

I hope that those school children take those trees home and plant them. Many decades from now maybe these trees will offset the carbon footprint caused by Earth Day Dallas 2011. That is if they don’t get cut down.

Ecologically YoursMarc DunkelbergDallas, Texas.


I never could find the beer garden. Whassup with that?

Bill Holston
Bill Holston

This was a terrific event. Every local nature group, and nature area was there. Great free films at DMA. I had a blast this afternoon.


Does the giant map include the non enviromentally friendly toll road?


Thank you for your comments, Marc. We are so glad that you visited Earth Day Dallas 2011, and as the sustainability adviser to Earth Day Dallas, I am glad to give you a transparent answer and share our green efforts.

Our goal was to host an educational, fun, collaborative green event for the entire family. To that end, we offset nearly 300 metric tons of CO2 through our Texas-based partner, Green Mountain Energy. We worked with our public transportation partner to encourage Earth Day Dallas attendees to ride DART to the event both Friday and Saturday. We calculated our carbon consumption from transportation and electricity usage and worked really hard to make Earth Day Dallas a carbon neutral event by reducing the carbon footprint as much as possible. Additionally, the generators we used to create the necessary energy for production of the event were biodiesel generators.

As you mention, it is impossible to have a zero carbon event. We worked collaboratively with our partners to consciously decrease our eco-footprint and carbon emissions. I am sure that you will join us in recognizing that this is an exciting time for North Texans to come together to learn how we can all make a positive impact on our community and how we can grow a greener Dallas together. Please feel free to contact me directly if you have any additional questions, as there are many more specifics we can discuss.

Tajana MesicSustainability Adviser to Earth Day Dallastajana@earthdaydallas.org

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