Local groups plan Westborough Energy Fair

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Local groups plan Westborough Energy FairWESTBOROUGH – Sustainable Westborough and the Westborough Rotary Club will host a Westborough Energy Fair on Saturday, April 30 from 1 p.m to 5 p.m. at the Mill Pond School in town.

Speaking with the Community Advocate ahead of the event, Sustainable Westborough Chair Pete Dunbeck said the fair is the first program of outreach to the community regarding Westborough’s Climate Action Plan, which was approved by Town Meeting in May 2021.

The plan’s goal is for Westborough to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The fair, meanwhile, will aim to inform Westborough and help the town enact the plan.

“Enacting [the plan] means helping residents understand what these programs are, [and] helping them make good decisions, informed decisions so the transition is as smooth as possible for residents and businesses,” Dunbeck said.

Dunbeck added that the fair, which is free to attend, will be focused on sharing information about Massachusetts state programs promoting energy efficiency, renewable electricity and electric vehicles, among other things.

The event will feature speakers discussing different environmental impact areas and the benefits of decisions like placing solar panels on homes or installing efficient heat pumps.

“There’s a lot of change coming and it’s important that people be prepared for it and be proactive in when to make these investments,” Dunbeck said.

Cheryl Thomas, the vice chair of Sustainable Westborough, said that the fair will also have the Nourse Farm’s vegetable oriented Veg-Out food truck as well as a large area full of different exhibitors.

Thomas said that the fair has been planned by a relatively small group of individuals meeting every other week on Zoom to organize details.

“It’s good for people to realize that this is all being done by volunteers,” Thomas said. “We’re just a bunch of people who give our time for this because we think it’s important.”

Two of the organizers, Michelle Hung and Hallie Pellish, are Westborough High School representatives of Sustainable Westborough and members of the school’s Environmental Club.

The students, who are both sophomores, are also speakers at the fair and will talk about student perspectives on climate change.

“I’m scared of the future; I don’t want it to hurt our future generations,” said Pellish, who is the community liaison for the Environmental Club.

Pellish said that she and Hung were in the same sixth grade class when they did a unit on biodiversity. Since then, she said, she has tried to do more to conserve the planet.

Hung said a number of other high school students from different student groups will be presenting on topics like ocean acidification, carbon footprints and carbon emissions at the molecular level.

“I feel like we have activities and things lined up for people of all ages, including kids,” Hung said.

Thomas encouraged anyone interested to volunteer for Sustainable Westborough projects and initiatives. Individuals can also volunteer with the Rotary Club.

Thomas added that she was hoping for and anticipating a big turnout at the Energy Fair.

“It is a unique event,” she said. “It’s kind of the first of its kind around here.”

Learn more about Sustainable Westborough at www.sustainablewestborough.org.

And learn more about the Westborough Rotary Club by visiting www.westboroughrotary.org.

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