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Local News Tuesday, July 25, 2006 ‘Living with Nature II’ teaches eco-friendly livingExpert author to speak on growing plants organicallyBy GEOFF FOLSOMOdessa AmericanMARATHON While some area festivals are looking for head counts in the thousands, Dan Dailey said he is expecting about 50 people for the second annual nature festival in Marathon.But Dailey is hoping that those 50 people will take life-changing lessons from the Aug. 4 to 6 Brewster County event. “Living with Nature II” will feature several speakers on how to live in ecologically sustainable ways.“It’s not about having a big gate,” Dailey, who chairs the festival’s committee for the Marathon Chamber of Commerce, said. “We feel really good about the people we have.”The first “Living with Nature” in 2005 dealt with a wider array of environmental issues such as “how the desert works,” Dailey said. This year, the focus will be on ways to live in an environmentally friendly way.Author Malcolm Beck is scheduled to speak on the subject of organic growing.“He is probably the leading expert in the state of Texas in that subject area,” Dailey said.Engineer Tim White will lecture on the use of “living” lime stuccos and Roman concrete, which can actually grow new limestone molecules to heal itself, if damaged.“That concept of his creating living walls, I think it’s an amazing concept,” Dailey said.Some examples of natural living are up for viewing every day in Marathon. Clyde Curry, proprietor of Eve’s Garden Organic Bed and Breakfast, will take part in an eco-construction workshop along with Zach Rabon of Mason Greenstar.Curry is building the walls of seven of his inn’s rooms with papercrete bricks, which are made using recycled paper and Portland cement. Mason Greenstar has developed the Blox building system using recycled products.Curry said the papercrete bricks make his rooms “super-insulated,” cutting energy needs by up to 75 percent.Dailey asked that Eve’s Garden play a major part in the festival, Curry said.“He kind of designed it around us,” Curry said. “We kind of end up to be the focus.”Abe Connally will participate in a workshop on independent living. The inventor and artist promotes using wind generation for energy, water catchments for rainwater collection and other means of living off of the power grid.John Morony of Southwest Texas Junior College will speak about villages providing models for sustainable communities. Cathryn Hoyt of the Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute will discuss creating environments for sustainable human living in West Texas.About 75 percent of Big Bend National Park’s 350,000 annual visitors pass through Marathon, Dailey said. While that brings in tourists, the city must approach it in an environmentally responsible manner.“We want to see our town grow and prosper but not at the long-term expense of our sustainability,” he said.Curry said that residents of Marathon have been getting cooperation from area ranchers in making the area more ecologically viable, or “cool,” as he put it.“If we can get the oil folks to work with us, that would be even bigger cool,” Curry said. “A lot of them are headed that way, at least the employees — maybe not the people in the boardroom.”For people who may balk at Living with Nature’s $75 price tag for two-and-a-half days, Dailey points to the cooler temperatures at Marathon’s 4,040-foot elevation.“Out of the places in the Southwest, this is one of the most comfortable to be,” he said. “You’ll save ($75) on your air-conditioning bill.”
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