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Workshops offer practical ways of going green

Green Skills event co-organizer Anna Zalusky prepares fresh tomatoes to be canned. Food preservation will be one of the many classes offered from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5 at the high school.

When one thinks of raising chickens, producing maple syrup, scythe mowing or worm composting, one generally thinks of one word -- difficult.

A new Green Skills event being held from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, hopes to change that perception.

A variety of green classes will be held at the high school, 818 Cemetery Road. Classes will be broken down into four sessions.

Session one, 10-10:50 a.m., will include the following classes:

  • Home beer brewing
  • Useful plants in your backyard
  • Maple syrup production
  • Adult yoga
  • Seed saving

Session two, 11-11:50 a.m., will include the following classes:

  • Intro to top bar beekeeping
  • Small scale berry production
  • Fruit tree pruning
  •  Basic bicycle maintenance
  • Small engine maintenance
  • Food preservation

Session three, 1-1:50 p.m., will include the following classes:

  • Raising chickens
  • Edible landscaping and square foot gardening
  • Healthy and efficient homes
  • Raising rabbits
  • Native planting and rain gardens
  • Solar power

Session four, 2-2:50 p.m., will include the following classes:

  • Whole grain baking
  • Kitchen worm composting
  • Scythe mowing for field and yard
  • Natural building methods

For a $10 fee, attendees can choose one class per session to attend. Registration also includes coffee, juice and bakery treat breakfast, which will be served from 9-9:50 a.m.

During registration participants can order a lunch for $8 from Dish and the Spoon Café or bring their own or go out for lunch.

The event will also include a book swap and free childcare, although you are asked to RSVP with the number and ages of children to

Event organizers Anna Zalusky and Katie Chaffee said the idea to host a green-skills event developed after they attended a similar event in Prairie Farm.

Working with Rocky Branch Elementary School teacher Ben Toppel, the group brainstormed to find people with teachable skills and those willing to volunteer their service.

Zalusky said, “We needed to find someone who had the skills and could teach”

Organizers wanted to hold something where participants could decide if it was something they could do or something they wanted to learn more about.

Zalusky wants people to leave the event feeling that they “can do these things that seem intimidating.”

“I want people to feel like they have the tools to do these things,” said Zalusky. She noted that resources will be given, as well as the potential for networking with teachers and other students.

Zalusky said that learning these skills is not only fun but saves money and brings the satisfaction of being self-sufficient.

“It’s a good idea and useful to live a more sustainable life,” said Chaffee, “if things change we can cope…be self-sufficient.”

Zalusky and Chaffee said that the event is a partnership between the School District of River Falls Community Education, Local Food Partnership, What We Need is Here and the St. Croix Institute for Sustainable Community Development.

Pre-register at or register at the door. Complete class descriptions at

See the Oct. 3 edition of the Journal for the complete article.

Jillian Dexheimer

Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.