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More than 200 receive education at Back to Basics

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Chilly temperatures couldn’t stop more than 200 participants from attending the seventh annual Back to Basics, hosted by Happy Dancing Turtle, on Saturday, Jan. 26, at Pine River-Backus High School.

The theme was “Steps Toward Sustainability: The Solution is You.”

The morning kicked off with a keynote presentation from Chuck Marohn of His address was titled “Strategies for Building Strong Towns: How Ordinary People Can Do Extraordinary Things.”

Marohn’s speech explained the importance of taking responsibility for improving communities through a many-handed approach instead of relying on a top-down approach.

The day featured 28 workshops and more than 30 vendors available throughout the day.

“I was pleased with the buzz of the crowd. Everyone was networking, learning and having fun, and that’s really what Back to Basics is all about,” said event coordinator Barb Beck.

Some of the more popular hands-on workshops included local producer Abbie Schramm’s “Soapmaking 101;” home energy auditor Sarah Hayden’s “Low-Calorie Home,” which demonstrated ways to lower heating bills; and Cass County Education Coordinator Brita Sailer’s “Recycle That, Too!”

“Brita Sailer knows everything there is to know about recycling,” said Quinn Swanson of Happy Dancing Turtle. “There wasn’t enough time during the session and it even went long.”

Happy Dancing Turtle, in collaboration with Pine River-Backus Community Education and Central Lakes College, typically hosts Back to Basics on the last weekend in January. The event focuses on energizing and motivating participants to reach toward sustainable practices.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
I've worked at the Brainerd Dispatch with various duties since Dec. 7, 1983. Starting off as an Ad Designer and currently Director of Audience Development. The Dispatch has been an interesting and challenging place to work. I'm fortunate to have made many friends, both co-workers and customers.
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