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Eco-Lodge set to open

STARKSBORO- Common Ground Center, a nonprofit family camp and retreat center, will be celebrating the completion of their year-round Eco-Lodge at a Grand Opening scheduled for Saturday, April 30.

Middlebury College educator Bill McKibben, environmentalist and author, will speak at the dedication ceremony. Activities will begin at 1 p.m. and will include tours of the facility, food, music, speakers, educational booths, and family friendly activities. The press and the public are invited to attend.

The event will showcase the sustainable building practices, energy-saving design, and green materials used in the construction of both the Eco-Lodge and the Common Ground Center facility as a whole.

The Eco-Lodge, designed by architect Carol Stenberg and built by Perkins Smith Design/Build, is just the latest development at Common Ground Center that reflects their commitment to environmentally conscious values.

David Blittersdorf will join McKibben as a speaker at the dedication ceremony. Blittersdorf is the founder and CEO of AllEarth Renewables, a company dedicated to residential-scale renewable energy systems. In 2009 Common Ground Center added five AllEarth solar trackers to their facility taking them a step closer to their vision of a sustainable center.

The dedication ceremony and ribbon cutting will begin at 2 p.m. Kids activities will include giant bubbles, a terrarium project involving recycled plastic bottles, and a special children's performance.

Facility tours will be held throughout the afternoon and guests are welcome to explore the Common Ground site, including a play structure made from recycled playgrounds. There will also be educational booths hosted by organizations such as Yestermorrow Design Build School, Volunteers for Peace, and the Lewis Creek Association. And they're firing up their brick oven for delicious pizza. A dance party with Jeh Kulu Dance & Drum Theater will cap off the days festivities at 5 p.m.

Common Ground Center began in 1994 as a two-week family camp at rented facilities. In 2004, Common Ground moved to its own facility and has blossomed into a non-profit organization offering creative and engaging programs to families of all kinds. This event is being held in celebration of all they've accomplished and marks an important step towards their vision of a greener world.

Check It Out: For details about the grand opening and for directions to the Eco-Lodge and the Common Ground Center facility, call 734-0798.

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