Environmental Fairs



A research study was performed to examine whether or not there is a desire for an environmental fair among the residents of the City of Waterloo, and to discover if local businesses and organizations would be interested in participating in such an event.

Information was gathered through surveys, interviews, and a literature search. The research objectives ask: Are local environmental businesses and organizations willing to participate in an environmental fair held in the City of Waterloo, and when? To what age group(s) would their presentations be targeted? We also investigated whether or not residents of the City of Waterloo would attend this fair. If so, when would they attend? What topics would they be interested in receiving information on at the fair, and how would they like to receive it?

The three research methods yielded a multifaceted set of results which were amalgamated into the following recommendations:

•An environmental fair should be implemented in the City of Waterloo.

•The fair should be held sometime between May and August.

•The fair should begin on a Friday, and run from 4pm-9pm, continue through Saturday from 9am-9pm, and conclude on Sunday, 9pm-4pm.

•A wide variety of topics should be presented, including those that are tailored to Waterloo.

•The best methods for presenting information are live presentations and print material.

•Several businesses were interested in sponsoring an environmental fair.


This research project focuses on the potential implementation of an environmental fair in the City of Waterloo (please see the following'Important Definitions'). We did this in an attempt to discover whether or not there is a desire for an environmental fair among the population of the City, and to discover if local businesses and organizations would be interested in participating in such an event. An environmental fair would potentially increase environmental awareness within this community and in turn, enhance environmentally sustainable practices.

This project was completed as a requirement for Environment and Resource Studies (ERS) 250, an undergraduate course within the faculty of Environmental Studies at the University of Waterloo. These research findings are of interest to Deanna Dakin, the Waste Management Coordinator for the Region of Waterloo. She was seeking information which could potentially aid her in the implementation of community based environmental education (Dakin, 2002).

We are hoping that this study will serve as grounding for further research projects which will also help foster the implementation of an environmental fair in the City of Waterloo. We anticipate that this project could be the first step towards the organization of a fair. As mentioned above, an environmental fair could have great potential for increasing environmental awareness among residents and this could lead to more environmentally sustainable actions within the City of Waterloo.




3.1 Environment:

"Total surroundings of an organism, including other plants and animals and those of its own kind" (Smith and Smith, 2000, p. 539).

3.2 Environmental Business/Organization:

This describes businesses or organizations that integrate environmental considerations into decision making, and/or aim to protect the environment in one way or another.

3.3 Environmental Fair:

This is a community event that would be held at a central location within the City of Waterloo. Local businesses, clubs, and organizations would present information that would educate the public about issues related to the environment. Such presentations could include demonstrations of products that are beneficial to the environment, information related to environmental issues, or informal education related to nature and the outdoors. The aim of a fair is to contribute to environmental education among residents of Waterloo for the purpose of increasing environmental sustainability within the City.

3.4 Sustainability:

Sustainable actions meet the needs of present generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (National Research Council, 1999).




The motivation behind our research was our assumption that there is a general lack of environmental knowledge among the citizens of Waterloo and that there are implications of this which inhibit the furthering of sustainable actions within the community. This is important because of the ever increasing number of human activities which could potentially damage the natural environment, and the notion that an environmental fair would shed light on these and prompt the adoption of more sustainable alternatives.

Our hypothesis is that the current level of opportunities for citizens in the City of Waterloo to acquire environmental education is inadequate. Environmental education can promote sustainable development by introducing wise use of resources and demonstrating concerns for the environment (Sauve, 1996). An environmental fair would be effective in providing a broad spectrum of environmental information to the public. This could positively influence the attitudes of the people who attend the fair, and in turn adapt their behavior towards living in a more environmentally sustainable way.


This study gained information regarding the attitudes of citizens of the City of Waterloo through surveys, and of local businesses and organizations through telephone interviews. A literature search was employed in order to gather further background information related to our research questions (see below). Our research was exploratory; we gathered primary information on this topic which, for this region, has been relatively unresearched (Palys, 1997).


We investigated whether or not there is interest for an environmental fair in the City of Waterloo. Our research objectives ask the following questions: Are local environmental businesses and organizations willing to participate in an environmental fair held in the City of Waterloo, and when? To what age group(s) would their presentations be targeted? Also, we investigated whether or not residents of the City of Waterloo would attend this fair. If so, when would they attend? What topics would they be interested in receiving information on at the fair, and how would they like to receive it?


There are already a small number of events within the City of Waterloo which target specific environmental issues. Some of these are the Air Quality Fair, the Groundwater Fair, and Earth Day activities held by the City (Cook, 2002). The Region of Waterloo is the major sponsor for these environmental fairs (Dakin, 2002). To our knowledge, there is no single event which includes numerous environmental issues (like an environmental fair would) in existence in the City of Waterloo. In terms of previous research, there are no past WATgreen projects related to ours. (WATgreen, 2001).

There are many similar fairs held internationally. A literature search revealed a number of annual environmental fairs held in the United States (some for over two decades) such as the Los Angeles Environmental Education Fair which is in its 22nd year (Los Angeles County Office of Education, 2000). This environmental fair is sponsored by the Board of Education in Los Angeles. In Mexico City an eco-festival, sponsored by the Union of Environmental Groups, draws in an attendance of 300,000 people (Earth Day Network, 2002). In Hong Kong a large Clean Air festival promotes environmental awareness through multiple clean-up activities and outdoor events. The Clean Air festival is organized by local schools and many diverse businesses are invited to promote their environmental practices (Earth Day Network, 2002).

These other successful environmental fairs could be an indication that one is needed in the City of Waterloo. Background research revealed no information related to how citizens generally think or feel about environmental fairs. This is why this topic was in need of further research.


To display the ways in which our project relates to the City of Waterloo, we have created two different system diagrams. The first, "Project Flow Chart" (Appendix A), demonstrates how our research study could contribute to the implementation of an environmental fair. The second system, "Environmental Fair as a Link" (Appendix B) shows the impacts an environmental fair would have if one was held in the City.

8.1 Project Flow Chart

This system diagram (Appendix A) displays both where our research project originated from and where it is headed. The system is located within the boundary of the City of Waterloo. The project's flow goes as follows:

•This project is based out of the University of Waterloo. Here, a program called WATgreen (which was initiated at the University) aims "to promote environmental research and initiatives at the University and to help facilitate the formation of interdisciplinary research within our community and other academic communities around the world" (WATgreen, 2001).

•We are enrolled in ERS 250 which requires us to complete a research project.

•Ideas for this project were initiated through WATgreen.

•Our research team (Talea Coghlin, Lisa Davey, Cher Matwichuk, Ali McDonald, and Suzanne Pantry) was formed based on interest in one of these WATgreen subject areas (environmental fairs).

•As a team, we are performing research to determine whether or not there is interest for an environmental fair in the City of Waterloo.

•The studies that we will conduct connect the project to citizens of the City of Waterloo (who will complete a survey) and to local businesses and organizations (that were interviewed). A literature review was performed to gain further insight.

•The project results were presented to Deanna Dakin, the Waste Management Coordinator for the Region of Waterloo.

•Deanna Dakin could potentially use the results of our project to aid in the implementation of an environmental fair.

The core actors within this system are the research team and Deanna Dakin. The study participants (City of Waterloo residents/businesses and organizations) serve as supporting actors. Shadow actors include the people who declined from participating in our study, Professor Susan Wismer, and WATgreen.

The inputs into this system include the ideas of the study participants (City of Waterloo residents/businesses and organizations). The outputs of this system are presently undetermined, as the way in which our project results will be utilized is based on the actions of Deanna Dakin.

8.2 Environmental Fair as a Link

This system (Appendix B) exemplifies how an environmental fair would impact the City of Waterloo and its future sustainability, should one be implemented. Thus, the environmental fair is at this system's core. This diagram displays the circular flow of the fairs impacts, showing that this system is bound to its own circle of connections.

This system's inputs include what the participating businesses and organizations contribute to the fair, including the information presented and the medium for representation. The system's circular outputs can be described as follows.

•At the fair, businesses and organizations will provide presentations that could contribute to environmental awareness, education and sustainability. The people who attend this fair, will gain this knowledge.

•The fair attendants will display this new found information in their daily activities.

•This will lead to an increase in environmental sustainability within the City of Waterloo, and the surrounding regions from which fair attendants came.

The businesses and organizations are the core actors within this system, along with the people who attend the fair. The supporting actors are those who would organize the fair, and volunteer their time to coordinate the event. Sponsors of the fair would also be supporting actors. The environment serves as the shadow actor because it would receive the benefits of the fair.


Three different types of qualitative research were used for this study:

1) survey,

2) interview, and

3) literature review.

Surveys were administered to residents of the City of Waterloo. Certain environmental businesses and organizations were interviewed. A literature review was employed to gather background information related to environmental fairs.

9.1 Ethics Clearance

In order to conduct the surveys and the interviews, our project was reviewed and received ethics clearance from the Office of Research Ethics at the University of Waterloo.

9.2 Surveys

Surveys were administered to residents of the City of Waterloo in order to determine their views regarding environmental fairs. The survey was completed by haphazardly selected members of the community (Palys, 1997). In order to encourage participation, the number of questions was limited to six. The questions were closed, meaning that the responses were either yes or no, or selected from a list (Palys, 1997). They were designed with minimum bias and used simple language.

The questions determined whether Waterloo residents would attend an environmental fair, when they would attend, what medium they think would be best for the presentation of information and what topics they would be interested in seeing at an environmental fair. Both the media for information representation and the potential topics listed on the survey were chosen by the research team under the assumption that they would be most effective.

Before a survey was completed, the study participant was provided with an information letter which described the survey (Appendix C). The participant was then required to sign a consent form. The participant next read a brief introduction which provided important definitions pertinent to the survey. At this time, the participant was able to complete the survey (Appendix D). The completed results from these surveys can be found in Appendix E. All of these aforementioned components were pretested on friends and family of the research team in order to ensure that they were easy to read and understand.

The survey was administered to multistage clusters of the population (residents of the City of Waterloo), through accidental sampling techniques. Waterloo was divided into 4 quadrants using the approximately North-south railroad track and the intersecting East-west Columbia St. (Appendix F). These two divisions where chosen because they divide the city into four approximately equal areas (clusters).

For each quadrant, a nodal location (a supermarket) was chosen. This is where the accidental sampling occurred with permission from the store managers. We chose to sample at supermarkets based on the fact that food is a universal requirement, thus we were able to maintain representative demographics. The supermarket locations in each respective quadrant were as follows:

•North-east quadrant: Conestoga Zehrs, 550 King St. North

•South-east quadrant: Price Chopper, 425 University Ave.

•North-west quadrant: Sobeys, 450 Columbia Ave. West, and

•South-west quadrant: Food Basics, 851 Fisher Hallman Rd.

The sample population included all residents of the City of Waterloo. Its size is 98, 500 (City of Waterloo, 2002). The sample size was 100 people. This is representative of the limits in both time and funding.

The reliability of the results is valid because the sample is heterogeneous. Accidental sampling provides heterogeneous results (Palys, 1997). Although it would be optimal to have a larger sample size, the number that we have chosen is still adequate.

This survey does have external validity, meaning that it can be generalized beyond the study because this type of sampling generates universal results (Palys, 1997). The internal validity was maintained through the definitions that are provided to the survey participants. The risk of regressing towards the mean was eliminated because the sample was completely heterogeneous.

9.3 Interviews

We interviewed various environmental businesses and organizations in order to gain an understanding of their potential involvement in an environmental fair. The population for this sample was broad. Therefore, we used purposive sampling. This sampling method consists of no sampling frame and the parties were intentionally sought because they met our criterion (see 'Important Definitions' above) for inclusion in the study (Palys, 1997). We interviewed 25 of these environmental businesses and organizations.

The interviews were completed over the phone by two members of the research team. Each business and organization was contacted prior to the actual interview in order to seek consent and to set the date and time for the actual interview. We created a script to guide this conversation. The actual interview was comprised of eight questions (two of which had two parts) which are both open-ended and closed (Appendix G). We included open-ended questions to gain more feedback from the participants. We realize that face-to-face interviews would have been ideal (Palys, 1997). However, they would require a more extensive time period to conduct as well as a source of funding to cover transportation costs. The closed questions were simple and concise. This limited confusion and disinterest. To pretest this method, we conducted mock telephone interviews with friends and family.

The results of the interviews were analyzed by the entire research team The analysed (see Appendix H). Percentages were calculated for the closed questions. The open-ended questions were aggregated by comparing and contrasting the various answers.

It was important to clearly state the definitions pertinent to our interview in order to maintain internal validity. In addition, the use of scripts maintained internal validity. The method of selection for interviewees was lacking external validity because all environmental businesses and organizations did not have an equal chance of being selected. However, if one wants to target specific businesses and organizations, random sampling is not necessary (Palys, 1997).

9.4 Literature Review

The goal of the literature review was to accumulate additional information on environmental fairs. We researched using various media sources including, journals, books, and websites. This literature review was valuable for obtaining broad information regarding our research questions (Adams and Schvaneveldt, 1985).


These three methods yielded a multifaceted set of results. Each type (survey, interview, literature review) answered our fundamental research questions from a different perspective. The following sections describe our research findings.

10.1 Survey Results

The 100 surveys were analysed and produced the following results (Appendix E). The majority (72 %) of the 100 people who completed a survey indicated that they would attend an environmental fair if one was held in the city of Waterloo (see Appendix I for visual representation). Of those who would attend, 51% would prefer that the fair be held over the weekend; 26% indicated that holding the fair on a weekday was most convenient, and the remaining 23% had no preference. This indicates that the best time of the week for a fair would be the weekend.

For the majority of those who said that holding the fair on a weekday would be most convenient, the best time to attend, as indicated in the survey would be from 4pm-9pm. Of the 37 people who would attend during the weekend, 73% would visit from 12pm-4pm. Of the 16 people who indicated that the time of week wouldn't matter, the majority, 44%, indicated that the time of day also wouldn't matter. While 38% would attend from 12pm-4pm, the remaining 19% preferred 4pm-9pm.

The community members were asked during what time of year (January to April, May to August, September to December) they would attend the fair. The majority (65%) of participants indicated that they would prefer the fair be held between May and August; 22% preferred January-April, while 10% would attend at sometime between September and December; 3% had no preference.

Those who completed the survey were also asked through which method they would like to receive information. The most popular answers were print material (22%) and live presentations (21%) followed closely by media presentations (18%) and hands on instruction (15%). The least popular method was games (10%) followed by posters (14%). Suggestions from the community members included field trips, open forum, case study and information available on the world wide web.

The last question on the survey asked the residents of Waterloo which topics they would be most interested in receiving information on. The three most popular responses include water quality (15%), water conservation (14%) and energy conservation (14%). The other topics presented (waste management, household products, air quality, atmospheric change and educational programs) were also of interest. Some of the people surveyed suggested additional topics, including urban heat, conservation areas, wildlife, soil conservation, plant conservation, urban sprawl, and farming practices.

Water quality and conservation were among the most popular topics. The external validity of our results was possibly compromised because Waterloo's current water supply may not be able to sustain the City's growing population. The majority (78%) of Waterloo's water comes from the ground (Rowlands, 2001). Also, media coverage of water quality issues could affect the external validity of the results. Knowledge of the tragic events resulting from past water contamination in Walkerton could be the cause of concern expressed by Waterloo residents.

10.2 Interview Results

The following results describe the accumulated findings of the 25 interviews of businesses and organizations. The first question asked whether or not the business or organization would participate in an environmental fair in Waterloo. Ten of them responded with 'no', citing reasons such as not feeling enough up to date, lack of time, no need for the publicity, or simply no interest. The remaining 15 (60%) of respondents said that yes, they would participate (see Appendix J for graphical representation). Only those who responded yes were questioned further.

When asked to which age group their presentations would be tailored, 18% replied 0-12 years; 18% of the presentations would be suited to people aged 13-18; 26% would target people 19-30 years old, and 38% would prefer to present to people over the age of 30. A number of businesses and organizations stated that they would present to more than one of the listed categories. This is reflected in the above numbers.

With respect to when during the week the businesses and organizations would prefer to participate, the majority of respondents (60%) stated that it wouldn't matter. While 13% would prefer the weekend, 27% would prefer to participate during the week.

Concerning the time of day, 36% of respondents would prefer to present from 9am-12pm; 38% selected 12pm-4pm; and the remaining 26% would want to be involved from 4pm-9pm. For many of these businesses/organizations, the time of day didn't really matter.

When asked what the best time of year for the fair to be held would be, 42% said between May and August; 39% preferred September to December; the final 19% responded with sometime between January and April.

The businesses and organizations were asked to describe the topics on which their presentations might be focused. The fifteen respondents provided thirteen different topics. Some of these were environmental assessment, planning, recycling, and local programs being offered here in the city.

There was also a wide variety of answers to the question asking what presentation medium would be used. Live presentations was the most popular method given (34%). This was followed by the use of posters, with 22% of businesses and organizations indicating that they would use this as an option for displaying information. Media presentations and print material were equally popular (13%). The other types of presentations that businesses and organizations suggested were providing promotional gifts, or collecting e-mail addresses for notification listings.

As for the final interview question which concerned potential sponsorship of an Environmental Fair, 12 of the 15 businesses and organizations (80%) who would participate in an environmental fair expressed interest in providing funding. A contact list of these names is available upon request from Patti Cook, the Waste Management Coordinator at the University of Waterloo (888-4567 x3245).

10.3 Literature Review Results

There were many issues addressed within the literature which pertain to our research questions. The following ideas were most pronounced:

• the logistical decision of timing needs to be determined during the planning phase of an environmental fair,

• environmental education is valuable for those of all ages but must be suitably adapted to certain individuals,

• adults and children require different media of presentation to fully understand the material,

• different topics are of interest to adults and children, and

• businesses and organizations must consider the benefits of presenting at an environmental fair.

These topics have been segregated and are addressed below. Two case studies are also considered here.

10.31 Timing

The timing of an environmental fair is crucial to its success. There are a variety of different ideas related to when a fair should be held. A popular time for an environmental fair is around Earth Day. Earth Day could be the starting point for a fair that lasts several days (Earth Day Network, 2002). Another option is to have the fair at an ecologically significant time for the area where the fair is being held, for example, during the migration of locally significant bird species (Weston, 1996).

10.32 Adult Environmental Education

The majority of adults do not attend formal educational institutions for the purpose of acquiring environmental knowledge. A variety of corporations offer training programs to their employees to enhance their understanding of the operations of the company. Other than this, most environmental education received by the public is informal (Wingerter, 2000). Informal education depends on media of presentation different than those offered in formal educational settings. The American Environmental Protection Agency (AEPA, 2000) suggests that at an environmental fair, it is important to have brochures or flyers to hand out to the public in order to best present material. Having material for an individual to take home is important; it serves as future reference material (AEPA, 2002). It would also be beneficial for businesses to have a sample of their product on display (AEPA, 2002). For example, a company specializing in fertilizer should bring some plants. Visual tools would be very important for participating business and organizations to best demonstrate their ideas to adults. Accessible information is one of the key factors in generating interest at an environmental fair.

In addition, interesting information that applies directly to fair attendants should be presented. A community event has the potential to begin development processes for local problem solving. Sauve (1996) indicates that the realization of local environmental problems can be an instigator for community action. This concept, where community based problem solving is encouraged, is known as "grass roots environmental education" (p. 24).

Environmental assessment (EA) involves significant focus on local issues. An environmental fair can be a valuable forum for the provincial government to advertise and to educate community members on the public consultation process in EA. According to Diduck (1999) there is an inherent need for increased public participation in EA.

There are a number of specific issues that the public needs to be aware of including the economy, ecology, ethics, and consumer issues (Diduck, 1999 and Georgeson, 2000). However, the presentation of a wide variety of environmental issues displays a few complications. Each individual has his or her own ideas and background. In addition, the complexity of environmental problems brings forth two major challenges: ignorance and indeterminacy (Diduck, 1999). Ignorance is present when a problem is not recognized and therefore is determined unimportant by the educational recipient (Diduck, 1999). Indeterminacy occurs when the relationship between cause and effect is not apparent (Diduck, 1999). These learning challenges can be addressed through clear presentation of material. As well, the terminology used in presentations should be carefully considered.

10.33 Child Environmental Education

It is important that all ages are considered at an environmental fair. Although some schools do offer environmental education, most is acquired by children from their parents, the internet, and television (Peterson, 2000 and Weston, 1996). An environmental fair could expand this education with a variety of other media of presentation and a diversity of topics.

Children respond actively to a number of different sources of information. Creativity is the key to the majority of child educators. Methods such as drama, art, music, and games provide children with a positive and fun learning experience (Murdoch, 1993). The theme behind these media is a positive attitude. Murdoch (1993) explains that keeping the positive perspective of environmental issues is crucial for children. Optimism keeps children open to the prospect of solutions and change. Group work is also beneficial to them. Older children and adolescents respond well to these situations because they feel empowered by the task at hand (Hart, 1997). These options provide a broad base for planning the types of presentation that should be utilized at an environmental fair.

There are a number of pressing environmental issues and concerns that should be taught to children. Basic ecology, including ecosystems, habitats, and nutrient cycles are important (Murdoch, 1993). Simmons (1998) emphasizes that nature is an important component to environmental education. Human actions are also important topics to teach children; this includes patterns of production and consumption, as well as the actions children can take to lessen their impact (Murdoch, 1993). For example, a child should learn where energy comes from, how it is used, and how to use less. Basic principles of the environment and how humans interact with it are essential issues that should be taught to children.

10.34 Businesses and Organizations

An environmental fair that invites businesses and organizations to present their information is providing a valuable opportunity for publicity and networking (Francoj and Duffy, 2002). There is a wide spectrum of information that can be presented to community members. Benjamin and Hanes (2002) advocate that businesses involved in informal education have the ability to link economic incentives to environmental and social issues present in society. Sustainable development is dependent on the harmony between these three components and businesses can share their information in order to bridge the gap between economic, environment and social issues. Also, community involvement can improve the way in which a business operates and an organization can benefit from increased interest and expanding membership.

10.35 Case Studies

Two case studies of successful integration of local environmental education involve General Motors and SE Johnson.

10.35.1 General Motors

General Motors (GM) started their environmental education program through their employees and their suppliers. They finally realized that the communities in which they operate are both affected by their business and interested in the processes involved. GM started community based education regarding their suppliers and their wastewater treatment at their various manufacturing plants (Wingerter, 2000). In 1989, GM started to help fund local schools in the United States to help encourage environmental education. In Bedford, Indiana GM hosted and funded an "Environmental Expo" with upwards of 40 different participants. The goal of the Expo was to increase awareness of waste management and wastewater treatment (Wingerter, 2000). Another fair, held in Saginaw, Michigan, includes demonstrations, tours, and information regarding wetlands. GM's purpose for holding these fairs was to increase the sustainability of the communities in which they operate (Wingerter, 2000). GM is a good example of how corporate sponsorship can educate the community in which the business operates. The community appreciation and marketing incentives are added benefits to GM.

10.35.2 SE Johnson

SE Johnson is a large company that produces household sanitary products. Initially, SE Johnson began marketing to the community in order to dispel myths that their products contained ozone depleting chloroflurocarbons. Environmental education for SE Johnson is community based and their medium for addressing the public was through open forums. With these forums community goals were established for development. By funding these forums, SE Johnson restored its public image and became a more attractive employer (Georgeson, 2000).


There was a strong interest in an environmental fair among both residents of the City of Waterloo and local businesses and organizations. Therefore, it is recommended that a fair be implemented. To make this environmental fair comply with the findings for each of our three methods of study, we have amalgamated the results into one set.

It has been concluded that the fair should be held some time between May and August. This timeframe was chosen because it was found to be the most popular among both the residents of Waterloo surveyed and the businesses and organizations interviewed. To accommodate all potential fair attendants and participants, it is suggested that the environmental fair begin on a Friday and run from 4pm-9pm. The fair would then continue through Saturday from 9am-9pm and then again on Sunday at 9am, eventually closing at 4pm.

It is also recommend that a wide variety of topics be presented at the fair, this was evident in each of the three research methods employed. The public is interested in a wide diversity of environmental issues. The businesses and organizations contacted represented a large spectra of environmental issues and practices, for example, recycling and ecological remediation. Although some of the topics stood out as more popular, all of the topics were of significant interest. It would be valuable to encourage all types of businesses and organizations to participate in the fair to create a diversity or information available to fair attendants. Also, local environmental issues are important to communicate to the public (Sauve, 1996). This would enhance the quality and effect of an environmental fair.

A final recommendation is directed towards the businesses and organizations. Based on the survey, interview and literature review, it is suggested that the best methods for presenting information are through live presentations and the supply of print material. Both live presentation and print material were popular among businesses and organizations and members of the community (see Appendix K for a graphical representation). The combination of two media is effective for communication and learning (AEPA, 2002).

An event such as an environmental fair would have a number of expenses; funding provided by businesses and organizations would alleviate the economic burden that could otherwise be taken on by the City of Waterloo. This type of sponsorship could be a joint operative between the Region of Waterloo and the businesses and organizations who would participate. One of the interview questions (Appendix G) asked the businesses and organizations if they would sponsor the fair; 80% of those who expressed a willingness to participate in a fair also stated that they would consider providing either financial support or volunteers.

The following list summarizes the recommendations formulated from this study.

•An environmental fair should be implemented in the City of Waterloo.

•The fair should be held sometime between May and August.

•The fair should begin on a Friday, and run from 4pm-9pm, continue through Saturday from 9am-9pm, and conclude on Sunday from 9pm-4pm.

•A wide variety of topics should be presented, including those that are tailored to Waterloo.

•The best methods for presenting information are live presentations and print material, and this should be suggested to the businesses and organizations who would participate.

•Several businesses were interested in sponsoring an environmental fair.


Although this study was successful, there were some limitations. The environmental fair, which we are recommending would be a community event targeted to people of all ages. However, in order to conduct ethical studies, we were confined to interviewing only people who were above the age of 18 years. This was limiting because our results could not be generalized to potential fair attendants of all ages.

While conducting the surveys we noticed a language barrier. There were many citizens at the survey locations who could not complete the study because they did not understand English. Time and money were also limiting.

We were allotted only one school term within which to complete this study. Additionally, we were not provided with funding. These two limitations prevented us from performing a greater number of surveys and interviews and from completing a more extensive literature review, which would have resulted in higher reliability and validity. Nevertheless, we were still able to conduct thorough research.


There are many issues related to environmental fairs in the City of Waterloo which we were unable to touch upon. We suggest that further study be completed in order to gain a broader understanding of these.

It would be beneficial to investigate both the interest level and likelihood of elementary and high schools to attend an environmental fair. Since Waterloo is so closely linked to other cities within the region, including Kitchener and Cambridge, it would also be useful to investigate their interest in an environmental fair in Waterloo. It is also suggested that government agencies, like the Ministry of the Environment and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, be contacted in order to determine their interest levels.

Further study could involve the costs of a fair and how these would be met. Expenses such as hiring an event coordinator, venue costs, and advertising would need to be determined prior to implementation.


This study was successful; Our original research goals were met. All three methods of research provided us with valuable information which was easily amalgamated into common answers to our research questions. The use of triangulation was very beneficial.

The surveys provided an accurate indication of the interest for environmental fairs in Waterloo as well as details regarding them. The interviews proved to be an invaluable source of primary research and gave us an idea of how businesses and organizations in the community feel about the ideas behind an environmental fair. The literature review was very successful in indicating the benefits of environmental education and the best methods to go about providing it at an environmental fair.

It is our hope that an environmental fair will someday be implemented in the City of Waterloo. Our findings indicate that this would be very beneficial to both the residents and businesses and organizations in this city. If our recommendations are taken into consideration, then an environmental fair would be a likely success.


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