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Zero Waste Alliance shows clients ways to save the planet and money

Spring's a swell time to clean up your energy act

Don't just clean out your closets - give your energy system a tuneup, too.

The Energy Trust of Oregon marks its fifth birthday in Portland's living room, where people can sign up for free home energy reviews and learn about efficient and renewable resources such as solar panels, wind turbines and insulated windows.

Those already using green energy can enjoy with particular pride a 'forest of trees' illustrating the benefits gained by choosing renewable energy.

And if that all sounds too heavy, listen to the sounds of the Jon Koontz Trio.

11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, Pioneer Courthouse Square, 715 S.W. Morrison St., 1-866-368-7878, www.energytrust.org, free

Flowers, music, stories … what's not to like?

The popular annual Trillium Festival serves as a harbinger of spring and features something for everyone: guided nature hikes, crafts, native plant sale, live music, storytelling, raffles and refreshments.

9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 31 and April 1, Tryon Creek State Park Nature Center, 11321 S.W. Terwilliger Blvd., 503-636-4398, free

Gardeners urged to take whole-habitat approach

If you're concerned about using harsh chemicals while you launch into spring-cleaning mode, don't forget about your little friends in the garden.

The Audubon Society urges gardeners to remember birds and wildlife as they go about spring planting. They say in the United States about 2 million acres of habitat get converted each year to residential and commercial use, leading to declines in bird and wildlife populations.

The Audubon at Home program offers several suggestions to help temper this loss especially during the crucial spring migration period.

• Reduce or stop pesticide use, which can be harmful to many creatures beyond the intended targets.

• Conserve water. Converting lawn to trees or shrubs results in a decreased need for water.

• Remove exotic plant pests, such as purple loosestrife, English ivy, kudzu and Japanese honeysuckle that threaten native species of flora and fauna. In about 42 percent of the plants and animals federally listed as endangered or threatened, competition with non-natives species is a factor.

• Plant native species.

For information on how to create the healthiest yard for birds and all sorts of critters, visit the Audubon at Home Web site at www.audubonathome.org.

- Tribune staff