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Constance Lake artist invents animal waste composter

Thursday November 22, 2012

Constance Lake’s John Ferris recently showed off his animal waste composter invention at the Great Canadian Inventions Show.

“It’s an eco-friendly machine,” Ferris said. “It’s clean and it heats quickly. It’s on-the-spot fertilizing. Instead of people composting their waste for six-to-twelve months, it actually does the job on the spot.”

While the long-time artist is well known for his artwork, political cartoons and the Annual Aboriginal Fine Art and Crafts Christmas Gift Show, he has also been working on developing a number of inventions over the years.

“I think out of the box,” Ferris said. “I think about things that can possibly happen, for instance the goose vaccinerator. I was with my daughter and she was trying to practice catching and batting at the park, but we couldn’t go there (because) there was so much geese waste all over.”

Ferris told his daughter about the vaccinerator idea that came to him while they were going back home.

“She asked what (it was) and I said a vacuum,” Ferris said. “And she said a vacuum will stink, it will smell. Then I said heat will kill that.”

Ferris said he drew up the vaccinerator plans in about 20 minutes after he got back home, but before going any further with his plans, he checked the idea out by drying some dog waste in an empty tomato juice can with a powerful heat gun.

“Everything was dry within a minute,” Ferris said. “Then I knew it was going to work.”
Ferris said First Nations people have always been “very innovative people,” as they have developed many creative ways to live in a variety of terrains and climates across the Americas.

“I believe that’s how we survived until this day,” Ferris said. “I work with my art group with the people still creating these works of art today, but I see them as tools of survival, like the moccasins, the mitts, the coats, the hats, the snowshoes.”

Ferris met with a variety of people during the Nov. 3 invention exhibition show in Toronto, including investors, marketers, engineers, researchers and business plan developers.

“I was looking for ways to finalize my (vaccinerator) machine and I was given some good direction from these people that deal with technology and research and funding,” Ferris said. “Everybody that came to my table really liked the invention and it’s needed in big cities and big parks, golf courses and waterfronts, wherever there is animal waste.”

Ferris has already tested his invention on cow, horse, pig, dog and geese droppings, noting it produces a clean waste product through a heated recycling process.

“A lady from the City of Toronto has spoken to me in regards to this unit being important for Toronto because there is so much problems with geese in that area,” Ferris said. “She was going to take it up to some people in Toronto and see what they can do as well.”
Ferris has also received a number of e-mails from people who want to help him with the development of the vaccinerator.

During the Gulf of Mexico oil well spill in 2010, Ferris also developed an invention to plug the broken oil well pipe deep under the ocean.

“The pressure of the water would work with my idea and just suck it in instead of pushing it out,” Ferris said. “I took it to a couple of engineers and they said it would work.”

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