2014 desertSMART EcoFair a success!

desertSMART EcoFair has again been a resounding success, with more than 2000 people participating in talks, workshops, films, bike rides and community forums over the weekend of 8th-10th August at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens.

With the focus being on science and sustainability as part of National Science Week, and a direct aim of encouraging people to participate in, learn about and create greater connections with science and sustainability in their own lives, desertSMART EcoFair 2014 provided ample opportunities for meaningful engagements and community discussions.

Eco-Science Schools Day on Friday 8th August saw 180 students, 30 teachers, parents and support staff attend what is becoming an increasingly popular science and sustainability learning opportunity for local students. Students participated in hands on workshops on the issues of energy, water, waste, science and technology with Engineers without Borders, Live and Learn, CSIRO, Parks and Wildlife Commission NT, Land for Wildlife, Dept. of Land Resource Management, and National Rural Health Students Network. Students also had the opportunity to engage with special guests Amelia Telford (Australian Youth Climate Coalition) and Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) who both encouraged active participation and enquiry into the world they live in.

The ABC 783 Outdoor Broadcast and Great Science Quiz saw 80 people attend and enjoy afternoon tea whilst listening to special guests Adam Spencer and Costa Georgiadis, as well as representatives from the various events happening over the weekend. The Great Science Quiz as part of the broadcast was popular and entertaining, with some great prizes including binoculars, science gadgets and books won by competitors.

The Great Science Variety Show followed the broadcast and featured a special Q&A session with TV & radio personality Adam Spencer, who discussed amongst other things the trials and tribulations of being a mathematical comedian and the science of being a ‘man-washer’ in the laundry. The Great Science Quiz Round 2 provided the opportunity for everyone to participate and test their scientific knowledge. Highlights included special guests Adam, Costa and Amelia acting out the mating habits of the preying mantis to describe the theory of evolution, and Costa Georgiadis being made the inaugural desertSMART EcoFair Ambassador. The 90 participants were also entertained by poetry and music.

The Bike and Brunch with Adam and Costa on the morning of Saturday 9th August saw 25 cyclists ride from Olive Pink Botanic Gardens to the Telegraph Station, and upon return receive a pancake breakfast. Adam Spencer and Costa Georgiadis are keen cyclists, and it was a fantastic way to experience the beauty of the local environment.

That afternoon the Science of Gardening Practical Planting Workshop with Costa Georgiadis at the Alice Springs Community Garden saw 25 participants contribute to the garden whilst receiving knowledge about arid zone gardening approaches.

The ever popular Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival saw 350 people become part of an outdoor cinematic experience and enjoy international and local bicycle themed films at the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens. This year there were 9 local entries, with the winning entry being a mockumentary about self proclaimed Alice Springs BMX Legend Alastair McMichaels.

The Sunday Eco-markets and Sustainable Living Festival on Sunday August 10thagain drew more than 1000 people to the Olive Pink Botanic Gardens to enjoy panel discussions, garden walks, workshops, market and informational stalls, kids activities and refreshments. Highlights included feature presentation by Veena Sahajwalla which focused on the role of engineering in society and new waste technologies and discoveries. All panel discussions were well supported, with following question time and public discussions, and stall-holders provided feedback that EcoFair participants were interested and engaged.

Despite funding cuts to ALEC which will impact on staff capacity to organise this event, plans are now underway for desertSMART EcoFair 2015. More volunteer and community input will be required. If you think you can help email communications@alec.org.au

 

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