EcoFair 2015 a success!

The desertSMART EcoFair has again been another resounding success, with more than 2000 people participating in science and sustainability focused events over the weekend of 7-9th August in Alice Springs.

desertSMART EcoFair was organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre, as part of National Science Week, and was sponsored by the Australian Government’s Inspiring Australia Initiative, as well as a range of local community sponsors. The event is a focal point for scientific research and sustainability initiatives that exist in Central Australia, and encourages discussion on how we manage and connect to country, how we build community resilience and live together sustainably in the desert.

The EcoFair was hosted by Olive Pink Botanic Garden. It continued to build on the strengths of previous years by again featuring the Eco-Science Schools Day, the live 783 ABC Outside Broadcast, The Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival, the Science of Soil Workshop with Costa Georgiadis, and the Sunday Eco-Markets and Sustainable Living Festival.

The Eco-Science Schools Day on Friday 7th February saw 200 local school students participate in hands on workshops on the issues of energy, water, land management, climate, health, science and technology. Learning about ant ecology with Dr Kirsti Abbott was a highlight, and students also participated in workshops by Engineers Without Borders Australia, the Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Parks and Wildlife Commission NT, Land for Wildlife, Live and Learn, and the National Rural Health Students Network.


Students at EcoScience Schools Day participating in the Rural Health Students Network workshop.

The 783 ABC Outside Live Broadcast from the BeanTree Café provided a focus on the activities of EcoFair, and included interviews with EcoFair ambassador Costa Georgiadis, Dr Kirsti Abbott from the School of Ants, Millie Anthony from the Australian Youth Climate Coalition as well as featuring the Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival, The Asante Sana Choir and The Great Science Quiz.

The Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival was again a very popular feature of the EcoFair with more than 300 people attending and enjoying a night of bicycle-focused films, food and fires under a clear starry sky. There were a record 10 local film entries, with “The Real McMichaels” winning the people’s choice award.

The Science of Soil Workshop with Eco-Fair Ambassador Costa Georgiadis reflected an event focus to coincide with the International Years of Soil and Light, and was held at the Alice Springs Community Garden. Participants learnt about improving soil structures, composting and getting the science of gardening in the arid zone.

More than 1200 people attended the Sunday Eco-Markets and Sustainable Living Festival on Sunday 9th August. Participants listened to local, regional and national science and sustainable living experts, and engaged in presentations, workshops, tree plantings and tours of Olive Pink Botanic Gardens. Participants also enjoyed the markets featuring more than 40 local environmental, community and informational stalls. An intimate conservation between Costa Georgiadis and local custodian Aunty Dorris Stuart was a highlight of the program, as was the feature presentation by Dr Mark Diesendorf on the exciting possibilities of renewable energy technology to completely provide for our energy needs.


Dr Mark Diesendorf presented the feature presentation on renewable energy at the Sunday Eco-markets

desertSMART EcoFair provides the community with the chance to engage with science and sustainability, and the forces that shape our world. Feedback from the 2015 EcoFair event has been resoundingly positive. The Arid Lands Environment Centre, despite funding cuts and reduced capacity, hopes the event can continue in 2016 with the assistance of a community organising committee.


© Arid Lands Environment Centre & Partners 2016. Participate Learn Create.