desertSMART EcoFair Program 2016


desertSMART EcoFair is in its eighth year and is organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre, as part of National Science Week. desertSMART EcoFair aims to educate, inspire and activate the community around science and sustainability issues, and features high profile speakers, engaging panels and workshops, films and the popular Sunday EcoMarkets.

In 2016 special guests include Professor Lesley Hughes (Climate Council), Claire O’Rourke (Solar Citizens) and desertSMART EcoFair ambassador Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia).


Friday 12th August


9am-2pm Eco-Science Schools Day @ Olive Pink Botanic Garden
Local school groups participate in hands on workshops on the issues of energy, water, land management, climate, health, science and technology. With special guests Vanessa Farrelly (SEED), Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) and workshops by Engineers Without Borders Australia, Australian Youth Climate Coalition, Parks and Wildlife Commission NT, Land for Wildlife, Live and Learn, and National Rural Health Students Network.

4pm-6pm ABC 783 Outside Broadcast @ Olive Pink Botanic Garden
Join us at the Bean Tree Café Courtyard with the desertSMART EcoFair ABC783 Drive Outside Broadcast. Guest speakers include Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia), Vanessa Farrelly (SEED), plus some great prizes are up for grabs in the Great Science Quiz. This is a free family event.

6pm-10pm Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival @ Olive Pink Botanic Garden

The popular family event is back with local, national, and international films all featuring the humble bicycle! Music, fires for warmth, a great starry sky and food. Food and bar available from 6pm. $5


Saturday 13th August


10.30am-11.30am Understanding Your Waste Tours @ the Regional Waste Management Facility

Join the Alice Springs Town Council on a behind-the-scenes tour of the Regional Waste Management Facility. Gain a better understanding of the processing of waste and what is currently recyclable in Alice Springs. 15 minute tours at 10.30am, 11.00am, 11.30am. Meet at the Rediscovery Centre. RSVP to 89500594 Also Doll It Down Exhibition Opening at the Rediscovery Centre at 10am.

1.30pm-3.30pm Nurturing Gardens with Costa @ Alice Springs Community Garden

Frances Smith Memorial Park

Learn how to nurture arid zone gardens with Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia) and local gardening experts in the beautiful surrounds of the Alice Springs Community Garden. $20. Pay at the gate.

5.30pm Science Under the Stars @ Earth Sanctuary World Nature Centre

Enjoy a sunset tour of the Earth Sanctuary, a 3 course dinner, a star tour, desertSMART EcoFair special guests and entertainment under the stars. Tickets: $65 Book online at: Shuttle bus to and from venue available. More information 89522497


Sunday 14th August


9am-3pm Sunday Eco-markets

Join us in the Alice Springs Desert Park Courtyard for the EcoFair Sustainable Living Festival and Eco-markets. Enjoy keynote presentations, workshops, children’s activities and market stalls. With feature speakers Professor Lesley Hughes (Climate Council), Claire O’Rourke (Solar Citizens) and Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia). $5. More information

Sunday Eco-Markets Program

8am Bike ride to the Alice Springs Desert Park with Costa Georgiadis Meet @ ALEC 90 Gap Road. Join Costa in a fun group bike ride via the new bike track to the Alice Springs Desert Park.

Keynote Speakers: Theatrette

10am: Welcome to Country with Aunty Doris Stuart and Costa Georgiadis

10.15am The Science of Social Media with Costa Georgiadis

Social media has become an incredible platform for sharing information. Join social media whiz Costa Georgiadis to explore what techniques work.

11am Solar Technology and the Energy Revolution with Claire O-Rourke, National Director, Solar Citizens.

Solar Citizens have produced the Home Grown Energy Plan, which shows Australia could repower all homes and businesses with 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030. Learn how innovation in renewable technologies is changing the energy game.

12pm Climate Science and Communicating Change with Professor Lesley Hughes

The Climate Council is at the forefront of communicating the latest climate science to decision makers and the wider community. What is ‘climate science’ and what influences the way it is communicated?

1pm Ninu Festival and Bilby conservation in the Kiwirrkurra Indigenous Protected Area with Kate Crossing and the Kiwirrkurra Rangers

In June, Kiwirrkurra hosted the first ever Ninu (Bilby) Festival, bringing together Aboriginal land managers, scientists and other partners to share their knowledge, skills and ideas for looking after the bilby. Hear about this inspiring event, and how proud the Kiwirrkurra Rangers feel to be part of the shared effort to protect the Bilby.

Presentations: Old Entry Station

11.30am Protecting Threatened Species with Kate Crossing and the Kiwirrkurra Rangers @ Old Entry Station

Learn how Kiwirrkurra Aboriginal Rangers work to protect the bilby and other threatened species.

1.30pm The Science of Community Organising with Claire O’Rourke (Solar Citizens), Daniel Spencer (Australian Youth Climate Coalition) and Nicole Pietsch (Arid Lands Environment Centre). Hosted by Costa Georgiadis @Old Entry Station

Explore how research, technology, and strategy are influencing community campaigns and local volunteer engagement.


10.30am & 12.30pm: Floating Platform Competition @ Engineers Without Borders Stall  Test your construction skills by designing and building a floating platform. Whichever platform can support the most amount of marbles without capsizing or sinking wins. For kids & big kids!

11.00am: TaKeTiNa Meet at EcoFair entry desk.

TaKeTiNa is a rhythmic moving meditative group process using clapping, stepping and the voice. Deeply relaxing and lots of fun, it offers surprising access to our unconscious and opportunities to transform habitual patterns.

11.30am: Bush-medicine Making Workshop @ the Purple House stall (Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation)

Come and learn how to prepare traditional bush remedies and make healing balms from native plants in the Central Australian Region Cost: $15.00 includes a take home tub of the bush balms you will help make. Book at stall on the day.

1pm: Bicycle Maintenance Workshop @ Ultimate Ride Stall

Learn arid-zone basic bike maintenance skills and tricks. Basic bike equipment and services will be available throughout the day at the stall.

2pm: Twitching Tour Meet at EcoFair entry desk.

Learn some skills and tips for birdwatching using scopes and binoculars. With Birdlife Central Australia.


Kids Space:

10.00am Puppet Show: Aunt Lottie & the Dumpster Pirates

Learn how to reduce food waste with Aunt Lottie and her friends the Dumpster Pirates.

10.30am Bilby Ring Trilogy Reading

The Bilby’s Ring explores environmental themes and ultimately the importance of kindness and hope. Make some bilby ears and listen to a reading by local author Kaye Kessing.

12pm Facepainting with Karine Tremblay

1pm Jamming with Professor Junk

Explore sounds using recycled objects.


The guest presenters for this years EcoFair are:


Professor Lesley Hughes, Climate Council Councilor

Lesley Hughes is a Distinguished Professor of Biology and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Integrity & Development) at Macquarie University. Her research has mainly focused on the impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems.

She is a former federal Climate Commissioner and former Lead Author in the IPCC’s 4th and 5th Assessment Report. She is also a Director for WWF Australia, a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists, the Director of the Biodiversity Node for the NSW Adaptation Hub and a member of the expert advisory committee for Future Earth Australia.

Claire O’Rourke, National Director Solar Citizens

Claire’s interest in solar began in 2008 when she installed a solar hot water system as part of a renovation designed to reduce her home’s energy footprint. Claire brings 15 years experience in journalism, communications and campaigning to Solar Citizens. Claire has a broad history of organising and campaigning in the labor movement and organisations of social value, including overseeing communications for the successful Every Australian Counts campaign for the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Costa Georgiadis, Gardening Australia

Costa Georgiadis sees the world through different eyes. He lives for connections, creativity and community. From the way we at look and deal with our waste, to the food we produce and share around our tables, it’s what drives our connection to the planet that fuels, feeds and nurtures us. He sees life and hope in the streets, roads and open spaces of our cities and towns, as the living and breathing arteries of community that need to be utilised and celebrated as places to build biodiversity and food security back  into our local landscapes.

Individual health starts in a garden or verge near you. In these times of great change and uncertainty, Costa sees creative opportunity at every corner. We are what we eat and where we live, so lets create a fertile future through our daily actions, no matter how small they may appear to be because as individuals are choices matter.


Professor Lesley Hughes (Climate Council)

Professor Lesley Hughes (Climate Council)

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