desertSMART EcoFair Program 2017

desertSMART EcoFair is Central Australia’s premier science and sustainability event.

desertSMART Ecofair is in its ninth year, with thousands of people having previously enjoyed high profile speakers, engaging panels and workshops, film screenings and the Sunday Sustainable Living Festival. Each year more than 2000 people attend the three day event.

desertSMART EcoFair is organised by the Arid Lands Environment Centre and aims to educate, inspire and activate the community around science and sustainability issues.


  • Engage the local community on science and sustainability issues
  • Provide young people an opportunity to engage in hands on science and sustainability activities
  • Encourage community discussion on sustainability initiatives in the arid zone
  • Expose Alice Springs residents to interstate guest speakers and science experts
  • Showcase Alice Springs unique science and sustainability initiatives and programs
  • Provide opportunities for sharing, networking and developing skills


In 2017 desertSMART EcoFair will be held across a number of venues in Alice Springs, including Olive Pink Botanic Gardens, The Alice Springs Community Garden and Snow Kenna Park.


Friday 11 August

9am – 2pm: Eco-Science Schools Day

Local school groups participate in hands-on science and sustainability workshops with Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs Town Council, Land for Wildlife, Australian-American Fulbright Commission, GHD Advisory, SEED Indigenous Youth Climate Network, Central Australian Frack Free Alliance, Live & Learn, Parks and Wildlife Commission NT, Central Australian Aboriginal Congress, National Rural Health Students Network, Alice Springs Desert Park, Jen Kreusser, and Costa Georgiadis (Gardening Australia).

4pm – 5.30pm ABC 783 Outside Broadcast @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

Join us at the Bean Tree Cafe Courtyard with special guest Costa Georgiadis and some great prizes up for grabs in The Great Science Quiz. This is a free family event.

5.45pm Critical Mass with Costa

Meet up with Costa on the Alice Springs Town Council lawns and ride en masse to the Bike Film Festival at Olive Pink Botanic Garden – make sure to rings those bells and make some noise on arrival!

6pm – 10pm Alice Springs Bicycle Film Festival @ Olive Pink Botanic Gardens

Alice Springs is once again having it’s very own Bicycle Film Festival. The popular family friendly event is back for it’s 8th year showing local, national and international bicycle films! $10 entry. No BYO – licensed bar and food available.

Saturday 12 August

9am – 11am Food For Alice @ ALEC, 90 Gap Road

ALEC’s weekly local fresh produce market is on again. Get in early and get your hit of locally grown goodies!

9.30am – 10.30am Bush Medicine Workshop @ ALEC, 90 Gap Road

Come and spend an hour learning how to make some bush medicine with Purple House Wellbeing Program.

2-7pm Garden to Plate @ Alice Springs Community Gardens

@ Frances Smith Memorial Gardens, Burke St

Entry: $20 entry, $10 concession; $5 after 4pm

2pm – 4pm Green Thumbs with Costa at the Community Gardens

Join us at the Community Garden and learn how to nurture gardens in arid zones with Costa Georgiadis from Gardening Australia.

4pm – 4.45pm Food for thought…how to make energy and fertiliser from organic waste with Associate Professor Bernadette McCabe

Around 4 million tonnes of food reaches landfill in Australia each year. Hear how waste-to-energy (WtE) technologies provide elegant solutions for food waste management, providing tangible and usable products including energy and fertiliser and attractive environmental and social benefits.

4.45pm – 6.30pm Bush Wok Cook Off

Opened by Rayleen Brown from Kungkas Can Cook.

Roy Price’s BushWok Challenge will see 5 teams battling it out for the Golden Wok Trophy

Join the audience as we watch these amateurs cook off in Bush Woks using local produce and bush foods to create a fantastic feast to tantalise the tastebuds and win over our judges.

6.30pm – 7pm Live Music 

Music with Miles Jennings

Food and drinks will be available at the gardens throughout the day.

Sunday 13 August

9.30-2.30pm Sustainable Living Festival @ Snow Kenna Park

9.45am Welcome to Country @ Outdoor Stage

Join us for a Welcome to Country with Aunty Doris Stuart

Presentations at the Totem Theatre

10am – 11am Learn to Live Desert Smart

Learn how to make a practical difference in our daily lives. This discussion looks at sustainable fashion, food, water, energy and low-waste living.

11.15am – 12.15pm Excellent adventures: Sustaining Tourism in Central Australia

2017 is the International Year of Sustainable Tourism, explore how tourism is making itself sustainable in the Centre

12.30pm – 1.30pm Alice Solar City and Beyond

Giles Parkinson – Renew Economy – with RePower Alice Springs and Desert Knowledge Australia

Find out the latest from the clean energy front and learn how Alice Springs can build on its Solar City vision, move towards a target of 100% renewable energy by 2030 and support cheap power across region

Workshops at the Over 50s Centre

10.30am – 11.30am Community-owned Solar in our own backyard – what will it take?

Across the world communities are working together to unlock community-owned power for the transition to renewable energy systems. Community energy projects come in all shapes and sizes with the promise to decarbonise, decentralise and democratise our energy systems. Come and join RePower Alice Springs at this forum to find out more about community energy, hear about the potential for Alice Springs and opportunities to get involved.

11.30am – 12.30pm Closing the loop on food waste in Alice Springs

The drive for communities and businesses to reap the rewards of extracting value from food waste is a result of an emerging trend in infrastructure planning. This workshop will discuss the key criteria in determining the feasibility in planning a waste-to-energy project.

12.30pm – 1.30pm Making bee friendly gardens

Join Geoff Miers from “Garden Solutions” and the Alice Springs Beekeepers to learn more about bee sustainability and how to create a magnificent garden to attract bees to ensure their survival. Dr. Lamorna Osborne representing the NSW Amateur Beekeepers Association will also be in attendance to answer any questions on Beekeeping.

Around Snow Kenna Park

10am – 1pm The Book Swap

Finished with that book and want a new one? Bring your books down to the book stall and swap it for another one! Bring your books early or drop off in advance to the ALEC Centre.

11am – 11.30am & 1pm – 1.30pm Make cloths nappies (at the Birth & Beyond stall.)

11.30 – 12.30pm Bike Maintenance. Learn how to better maintain your bicycle at the Ultimate Ride Stall.

10.30am – 11am & 1pm – 1.30pm TESLA – Join the discussion around getting prepared for electronic vehicles at the Tesla vehicle stall

1.30pm – 2.30pm Significant Tree Tour @ Outdoor Stage

Land for Wildlife will lead a loop tour of the significant trees in the CBD.

Kids Activities!

10am – 1.30pm Eco Kids Space

Activities for kids will be running all day at the kids space.

10.30am – 11.30am Bilby Trilogy Readings

Come and listen as local author Kaye Kessing reads from the Bilby Trilogy.

12pm -1pm FacePainting

Face painting with Karine Tremblay


Costa Georgiadis with students from Living Waters School at EcoScience Schools Day 2016

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