We planned to get there for the “Solar Passive Building Design” and “Greywater and Rainwater Use” presentations and a quick look around, but ended up staying until after 5pm.
The exhibits, shows, and especially the talks were not as well attended as I would have expected, but that did mean it was pleasant to make your own time around the centre and reserve with plenty of elbow room. We stayed clear of the amphitheatre, reserve, and ice cream van that was mostly set up for the occupants of pushchairs and anklebiters. Although we did walk to the rear of the reserve where the scouts had set up a sausage sizzle and observed that the kids appeared to be having a good time with bubbles, creating indigenous music, pieces of art on calico bags, and sand sculpture.
We attended the presentations on:
- Solar Passive Building Design
- Greywater and Rainwater Use
- Project Numbat
We visited and collected pamphlets from:
- South East Regional Centre for Urban Landcare (SERCUL) were promoting their Clean Drains River Gains Campaign and Phosphorus Awareness Project emphasising that we can prevent stormwater pollution by being aware of what goes down the drain outside your house leads to your local river or wetland. They also had some brochures on the application rates of fertilisers and growing local plants depending on your soil type. They also provided a Havasak that displays the Clean Drains River Drains slogan and picture of a frog.
- I purchased some pink and white everlasting seeds and growing instructions from the Western Australian Naturalists’ Club.
- One of the Perth Hydrogen Fuel Cell Buses were there so we could peek in the various hatches that contained the electric engine, running gear, and air intake. The more interesting bits like the hydrogen cylinders and fuel cell stacks were in a cage on the roof. My brochure contained a push-out cardboard model that I can assemble. If you are in Perth, they run on various routes during the week and have a special timetable.
- H has grand plans for an underground water tank, but I spotted Rainfill Tanks (offices in Osborne Park and Busselton) that manufacture round and oblong water tanks. I collected their brochure as we have room for an oblong tank on the side of the house where the wall is indented, but the roof still follows the line of the original part of the house.
- Convervation Volunteers Australia offer a timetable for the next two months that includes state-wide and international events. This is a good organisation to belong to if you are interested in conservation and the environment and want to participate in different projects.
- Ross Mars from Greywater Reuse System provided brochures on greywater re-use systems, permaculture, and presented a talk on using greywater and rainwater. I think it was Danny on the Rainfill Tanks exhibit stall that commented that there is no point in collecting water, unless you are going to use it. So it was good for Ross to follow this up in this talk.
- Project Numbat were exhibiting and presenting at their first public event having newly formed last year. I learnt with surprise that there are estimated to be only 1500 individuals in the wild. During her presentation, Vicki Power quite candidly said that most people knew about the endangered Giant Panda, but that few West Australians knew that their animal emblem was also on the vunerable/endagered list along with the panda. Numbats are the animal emblem of Western Australia.
- Birds Australia Western Australia had a display of very nice books, some available for purchase. It was only very recent (thanks Grahame) that I learnt that the bird that hangs its wings out to dry that I observe on my bicycle ride to university are cormorants. So a bird book may be in order.
- Wildflower Society of Western Australia (WSWA) also had a range of books. I already have The New Native Garden by Paul Urquhart (review by Diana Snape), but I was very interested in a WSWA resource file that I think was called “Grow Locals”. There are lots of inspiring photographs and ideas in Urquhart’s book, but I think the WSWA publication will be more helpful with selecting indigenous plant species.
- On the way into the Piney Lakes Environmental Education Centre we were handed a couple of flyers on the Australian Orangutan Project. We didn’t visit their stall because living near the Perth Zoo, we are very aware of this project.
- The West Australian Bird of Prey Centre had brought four of their birds, including a Barn Owl, Whistling Kite, Little Eagle, and Nankeen Kestrel. They do flying displays at Whiteman Park. Watching the birds’ very large eyes, especially on the owl and eagle, slowly blink was a little unnerving. I thought to myself, I wonder if they have a feeding time show for the children 🙂
- The Department of Agriculture exhibit stall included many of their publications and fact sheets including Garden Notes. I picked up You can help keep Western Australia free of pest animals (PDF), and Harmful garden plants in Western Australia (PDF). They also had an insect display, and I spotted the ‘thing’ that we have recently found a few of in our garden. It is a Mole Cricket. The fellow also explained that the “frog sounds” that we were hearing were not frogs, but the Mole Cricket. Sigh. And I thought we were blessed with a healthy garden because we have frogs. Instead, it’s a very common insect, and considered to be a pest according to Common insect pests and diseases on vegetables in the home garden (PDF).
- From the Bibbulmun Track Foundation, I collected their March to July 2007 Calendar of Events. The Pub, Pumps & Pipes and L-Plates Pub Plod sound more my style. Both end up at the Mundaring Weir Hotel 🙂 Unfortunately, they are popular and are fully booked according to their website. I also picked up the 7 Principles of Leave No Trace card. I think these cards should be available at other events, for example, Fiesta 2007, Red Bull Air Race, Australia Day Fireworks, Perth Christmas Pageant, just to name a few. There are a lot of people that have attended these events that need a special awareness campaign that they can take their rubbish with them.
- Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre brought some of their animals. I did not watch their presentation, but did see the wallaby and bilby before they covered their cages to take them home.
- xquisit organics had a very full display of stuff. I did not stop to look, but I could smell some of the essential oils used in the various products.
- Spineless Wonders had a wonderful display of creatures, both very much alive and some fortunately I was pleased were well preserved specimens. The enthusiasm of the two people that were showing visitors the creepy crawlies had the children entranced.
- H had talked with Stephen from Solar Engineering Services in Willetton at a previous fair or expo. They manufacture solar air heaters. Stephen also gave a presentation on building design with regard to solar energy. 900,000 airconditioners are installed in Australia every year. Multiply that by 2kW, and it works out to be a rather large number which I’m sure most energy suppliers to the grid should be concerned about. They may need to budget for a new power station, just for the airconditioners.
I can’t believe we were out and about at Envirofest 2007 for over five hours. But we have a lot more info on greywater re-use, and H is already mentally designing our own. Also, when I get my MAKE Controller Kit, I will be able to start our passive heating and cooling project by being able to measure the inside and outside temperature. Who says DIY and home renovations can’t be fun!