Gold Coast Green Weekend is a sustainability festival hosted by Gecko Environmental Council with a specific focus that shifts slightly from year to year, depending on the theme for World Environment Day. This year, the theme is ‘Beat Plastic Pollution’. The 2018 festival calendar consists of around 12 events that include nature walks and tours, wildlife expos, tree plantings and more, all hosted by local business and organisations. We caught up with Gecko president and event co-ordinator Anna Itkonen and some of the participants ahead of the weekend.
Anna explains why the event is so important to the Gold Coast.
“Gold Coast is a biodiversity hotspot and world heritage listed forest and through this calendar of events we wish to foster a love and appreciation for the unique environment that Gold Coasters inhabit. And obviously not just us, but the visitors that come here to enjoy the wonderful lifestyle that is Gold Coast. We also firmly believe that the more people engage with their environment, the more they take ownership over it, make sustainable lifestyle choices and find the value and importance in preserving and protecting our natural environment.”
One of the ways in which the community can engage with the environment over the weekend is with the Preston Park Habitat Tree Walkthrough, run by Habi-Tec.
“[Habi-Tec is] an arboricultural and Consultancy firm dedicated to researching and improving wildlife habitat quality, health and diversity in urban and natural areas,” says Anna.
“They started as arborists but took their business to new direction with starting to prune dead trees in a way that would enable natural tree hollows and by starting to create artificial tree hollows to make up for loss of habitat. They are now working with private landowners, animal rescue organisation and councils alike. For Green Weekend they are organising a tour in one of the council parks where they have been able to successfully create habitat for wildlife. It is a great success story that the community wouldn’t even notice even though they probably use these parks daily. We want to showcase this kind of work, get the community to marvel in their everyday natural environment and celebrate the great, innovative work done by companies like Habi-Tec.”
Jenny Madigan of Greenhouse Canteen and Bar in Coolangatta is not only the Vice President of Gecko Environmental Council, but will also be hosting the second annual World Environment Day Banquet at the popular venue.
“The dinner will be a celebratory banquet and will also include inspirational speakers on the topic of plastic pollution which is the theme of this year’s World Environment Day,” explains Jenny.
“I think events like Green Weekend are extremely important to the Gold Coast as a way of raising awareness of environmental issues and also in celebrating the environment as a community, in particular because we are a community that often values the almighty tourist dollar over the pristine environment that we are lucky enough to call home.”
Gold Coast Green Weekend runs from 1 until 5 June. The full listing of events is available at gecko.org.au/gold-coast-green-weekend.