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New festival urges Tasmanians to live life with a small footprint

The TreadLightly EnviroFest is coming up in June - designed to encourage more members in the community to think about the global impacts of climate change and how to live more sustainably.

To highlight the message, people who ride a bike to the festival will get in for free while it’s a gold coin donation if you take the bus.

TreadLightly EnviroFest will be held at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens from 10:30am until 3pm on Sunday 8 June 2008.

Environment Division deputy general manager John Mollison says the festival aims to raise awareness about how people can live a healthy, active, socially and ecologically responsible and sustainable lifestyle.

"The festival will demonstrate ways Tasmanians can make a difference and minimise their impact on the planet. By becoming more aware, participants gain knowledge about ways they can support sustainable local industry and products," he said.

"It's also a great chance to learn more about local produce, how to use seasonal foods for more sustainable cooking, different types of waste management and other steps people can take to help reduce their footprint, " Mark Fountain, Gardens manager of Botanical and Public Programs, said.

The festival has been organised by the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens in partnership with the Environment Division of the Department of Environment, Parks, Heritage and the Arts.

At today's launch of the event, a team of local chefs and producers laid out a table full of local, seasonal produce, from apples and pears to pumpkins, cheese and walnuts.

Kevin said one of the best things about living in Tasmania is the incredible diversity of producers.

"I welcome the challenge of organising food for a festival within a 100-mile limit. It's a great way to get people talking about seasonal foods and recognising who grows what, where and when."

At the festival, a marquee will be established filled with local produce and talks will be held throughout the event on topics ranging from bush tucker and local produce to composting.

Also at today's launch, installation artist and landscaper Mark 'Ikia' Healy used a blend of botanical pieces to create a mini-mandala on the lawns at the Gardens.

At the festival, Ikia will be inviting patrons to join him in creating artforms made from materials found in nature, including leaves, branches and flowers.

Other activities will include:

• Local artists using waste from the Gardens to create installations in different locations;
• Exhibits showing examples of water-wise living, recycling and waste management;
• Displays and hands-on activities coordinated by the Environment Division, and;
• A wide range of entertainment, including roving theatre with an environmental theme.

The TreadLightly EnviroFest will wrap up a week of celebrations to mark World Environment Day on Thursday 5 June 2008. The theme for 2008 is "CO2: Kick the Habit!" which encourages everyone to embrace the challenges of living in a low carbon economy.

"The festival is where Tasmanians can learn how to conserve their use of water and energy - and make better consumer choices," John said.

The festival follows the Earth Hour challenge where businesses were asked to help reduce the state’s carbon footprint by switching off lights for one hour.

Mark said TreadLightly EnviroFest is part of the 190th Birthday celebrations at the Gardens.

'It is also one of four seasons of activities offered here at the Gardens - which includes the Spring Tulip festival, Summer theatre, and the Autumn KidsFest."

The entry cost will be for adults and a gold coin donation for concession card holders and people who make their way to the festival on public transport.

Children under the age of 16 can enter for free – along with people who ride a bike. Free bike safety checks will also be on offer throughout the day.

The festival will be held on Sunday 8 June 2008.