Menu Close

Sustainable Futures Festival News

Download your copy of the Festival Day program here.

Humpback Whale on Wheels!

2 September 2022

One of the highlights of the Sustainable Futures Festival will be the Huge Humpback Whale.

The Marine Parks Association (MPA), a local volunteer group, has renovated a large replica of a humpback whale which they hope is going to draw attention in highlighting the importance of looking after the oceans and in particular our local marine park sanctuary zones.

Iain Watt, President of EcoNetwork Port Stephens and Vice-President of MPA, and his daughter, Meg a marine sciences student from Southern Cross University, have volunteered to ‘drive’ the whale (on a trailer) around the Tomaree Peninsula beginning on Monday 5 September.

The Whale will be making stops at various locations including several school car parks, Nelson Bay town centre,  Salamander Bay Square and the Shoal Bay waterfront. The Whale will then be a highlight at the Sustainable Futures Festival on 11 September and children will be invited to enter a competition to name the whale. There will also be an opportunity to sign up for this year’s Human Whale!

Iain Watt says ‘ We all enjoy our coastal lifestyle, boating or snorkelling and, so together, we need to secure a future for our underwater reefs, seagrass beds and the rich biodiversity off the beautiful Port Stephens and NSW coastline.’

‘If we can engage the local community in marine conservation, then we can demonstrate that the most effective and internationally accepted system to protect key marine environments is through the establishment of sanctuary zones. These provide the highest level of biodiversity and ecological protection and where extraction activities are prohibited.’

If you are interested in following the Humpback Whale’s ‘migration’ across the Peninsula and hear more about the conservation measures needed in our marine parks, please contact Iain Watt on 0434 411354 or email Ewa for more details.


Bring your used batteries with you to the festival!

….. and donate them to Lions Club, Raymond Terrace.

The Raymond Terrace Lions Club, as part of Lions Club Australia have partnered with ecycle Australia, a national recycling company.

Look out for their stall at the festival and find our more about ecycle solutions.

By becoming a collection point for batteries, Lions Club will receive a small percentage from ecycle. 100% of these funds will go into local programs. 

It’ll be electrifying at the Sustainable Futures Festival!

17 August 2022

Come and meet EcoNetwork members, colleagues and businesses who know a thing or two about electric vehicles, electric outboard motors, solar panels, solar ovens and more! Would you like to save on energy bills?  Inspect an electric vehicle or see the latest in electric outboard motors. How does community power work?

Here are some of the many speakers, stalls and displays at the Sustainable Futures Festival on 11 September:

  • A special Electric Vehicle display by local owners for all your EV Q & A’s. Come and have a chat with an unbiased EV owner who won’t be trying to sell you their products but will share their first hand experience of owning an EV.   
  • E Class Outboards – Low noise, no fumes, no pull starts – just push button and go, always ready. Electric outboard motors have features that petrol outboards don’t, making boating safer for you and your loved ones.
  • Saving Money and Energy at Home – living sustainably in comfort all year round. Our experts from Beyond Zero Emissions will provide ideas in installing cost-effective retrofits, updating appliances and other useful tips to save money on energy costs.
  • Special guest speaker Dr Jarra Hicks is a founding director of the Community Power Agency, supporting communities to participate in and benefit from the transition to renewable energy.
  • Learn how to make your own sun-tracking portable solar panel for your caravan or camper trailer.

More electrifying displays:

  • Allegro Energy
  • Fixer Electrical – Electric Vehicle Charging Specialists
  • WONSO solar cooking

The aRRRRRt Awards, a Festival feature: finalists announced!

Victoria Page -Trapped

10 August 2022

The aRRRRRt awards recognise artists’ creativity to put the R into aRt: Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle. These inaugural awards are a special collaboration between EcoNetwork Port Stephens and Artisan Collective Port Stephens, celebrating EcoNetwork’s Sustainable Futures Festival.

All finalists will be on display and winners announced on 11 September at the Sustainable Futures Festival in the grounds of St Philip’s Christian College, Salamander Bay. An independent, esteemed artist from Newcastle will have the difficult job of selecting the winners from a very competitive pool.

Read More


Announcing the Speaker Program at our Sustainable Futures Festival.

3 August 2022

In partnership with local community groups, sustainability entrepreneurs, small businesses and Council, the festival program showcases an outstanding line-up of speakers, displays, entertainment and activities to entice and excite us! 

Save the date Sunday 11 September and join us at St Philip’s Christian College, Salamander Bay, Port Stephens. 

Gold coin donation on entry then all speakers, workshops and tent talks are free! For more details and to register your interest see our Festival page.


The Sustainable Futures Festival is excited to announce our special guest speaker, the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year – Professor Veena Sahajwalla.

24 June 2022

International award-winning scientist, engineer and ‘Eco Alchemist’.

Professor Veena Sahajwalla, ‘Eco Alchemist’, is one of the world’s leading innovators in the field of sustainable materials use and an international award-winning scientist and engineer.

She is passionate about mining the mountains of rubbish and waste materials produced by modern society and re-using them in industrial processes or to create new goods.

Read More


June 2022

Enjoy a wildflower walk in Tomaree National Park

Tomaree NP boasts a wonderland of winter wildflowers, especially along its sandy heathland areas. The Friends of Tomaree National Park, as part EcoNetwork Port Stephens Sustainable Futures Festival, will lead the walks.

Each walk is an easy circuit on fairly flat sandy tracks, shade is variable. The walk is 1 – 1.5 hrs.  

Participants will be advised of the meeting place closer to the walk dates, depending on what is flowering. The walks will be in the northern end of Tomaree National Park. Most likely opportunities are off Tallean Rd, Nelson Bay, or near the Fingal Bay Sports Club. Closer to the time we will check out the wildflowers! Cost: Free

Register Now


Rivers and oceans are integral to life in Port Stephens

20 June 2022

One of our Festival’s core themes is water. Join the Sustainable Futures Festival partnering with the Marine Parks Association for two film nights with an aquatic theme at the Nelson Bay Cinema.

On 29 June come and see Ocean, a free showing of short films about the sustainability of our sea and what the future holds for our magnificent Port Stephens Marine Park. Entry is free but advance bookings are essential.

On 28 July the internationally acclaimed film River is a breathtaking and musical odyssey exploring the intrinsic relationship between humans and our rivers over millennia.

A local perspective linking the Karuah and Myall Rivers with our estuary, will be presented by the Marine Parks Association.

The cost is $20, includes a free drink or snack. Get your tickets here.


The Sustainable Futures Gala Dinner

Photo © Henk Tobbe

4 June 2022

EcoNetwork Port Stephens launched its Sustainable Futures Festival at a Gala Dinner held at Saltwater Restaurant, Fingal Bay on 4 June 2022.

It was a wonderful night where EcoNetwork members, affiliated groups and friends let their hair down with special guests Artisan Collective, Asher Larkin’s Refit Fashions and music from Jude and the Dudes.

See more photos by Henk Tobbe.


The aRRRRRt Awards

Photo © Penny Amburg

June 2022

Entries have now closed for the aRRRRRt Awards. Keep your eyes peeled to find out where you can view the finalists on the aRRRRt trail

A special collaboration between EcoNetwork Port Stephens and Artisan Collective presents the aRRRRRt Awards. These awards encourage artists to put the R into art: rethink, reduce, reuse, repurpose or recycle.

The awards are a competition for visual media including, but not limited to, painting, wearable art, photography, ceramics, textiles, multi-media, animation, printmaking, sculpture, jewellery and other mediums.

Judging is based on relevance to the theme of supporting sustainable futures and artistic excellence. All funds generated through partnerships, sponsorships and commissions will be used in the running of the Sustainable Futures Festival and are continuously reinvested to encourage artistic endeavour and sustainable ways of living into the future.


Fantastic support for our Festival from Salamander Bay Recycling!

May 2022


This event is supported by Hunter Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.

February 2022


EcoNetwork is excited to welcome our new Festival partner – Koala Eco!

January 2022

Koala Eco is a family-owned NSW business producing the highest quality natural cleaning products. Their vision aligns perfectly with what EcoNetwork’s Sustainable Futures Festival represents:

‘To create safe, powerful, plant-based products using natural, sustainable ingredients, while aiding people’s wellbeing by connecting them to nature.’

The ingredients in Koala Eco products are sourced in Australia, supporting local economies and livelihoods. No new plastic is created – all containers are made with 100% recycled and recyclable materials. Check out their website – personally we love their lemon-scented eucalyptus and rosemary range of personal and household products!


Movie Night

December 2021

We had our first Sustainable Futures Festival lead-in event on 2 December 2021 – the screening of the film ‘2040’. The film features an inspiring message of hope about the environment, showing ways to deal with the climate crisis.

It was great to see so many people enjoy such an inspiring film and afterwards engage in some stimulating discussion. Many thanks to Port Stephens Council, Nelson Bay Cinemas, Port Stephens Packaging and Dominos Pizza for supporting the event.

Next, we are planning a gala dinner and fashion show in April. Watch this space – or better still Sign up to receive updates on EcoNetwork’s forthcoming events and other activities.