This was originally published back in 2017.
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Fresh from a season at the Sydney Opera House, the Hastings’ own Frugal Forest is coming home. On September 9th, Sea Acres Rainforest Centre will be opening the doors on a five month exhibition, supported by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council and National Parks and Wildlife Service. The day starts with a free opportunity to Meet the Makers: from 9am to 12pm, the public is invited to drop in and chat to contributing artists or take a guided tour through the installation. Thereafter, the exhibition is open every day from 9am to 4:30pm, with gold coin donations going towards the project.

The Forest, a lifelike immersive forest installation complete with soundscape, was created over three years by artists, scientists, musicians, and community. It was driven by a group of Hastings residents and soon spread to include over 1100 participants across the Mid North Coast. Since completion, it has toured to seven venues in NSW and been visited by more than 53,000 people, who have touched, listened, explored and wondered their way through the space.  But aside from being a sensory experience, this is a forest with a story: everything, down to the last leaf and the last bird call, has been made from materials that were headed to landfill.

“Nothing’s wasted in a forest,” said Bryony Anderson, director of the project. “Every dead thing becomes nutrients for new life, and that shows us that an endlessly sustainable, zero waste system is not only possible, it also has huge potential”.

During the exhibition, Sea Acres will also be presenting a series of creative reuse workshops by Frugal Arts Inc for children and adults. SEE WORKSHOP DETAILS HERE. Schools are able to book guided tours and craft activities: adults can learn practical re-use skills from Frugal craft-masters in friendly Saturday afternoon sessions over a cup of tea. More information can be found on  the Frugal Arts Facebook page or by contacting for a full list of workshop dates.

“The Frugal Forest has been awarded for Excellence in Environmental Education,” said Chay Khamsone, who heads up the education program and has also developed free online learning tools to enrich the Frugal Forest experience. “Our workshops are run by experienced artists and educators and are great fun for all involved.”