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The Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living: Learn how to live better

The Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living is a not-for-profit, community-based education and demonstration centre which is leading the way in showing individuals and families how to live more sustainably. Visitors to the centre can take part in tours, festivals, markets, workshops, research, art, gardening and music events which showcase a way of living that is better for the planet.

The centre is part of The Australian Botanic Garden at Mount Annan which offers over 400 hectares of natural woodland, stunning gardens and open spaces. So, after your visit you can spend a few hours exploring the gardens, having a picnic or taking a guided tour to learn about the history of the area.

The Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living is built using the best practises of sustainable design and construction, utilising renewable and recycled building materials. It is powered by solar panels, battery and a wind turbine. Grey and black water is recycled through reed beds, while stormwater is collected and used for toilet flushing and irrigation. Fruit, vegetables and native plants are grown onsite using sustainable gardening techniques.

Get involved

As you enter the centre you are struck by a sense of peace and tranquillity that can only help to reinforce the need for us all to make better choices and increase our knowledge in order to protect our planet and its beautiful open spaces.

The centre is supported by local Macarthur Councils, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain Trust and has a particular focus on celebrating the diversity of the local area by ensuring entire community involvement. One of their main focusses is education and they have an extensive school group program through which student groups can experience firsthand how we can all help society ‘go green’ in both our built and the natural environment.

There are monthly free workshops that focus on educating people on the practises to live more sustainably. Plastic Free Lunches and Snacks for Children gives busy parents practical advice for minimising waste. With the majority of the surrounding area living in apartments or moderately- sizes houses, Small Space Gardening shows that growing vegetables and herbs is possible in any space. And, there are also workshops just for children, including Micro Zookeeper and Kids Gardening and Cooking.

The centre also offers a nationally accredited barista course with a twist. In partnership with the Macarthur Tourism, Travel and Events College, participants will learn how to make coffee in an environmentally sustainable way.

There’s an extensive volunteer program that has opportunities for members of the community from 17 years and older. Individuals and community groups are recruited to participate in activities and programs which help the centre achieve its objectives.

The main opportunities are for volunteer guides to provide visitors with general orientation as well as taking visitors on guided walks around the centre. Green fingered garden volunteers are also needed to work on the demonstration gardens by sowing, collecting, and propagating plants.

If you live in Sydney, or you’re staying a while, volunteer at the Macarthur Centre of Sustainable Living or attend a workshop. With workshops including topics such as Sustainable Christmas, Small Space Gardening and Plastic Free Lunches, those travellers with an open mind and a caring heart for the environment will thrive here. Meanwhile, tours of the establishment are on offer throughout the week for those hoping to gain some inspiration in the field of sustainability and community values.

Where?

Website: www.mcsl.org.au

Address: 1 Mount Annan Drive, Mount Annan, NSW 2567

When?

Monday – Friday | 9.30am – 4pm

Saturday – Sunday | Closed

Jennifer Gaskin
Jen is obsessed with both food and travel. She believes that the way we explore the world, and our own backyards, can have a profoundly positive effect on the planet and its people. Her favourite things to do are explore far-flung corners of the globe, eat as many different types of food as possible and work up a sweat in the boxing ring!