Amazing EnviroRace 2023

The Amazing Enviro Race was held on Friday 14th of April 2023 at the beautiful Manilla Showgrounds.
Sustainable North West worked in collaboration with Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc’s volunteers as part of the Renewable Manilla Festival.

It was wonderful to be able to hold the event in real life, after virtual events in previous years.

Over 12 teams consisting of more than 40 students, and 3 family teams  participated.

Each team completed a series of challenge activities aimed at educating competitors about sustainable practices. It was both a time and point based challenge.

Additional points awarded for best costume and good sportsmanship. 

6 teams were awarded trophies – created by local artists. 

An additional team won a fishing rod – donated by the Aboriginal Rangers. 



Topic areas covered by the challenges include;

  • Water conservation through water use and best practise
  • Energy use  – how reduction in light bulb wattage resulted in lower electricity costs
  • Energy bill literacy – fixed costs versus usage costs
  • Electric vehicle trip planning
    – Using a Tesla use the dashboard interface to plan travel from Manilla to Brisbane
  • Solar PV – facts and usage
  • Native seedlings and how to propagate
  • Upcycling – turning waste into useful items
  • Healthy soils to improve yield
  • Drivers of waste generation
  • plus a Gum boot toss.

The key to the success of the event was the sponsorship from local Council, as well as the support from many local organisations, groups and local businesses;

  • Tamworth Regional Council Sustainability Unit
    – Water
    – Waste
    – Energy
  • Aboriginal Rangers – Tamworth Local Aboriginal Lands Council
  • CNRL Innovation Studio
  • KOMO Energy
  • Manilla Community Renewable Energy Inc.
  • Manilla Landcarers
  • Tamworth Regional Landcare
  • Tamworth Organic Gardeners
  • Sustainable North West
  • Tamworth Art Collective


Prizes included vouchers from local businesses;

  • Carlo’s IGA
  • The Manilla Pharmacy
  • Molly May’s
  • Burrells Bazaar
  • The Cheeky Butcher
  • Manilla Newsagency
  • Manilla Meats
  • The North Store
  • Hart Rural
  • Hair by TJ
  • Amanda’s Hair Design
  • Manilla Bakery

Although the event was delivered during the school holidays – a good selection of local school were represented.

  • Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School
  • McCarthy Catholic College
  • Calrossy Anglican School
  • Manilla Central School
  • St Josephs Manilla
  • Oxley Vale Public School
  • Currabubula Public School
  • Tamworth Public School
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Amazing EnviroRace 2021 – WFH – Covid Edition

The event was again delivered electronically  – with some children dialling in from home or school. The Amazing Enviro Race was very flexible in 2021. Delivered to over 6 schools and in Gunnedah and Tamworth, using a system of zoom meeting rooms, digital forms and web resources.

Schools involved

  • Farrer Memorial Agricultural High School
  • Gunnedah High School
  • Carinya Christian School Gunnedah
  • Carinya Christian School Tamworth
  • McCarthy Catholic College
  • Calrossy Anglican School
  •  Oxley High School
  • Tamworth High School

Students were challenged to consider problems and solutions around

  • Water conservation through water wise garden design
  • Energy use, electricity costs and bill literacy
  • Waste generation and legislation
  • Chaffey dam and our local water catchment
  • Water health & local aquatic creatures and habitat • Recycling household items and the importance of correct sorting
  • Community Recycling Centre locations
  • Bird Habitat and the solutions to save the critically endangered Regent Honey Eater
  • Native seedlings and how to propagate
  • The drivers of sustainable development
  • Upcycling – turning waste into useful items
  • Bushfire resilience and the threats from climate change
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Amazing EnviroRace 2020 – Covid Edition


Delivered to over 6 schools and in Gunnedah and Tamworth, using a system of zoom meeting rooms, digital forms and web resources.

Students made their own up-cycled speakers and designed water smart gardens and completed a scavenger hunt around their school.


Amazing EnviroRace 2019


Carter Street sporting fields Tamworth.


Amazing EnviroRace 2018

The 2018 Sustainable North West Amazing Enviro Race Sponsored by Tamworth Regional Council was held in Bicentennial Park on Friday the 23rd of March.


In 2018, the Amazing Enviro Race is in its 6th successful year on Friday 23rd March

140 students from high schools in the Tamworth region will race for team
and school prizes.

The event attracts major media attention and is promoted heavily on social media platforms. Currently the Sustainable North West Facebook page has over 1100 likes.

An opportunity to engage with the young adults and families of our region. 

Sustainable North West is a sub-committee of Tamworth Regional Landcare.

The Amazing Enviro Race is supported by Tamworth Regional Council, community groups and selected local businesses. 

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Amazing EnviroRace 2017

Winner Junior: Apple Watch

Winner Senior: Go-Pro

Tamworth’s green youth were off and running again in Sustainable North Wests’ Amazing Enviro Race on Friday 10 March 2017 at Bicentennial Park. The event, now in its fifth year, is a series of physical and mental challenges based on environment and sustainability issues. The kids complete a short course through Bicentennial Park and surrounds competing in ten challenges all while dressed up in “anything green”.


The race was open to school students in year 7 to 12, and attracted over 100 entries. The Race is part of the Sustainable North West Program, encompassing a series of events held each year aimed at educating, informing and inspiring residents of the North West to live more sustainably.

The FREE event aims to engage our regions high school students to think about what they can do to minimise their impact on the environment in a fun and creative way.

“Last year 70 participants from local schools, sporting clubs and youth groups participated with this year shaping up to be even bigger. The help and support of Tamworth Regional Council’s Sustainability Unit has been essential in allowing the Committee to put the event on.” said Stephanie Cameron, Chair of the Sustainable North West Committee.

“Entry is free with two age categories (Junior and Senior) and major prizes for the first pair home, as well as a number of prizes for best dressed & ‘lucky entry’ prizes. Prizes include: Apple watches, Fit Bits, Saltwater Wine Vouchers, drones and more – but you have to be in it to win it!” Ms Cameron said.

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Sustainable Cooking from Garden to Plate


They say you are what you eat, so we want to eat sustainably! Check out these 5 Sustainable Cooking Tips – being sustainable from your garden to your plate!

1. Grow food from scraps

Leftover food isn’t just for composting – if you’re careful about how you cut them, many vegetable scraps can be encouraged to grow into new plants. Much less fiddly than growing from seed!

Onions – cut off the root with a little bit of the onion flesh. Plant this just under the soil in a sunny position. In a few months when the stalk turns yellow you have a new onion!

Celery – ensure the base is intact. Put the water for a week, changing the water every couple of days. Once yellow leaves grow out of the stem plant it into a pot with soil. The temperature needs to be warm, but not too hot!

Potatoes – once ‘eyes’ form, cut the potatoes into 2 inch pieces – make sure each piece has 1-2 ‘eyes’. Leave at room temperature for a few days so the cut surface area dries out. Plant in a pot of rich, moist soil 8 inches down with the ‘eyes’ facing up. When you see roots add more soil to the pot.

Onions – cut off the root with a little bit of the onion flesh. Plant this just under the soil in a sunny position. In a few months when the stalk turns yellow you have a new onion!

2. Companion Planting instead of Insecticides

Pests and diseases can be controlled by planting beneficial ‘companion plants’ with your fruit and vegetables. These plants contain natural chemicals that deter pests or attract beneficial insects and animals that prey on pests – and a biodiverse vegetable patch is beneficial for the soil, for attracting pollinators and encouraging a variety of insects to feast off each other instead of your vegetables!

Marigolds – repels white fly and root knot nematode. Plant plenty with Broccoli, Lettuce and Tomato.

Dill – attracts a wasp that controls Cabbage White Butterfly. Plant with Cabbages, Cauliflower, Celery, Cucumber, Lettuce and Zucchini. Keep away from Carrots and Tomatoes!

Chives – deters aphids and prevents Apple Scab. Plant with Apples, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Peas.

Tansy – repels moths, flies and ants. Plant beneath peach trees to repel harmful flying insects.

Sweet Corn – perhaps the most practical of Companion Planting, these work as a living frame for climbing peas and beans!

3. Create your own Fertilizer

Composting and worm farming diverts unavoidable food waste from landfill while producing rich, natural fertiliser for your pot plants and garden. You can use compost, worm castings and worm juice to feed your plants and improve your soil.

Make sure your soil is kept moist with regular watering and a thick layer of mulch. Pots dry out quickly and need extra attention, but make sure they are not over-watered.

Many local councils offer weekend workshops on composting, worm farming, permaculture and organic gardening. Contact your local council to find out more.

4. Preserve your excess Fruit and Vegetables

When you grow your own food you will inevitably find you sometimes have more than you can eat. While it is nice to gift food, you may find your friends are similarly inundated with a similar crop or gifts from other gardeners!

An alternative is to preserve your crop for later use – you can create Pickles and Jams, tomato Sauces for quick pasta meals, even pickle vegetables whole in Brine. Try our recipe for Green Tomato Pickles!

5. Reduce Packaging

Unless you have a very large garden it’s unlikely you can go without buying food from grocery stores. However there is still good work to be done there too – when you buy food, try and buy the variety that uses the least amount of packaging. If you find a brand had more layers of packaging inside the box than you expected, switch brands – but contact the supplier to let them know why you have switched brands to encourage them to use less.

Buy in bulk. Rather than purchase two tins of tomatoes you will use in the same meal, seek out the larger cans – this will reduce packaging by about a third, and likely save you money as well.

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Green Tomato Pickles – Sustainable Recipe


Unlike some tomato preserving recipes, this one makes use of the entire tomato – nothing goes to waste! The quantities in this recipe are easily scaled up or down depending on your tomato crop.


  • 2kg Green Tomatoes, diced
  • 400g Onion, diced
  • 900g Sugar
  • 750ml White Vinegar
  • 3/4 cup of Plain Flour
  • 9 tbsp Salt
  • 3 tbsp Curry powder
  • 1 tbsp Ground Turmeric


  • Replace a third of your sugar with Brown Sugar


  1. In a large saucepan add a layer of 1/3 of the diced tomatoes and 1/3 of the diced onions, add 1/3 of the salt evenly over the layer. Repeat until you have 3 layers.
  2. Cover the saucepan and leave to stand overnight – the salt will draw out any moisture.
  3. Next day, drain off all the liquid.
  4. Pour a kettle of boiling water over the mixture and drain off. Do this a second time.
  5. Add 450ml of vinegar, cover and bring to the boil. Cook for ten minutes.
  6. Add the sugar, stir until dissolved. Turn the heat off.
  7. In a bowl combine the flour, turmeric, curry powder and the remaining 300mls vinegar until it becomes a paste. Add the paste slowly to the tomato mixture while stirring.
  8. When fully combined, simmer gently for another 10 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool slightly before bottling in sterilized jars.
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Sustainability around the house


We all want to live more sustainably, and there is much we can improve in our day-to-day lives. Check out these 10 Sustainable Tips – there may be one or two you’ve been meaning to get around to!

1. Install a water efficient shower head

Standard shower heads can use up to 25 litres of water per minute, but a water-efficient one can get that down to 7 litres saving both water and the power it takes to heat and pump it.

2. Stop hidden heat waste

A litre or more of hot water will end up going cold in your pipes every time you turn the hot tap on, so avoid using small amounts of hot water if cold will do. You can scrape or rinse dishes with cold water.

3. Match your equipment

Ensure your kitchen pots and pans have flat bases that match the size of the cooking element, you’ll cook more efficiently and avoid heat waste.

4. Boil more efficiently

Put lids on your saucepans and simmer them gently instead of boiling vigorously, as each litre of water boiled away is wasted heat energy that can amount to a kilogram of greenhouse gas.

5. Get the right refrigerator

Buying the right fridge is not all about star ratings on the energy label – if your fridge is often quite empty then you are wasting energy by keeping large volumes of air cold that spill out every time you open the fridge door, letting in warmer air that needs to be cooled all over again.

6. Move your refrigerator to the right spot

To run at maximum efficiency, ensure good air circulation around the coils at the back of your refrigerator (if you have no coils on the back ensure the sides have good circulation too). Move fridges and freezers to cool spots out of the sun and away from your oven.

7. Turn your beer fridge off at night

A simple plug-timer can be used to turn your beer fridge off in the cold hours, and back on in the morning to ensure it doesn’t have a chance to warm. Your beer won’t go off or spoil the taste by going warm, but your fridge will use less power maintaining a cool temperature than working hard to cool it down again! Balance is everything.

8. Turn the TV off at the wall

The ‘off’ button on most home entertainment equipment – Televisions, DVD players, Radios – do not actually turn the power supply off, but put the device in a power-hungry standby mode so it is quick to turn on again. If power switches are out of reach, use a power board with individual switches for each plug socket. This goes for the kitchen too – your microwave may be generating more greenhouse gas over the year powering the digital clock than cooking the food!

9. Seal your doors

Hot draughts in summer, cold draughts in winter both force you to use more power to keep a pleasant indoor temperature – closed doors with even the slightest of movement in them can be responsible for a great deal of heat transference. Door seal tape is cheap, easy to install and long lasting – as are sweeping draught excluders attached to the base of your door.

10. Change of Season, Change of Routine

Every morning on hot days, close your doors, windows and curtains to block out the sun – when it cools down in the evening open doors and windows to let in the cooling breezes. You may find air conditioners, evaporative coolers and fans are rarely needed again.

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Avoid Food Waste with our handy guide


We all waste food – often without intending to!

Food Labels

To avoid wasting food it is important to understand the dates on the food labels:

  • “Best-before” date
    Food is still safe to eat after this date, as long as it has been stored correctly and is not damaged, deteriorated or perished. The ‘best-before’ date simply tells you when food is at it’s optimum.
  • “Use-by” date
    Don’t eat food after its ‘use-by’ date. It may contain bacteria and be unsafe to eat, even if it looks fine. Food must be eaten or disposed of by the ‘use-by’ date – compost or worm farm any food you’re not going to eat where possible.
  • “Display until” or “sell-by” date
    These are provided for retailers rather than shoppers, to help with stock control. Look for the ‘Use-by’ and ‘Best-before’ dates which often appear near the other date labels.

Be Prepared

Keep a stock of staple dry foods such as pasta and rice so you can always rustle up meals out of leftovers and food that’s gone past it’s best. Check your cupboards and fridge before cooking to spot foods that need to be eaten up.

Shopping Lists

Before you go to the shops, check your cupboards and fridge to make a shopping list to reduce the risk of buying something you already had. But remember to take your list with you! Smartphones can be used to make lists with their simple note-taking apps that are often already on your phone – some people are much less likely to forget to take their phone!


Incorrect storage is one of the main reasons we waste food. Put new cans and packets of food behind old ones to ensure existing food does not accidentally expire from being out of sight. Keeping your fridge below 5 degree Celsius will help your food stay fresh for longer.

Using your freezer is a great way to make the most of your food, especially if dinner plans change at the last minute. Label and date individual portions in airtight containers, because frozen food will not last forever – this guide from the US Government will help you decide how long frozen portions can be kept.

Portion Control

Correct portion sizes are crucial to cutting food waste – we often serve too much food because we want to make sure everyone will have enough to eat, but end up wasting food – or overeating!

The NSW Government “Love Food, Hate Waste” website has an easy way to get your portions sizes right – their Serving Size Calculator will tell you the weight of food required from dozens of food types to feed the number of adults and children you are cooking for.

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