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Welcome to… The Watershed

The beautiful brains behind Splash Mansion are set to revolutionize the way Theme Camps manage their water on the Paddock... Trash Mansionite Professor Johnny Breakwell is not just a pretty face. That brilliant mind of his has been working overtime on ways to:

  1. make it wetter down there on the Paddock,
  2. help Theme Camps Leave No Trace AND
  3. give back to the local community in Matong and surrounds!

Making a Splash
In 2013 he created Splash Mansion: “It got me out from behind the bar at Trash”, says Johnny, “and for the cost of an hour or two each day it meant we got showers, kept cool and had some awesome fun.

“Splash grew bigger in 2014/15 and we ended up doing daily water runs - it made me think about how much water we were going through, not just our camp but others too,” he says.

Then at Seed in 2015 Johnny met Rowan Kos and these two legends got talking about water. Rowan suggested the idea of setting up a collective group of Theme Camps to better manage the supply of water to camps at Seed.

The Watershed
Skip to 2016 and welcome to the fruit of that conversation…. The Watershed.

This by burners, for burners, not for profit collective comprises a willing coalition on a mission to mutually obtain and distribute quality water to Theme Camps at the lowest possible price.

“This is a fantastic social enterprise,” says Johnny. “The Watershed is facilitating the purchase of a bulk amount of water for Theme Camps - something like 20,000 litres - from farmers local to the Burning Seed site at Matong.

“The farmers will donate their time and use their water licenses to sell us the water, and any profits they make after their costs are covered will go to support the local school in Ganmain.

“These little schools make a big difference in the community - any dollars we can raise make a big difference to these kids,” he says.

How it Works
Johnny says The Watershed is owned by Theme Camps that join the collective as members.

“The members are currently Splash, Sunset Island, Trash Mansion, Dirty Birds, Detox, Casbah and The Brink.

“These and potentially other Member Theme Camps will pay in advance for a water cube of 1000 litres - the cube will be delivered to them on site during set-up, and a water tanker will come by and fill it up. The empty cube will be picked up from the camp at the end of the event.

“The Watershed will bring a lot more drinking water into Theme Camps and also make a serious environmental impact on site - for instance by minimising waste packaging from water containers - no more taking empty cartons full of air home - and reducing the number of journeys needed for water runs during the event.

“But there are many other benefits - if Theme Camps know they’ll have water delivered on site they’ll have more cargo space for Theme Arts and it also gives them scope to gift more drinking water and nautical activities.

“Importantly - this is NOT about free water on the Paddock. The Watershed is only working with member Theme Camps, not individual participants. Everyone outside our Member Theme Camps will still be required to bring the necessary amount of water they need to survive for the week. This is just about providing

Making the Infrastructure Pozible
Johnny says that with stronger interest from other Theme Camps, funding is now needed to buy the water container infrastructure.

“Without some initial funding the Watershed may have to limit further memberships and have less impact than we might do in this first year.

The Watershed is running a pozible campaign right now to help cover some of these upfront costs for basic infrastructure.

“Each one of the 1000L water cubes we’ll use for distribution of the water to Theme Camps will cost about $80 to $100 and the Watershed crew will also need radios and cleaning products to sanitize the cubes,” says Johnny.

“We’re offering some sweet water-based perks for anyone who wants to donate from $1 to $10 or more - and every dollar counts to help us get this fantastic project off the ground," says Johnny.

Find out more about The Watershed or go visit the Possible campaign and donate!

 

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Find out more about The Watershed

Prof. Johnny Breakwell: it's vitally important to stay fully hydrated on the Paddock... (photo: Andy Flint)

Watershed

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The Evolution of the Temple

by SirANDY

Less than two weeks to go until the deadline for submissions for concept designs for the 2016 Burning Seed Temple and we are HELLA excited to see what you folks come up with!

Since the earliest days of Seed we’ve had some truly amazing Temple Burns - from Rob and Kursty’s green bamboo at the original Bellingen Seed (2010) and then at Matong with Myke McQuaid’s Temple of Time (2012) and Spirit Temple (2013), Elba Garcia-Clark’s Labyrinth (2014) and Brad Ogden’s Tower of Babel (2015).

Rusty, Seed’s beloved Temple and Effigy co-ordinator, has supported burning and construction of Seed's Temple and Effigy structures from the beginning and Rusty also plays a key role in the ARTery and in the new Fire Art Response Team (FART).

The first year in Bellingen we knew the green bamboo was going to be hard to burn, and the large embers tend to fly quite a distance," says Rusty. "That’s not such a big deal with a small group of people but we saw the same thing happen with last year’s Effigy - so bamboo is now banned for all the big burns at Seed,” he says.

Fresh challenges

Every year, each designer/builder/artist/architect has had new and fresh challenges to face - from finding the inspiration for their design, to budgeting, finding enough crew, accessing/learning the skills to create the structure, dealing with the elements during the build and ensuring a safe and successful - and awe inspiring! - Burn that Leaves-No-Trace.

Myke McQuaid says in the early days at Matong, with the budgets very tight, the size and scale of the Temple Burn was more modest than we can expect now.

I did the temple in 2012 and 2013," says Myke. "Both years the wood came from a local neighbor near Matong and was made from cyprus. The first year was roughly 76 sticks of wood of various sizes and a few sheets of plywood for gussets.

My strategy was always 4 builders in 4 days or it's probably too large a project. That was early days though and the budget was tiny so it fit. Nowadays you need lots more crew and lots more time.

Whatever the budget, make sure you’re clear upfront on the deal with the organisers - in terms of supply of power/fuel/lights/food/security/site prep/ what happens during the burn and after. Also expect 50% of your volunteers to go AWOL!

 

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temple03

 Myke's 2012 'Temple of Time'

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Elba's 'Labyrinth' design from 2014

Budget growth

Myke was working with budgets of just under $950 in 2012 and around $1300 in 2012/13 while Brad Ogden’s Temple of Babel came in (on budget) at $15k last year. As the Temple has evolved so has the time/crew/material needed to build it.

Last year we had 6-8 crew at any given stage for prefabrication, 8-10 crew on-site (15 involved over the course of the project) and the whole thing took approximately 120 hours on build/prefab + 20 odd hours of designing,” says Brad.

In terms of wood and other materials we used 783 linear meters of 100x50, 40.8 linear meters of 150x50, a 6 metre 300x300 (that was shaped down into a 260mm hexagon)...   there was about 1500 batton screws (492 in the 6 supporting legs alone), a few fistfuls of nails and a few star pickets.

In terms of the build, pre-fabrication can take a lot of the stress of building on-site out of the equation but be careful when pre-fabbing with rough sawn timber... shrinkage is real.

Expect the unexpected

One rule of thumb that both Brad and Myke say all designers/builders need to consider…. expected the unexpected and be prepared to make compromises on site.

From the very earliest phase you need to think about how this thing will Burn,” says Brad. “For instance, in hindsight, we should have put a little more work into weakening the central post. It should have been obvious that once one of the sides was gone it would have fallen over. I expected it to stay upright a little longer than it did.

Also, no-one anticipated the amount of embers being thrown off by the thin ply skin. We normally work with thicker ply, but we had to compromise getting the laser cutting quote down to an acceptable level.

You have to think of the end at the beginning,” says Myke. “Like, how is this thing going to burn? Density is good - it allows for a good heat build up. In 2012 we had trouble getting it lit fully because it was so open but in 2013 - now that was the burn I was looking for!"

 

 

Safety Third

Safety is of course the most critical consideration for any Temple builder/burner.

In 2015 we introduced the Fire Art Response Team to tighten up our safety procedures and to facilitate smoother burning in and around the Paddock, particularly at the main Burns,” says Rusty.

I like the Burns when the crowd has to move back more because of the heat of the fire - they get to feel the power of the Burn and this only adds to the experience and to the understanding and respect for fire and what we do for a big Burn like the Temple.

Weakening - or making cuts in the timber to ensure a smooth Burn - is a very important consideration with the generally thick timber of the main support structure. You have a big safety circle with the Temple Burn for most of the day before you burn, so you can be bold with the weakening cuts and with your liquid and solid fuel loading.”

Learn from the Burn

It’s always great to learn something new,” says Myke.I’m a mechanical engineer, a veteran burner, handy with tools but in 2012 when we had 90km winds on-site and the Temple started listing a guy came over to help me and taught me a trick I hadn’t known before to stables it.”

Brad says design and build skills are important but not everything.

I’ve got basic carpentry skills, I’m self-taught on Sketch-Up, I have a rudimentary understanding of engineering/physics and some project management experience - but you don’t need to know everything - there are heaps of people involved who are ready to offer help and advice.

I will say this though - if my experience of the Temple build last year taught me anything, it's that if you turn around once, and do the Eagle rock... everything will be OK....”


Got an idea for a Temple design? - Get to it! - less than  two weeks to go!!! 

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Brad's Tower of Babel Temple design from 2015

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(Red) EARTH (City) HOUR – Managing Your Impact at Seed

by MOOP DADDY

Leave No Trace at Burning Seed!With Earth Hour (19 March 2016) focusing everyone’s minds on ways to Leave No Trace (or at least less trace) on this beautiful planet of ours, Burning Seed’s Leave No Trace (LNT) Team thought we’d take an opportunity to give veteran and new burners some ideas about how you can plan NOW to reduce your impact on Red Earth City, our lovely Matong State Forest home.

Top Ten Tips 

So in time-honoured tradition, here’s a few ways (in no particular order) that you can be a better Burner and minimise your impact on the environment during your visit to Burning Seed in 2016:

  1. Start planning to rideshare – we are looking at ways to better manage traffic this year, but the best way to manage traffic (and emissions!!) is for you to find a buddy or two or five and organise a rideshare. Look out for rideshare forums closer to the event.
  2. Don’t fly in – yes that’s controversial, and difficult (particularly if you live overseas). At least consider offsetting your emissions.
  3. Pack it in, pack it out – dealing with the rubbish can be the worst part of your Burn if you haven’t made plans. When we say we Leave No Trace, WE MEAN IT. Plan to take all of your smelly refuse with you when you leave (or find ways to not bring it in the first place).
  4. MOOP is what we call MATTER OUT OF PLACE. When in Red Earth City, MOOP as you go. Don’t leave it all to the end.
  5. PARTICIPATE and carry a MOOP bag with you. Look out for MOOP around Red Earth City and grab it before it gets away! Join the MOOP Troupe!
  6. Leave glitter, confetti and other microplastic crap at home. Glitter bad. Very Bad.
  7. Line-sweep your camp site when you leave. Form a line with your camp-mates and walk a grid before you depart.
  8. Use solar or rechargeable lighting and power wherever possible. Coordinate with other camps to share generator power. Collaborate!
  9. Get involved early and join the Red Earth Ecology Biodiversity Planting project next month in Matong (April 22nd–24th)
  10. The best thing you could do? DON’T COME!* It was better last year anyway 🙂

*Hmm, this is actually kinda true but we won’t hold you to it.

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MOOP THAT, MELBOURNE!

MOOP SQUAD!

MOOP Squaddies take LNT to the STREETS!

Burning Seed’s very own MOOP SQUAD! hit the streets of Melbourne in December much to the surprise and delight of pre-Xmas shoppers. MOOP (or Matter Out of Place) is a serious business for burners - find out why

The MOOPSquaddies - Carly Bobarly, Di Paulger (of Mint fame) and PRINCESS TRASHBAG herself (the delectable Nikki Santos) - spent a few hours around Bourke St. Mall, Collins St. and Federation Square during Christmas week, MOOPing it up for the Melbourne masses!

“It was a really busy day,” said Carly, ”with heaps of families out shopping and looking at the Christmas decorations and displays. We each picked up about a medium bag of MOOP, mostly cigarette butts and stray candy wrappers/paper.

“To be honest, our main goal was not so much the huge amount of MOOP collected, but spreading the message to families and Christmas shoppers that 1) anyone can pick up rubbish and have a good time while doing it and 2) reusable bags are preferable to plastic, that is, try and cut down on your plastic while shopping.

“We walked around singing a few jingles about rubbish (courtesy of Will and Brendan at MOOP Patrol HQ) and approaching people carrying plastic bags, offering them a calico bag in exchange, and asking them(or their kids) to add the plastic bag to the train on Princess Trashbag's dress.

MOOP SQUAD!

Kids saying no to plastic? FANTASTIC!!

“We had a mostly positive response from the shoppers (only 2 people refused the calico bag) and the kids were fascinated by Nikki's crazy attire. I heard many parents explaining what we were doing to their kids. It felt good!!”

Check out all the photos from the day here at the MOOP SQUAD- XMAS Edition on Facebook.

Seed’s very own MOOP Daddy and Leave No Trace (LNT) Team Lead - Maddocks - says this is exactly the kind of off-Paddock activity Seed’s Leave No Trace team wants to encourage.

“This year at Burning Seed we had an unprecedented number of participants so the task of Leave No Trace was significantly bigger than ever before.

“What’s fantastic is to see the MOOP SQUAD and other Seed participants taking LNT to the default world and spreading the MOOP message - these Melbourne based burners are doing some fantastic work, including a couple of recent Merri Creek clean ups involving dozens of participants."

Take a MOOP journey through Red Earth City with the 2015 interactive web-based MOOP map. There’s heaps of information about different areas of our forest playground this year including Theme Camp LNT performance, plus photos, videos and more.

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Inside scoop on MOOP

Written by MoopDaddy

pineapple - compost

Mr Pineapple and his MOOPy escapades after last year’s Burning Seed.

So you think you know your MOOP, huh? Well, after last year’s sweeps of the Burning Seed site, we have some news for you.

Just because those mandarin peels and fire ash are biodegradable doesn’t mean you can throw them on the ground. And yep, plants need water, but that doesn’t mean you can tip out any liquid you like. And while your shit don’t stink, that doesn’t mean you can take a dump in the woods.

Here’s why…

We asked Steve at NSW State Forestry to provide us with best-practice guidelines on all of these issues and this is what he told us.

The habitat at Matong State Forest is a semi-arid, low-nutrient type. This means the local plants have adapted to thrive in this half-barren environment. When extra nutrients are added to the soil, weeds take over and choke out the indigenous plant life. This in turn affects the indigenous insects, birds, lizards and other animals.

So whether you bury it or not, any food waste or compostable material is MOOP — and so is fire ash. The high concentration of potassium in wood ash is perfect fertiliser for flowering weeds. They love the stuff. So if you bring it or burn it at Burning Seed, you must take it with you when you leave.

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Use phosphate-free soap and shampoo in your showers.

Grey water can also create the same problems as food waste. If you tip out washing water that has detergent in it, the phosphate in most commercial soaps feeds the hungry weeds.

Steve advises that we can allow 10 litres per person per day run off, as long as the soap we use is phosphate-free.

Phosphate-free soap includes any castille soap or “camping soap” from an outdoor store, which you can use to wash pots, pans, pants and people. Just ensure the water doesn’t run off where people are walking or driving to avoid a mucky mess.

But it’s no go with the poop. Poop is MOOP! You’re not doing the local plants any favours by burying your excrement in the woods. 

The weeds will be the ones loving your brown stuff. And so will the flies who will find it, breed and be there to greet us again next year at the same time, rubbing their front legs together gleefully. So use the porta potties — that’s what they are there for, and take the rest of the MOOP with you when you go!

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Merri Creek meets its match while Sydney calls last straw

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]B[/bra_dropcaps]urners donned their flamboyant finest and kicked some trash-ass at Melbourne’s Merri Creek on May 9 as Kamp Kraken led another initiative to move Burner life beyond the Paddock.

Around 60 people donned gloves, gumboots and garbage bag and rocked up throughout the afternoon to wade through the muck of Merri Creek and remove rubbish. Wheeliebin beats (thanks BBB!) and tea and bicki treats fuelled the intrepid trash troops.

And the strangest thing found? A case half full of sweet potatoes and the desiccated body of a fox. Awards were given for the weirdest finds and best costumes, but the biggest reward was a satisfying 45 big bags of rubbish, 15 bags of recyclables and assorted hard rubbish collected. 

There are plans to make Merri again, so stay in the loop by liking the Kamp Kraken page.

Meanwhile, Sydney’s Beneficient Burners Beneficent Burners are currently looking for volunteers to help get cafes and pubs involved with Plastic Free July.

They’re encouraging cafes to give a discount to people who bring a reusable coffee cup, and for pubs to only hand out straws when they are specifically requested.

If you’d like to ask your local café, or take on a whole street, contact Shelby Ann to get hold of some posters. They also have a script for what to say when approaching the cafe and pubs.

For more info, contact Shelby Ann chinochai@gmail.com  or join the Beneficent Burners’ Facebook group. 

 

 

 

 

 

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It takes a community to build a forest

Written by Ash Blackwell

Mr wattle you will do just fine

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]N[/bra_dropcaps]ew friendships were made, ties between the local community and Seed community were strengthened and a whole lot of good dirty fun took place at the recent Red Earth Ecology biodiversity planting in Matong.

On Saturday May 2, around 30 people from all over the east coast and the Riverina came together for a weekend to plant a forest.

There was music, dancing and a whole lot of planting and watering of native plants. Not to mention Jo’s amazing home-cooked cakes and slices.

Best of all, the weekend gave the local community a chance to interact and learn more about the kind of people that get involved in Burning Seed.

I think they’re almost convinced that we aren’t a cult, and the contribution to the local environment is starting to get around.

The Red Earth Ecology project was established as part of Burning Seed’s ‘Leave No Trace’ principle.

Burning Seed is held at the Matong State Forest, and while we can pick up our litter, we cannot completely remove our impact on the forest. The Red Earth Ecology team work to develop and implement projects that leave a net positive impact on the local ecology.

Over the last two years, the team has worked with local property owners to extend and develop tree corridors on sections of their land. One of the risk factors for small birds and animals is the fragmentation of their habitat. By helping to establish corridors of local plant species, we provide food and shelter for local insects, birds and other species.

Last year we worked with local Burning Seed participant Brian Jones to extend and enrich a tree corridor on his property adjacent to the Ganmain State Forest. Unfortunately Brian Jones fell quite ill late last year (We wish him continued progress on his journey back to good health).

This year, local plant whisperer Jo Roberts reached out to other Burners in the area, who would be happy to facilitate a planting project. Dave and Sonja Currie stepped up to help and offer their property, which is just down the road from Brian.

A big green thank you to all who came and all who contributed. And a very big thanks to Jo, Maddock, Dave and Sonja who made it all possible.

                       diggin them in it takes a team to build a forrest

                       Nikki the kookaburra whisperer plants and peace

Red Earth Ecology strikes again: (clockwise from top left) diggin’ this project, the gang’s all here, Nikki the Kookaburra whisperer, peace and plants. Pics: Madeline Fountain

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Get down n dirty with Red Earth Ecology

[bra_dropcaps style=’dropcap2′]C[/bra_dropcaps]ome get dirty with a bunch of Burners — nooooooo, not that kinda dirty. Cheeky! We do that all time. Nup, we’re offering you the chance to connect with Country, learn about the district’s ecosystems and build stronger ties with the local community by joining Red Earth Ecology on another biodiversity planting weekend on 1-3 May.

Red Earth Ecology is building on the momentum and success of last year’s project by organising a biodiversity planting at a property close to the Seed site. These plantings are an annual project that help strengthen the links between Burning Seed and the surrounding land and locals.

They’re looking for about 20 community members like YOU to join the crew. Help give something back to the people and place where we play, leave a positive trace, have fun and connect with other Burners towards a common goal. No, not BACON (although there will be plenty of that) – BIODIVERSITY! For a little sneaky squiz, check out the pics from last time.

This year the team will also work with skilled-up Burners to assess the Carbon footprint of Burning Seed 2015 so that we can offset our emissions accurately next year. Red Earth Ecology is also increasing its visibility this year at Seed, with MORE bush walks (which conveniently end at Red Earth Brewery during happy hour), and MORE education about the Red Earth City ecosystem online and at site.

For more information, contact maddock.helios@gmail.com