PHOTOS: Solar boats to make a splash at Tondoon pond
FOR the first time in Ecofest history, solar powered boats will make a big splash when they hit the duck pond at Tondoon Gardens this weekend.
School students are taking on the challenge and teaming up to make the most sustainable water craft using only recycled materials sourced by the Creative Recycling Centre.
Some of the materials used are plastic bottles, drill motors, de-constructed pallets and a solar panel on each boat.
With two teams going head-to-head, Creative Recycling Centre president Tracey Smith said it was the first time the boat challenge had been introduced to the festival.
"It's a Creative Recycling Centre project and I really hope it will be a regular highlight at Ecofest," Ms Smith said.
"I was quite proud when I heard one of the kids say that it was one of the biggest achievements of his life.
"These kids have given up their weekends and put so much effort into building the boats."
Gladstone Men's Shed volunteers and retired engineers John Leinster and his brother Malcolm Leinster helped the two teams build two boats for the challenge, mentoring them on engineering along the way.
"They've put so much effort into it," Mrs Smith said.
"We went to the public pool last week to test run the boats and one of kids said it was the biggest achievement of his life.
"I really hope more local schools get on the back of this and more kids are inspired."
Mrs Smith said she came up with the idea but had no idea how much the kids would enjoy it.
"I thought it was a good idea because it had so many great elements," she said.
"I didn't realise how much the kids would get out of it."
The festival will also feature guest speakers including one of Australia's most influential environmentalists Jon Dee, CQUniversity seagrass ecologist Emma Jackson and chief scientist with the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Dr David Wachenfeld.