Bello LeaF Learning Festival hosted by the Centre for Ecological Learning

Not to be forgotten in all the colours and fanfare of the Big Bello Winter Music, the Bello LeaF Learning Festival was a quiet achiever alongside.

The festival, dedicated to raising environmental awareness and education, lit up with the ever-popular primitive fire session down by the river on Friday afternoon.

Not far away others, large and small, were busy catching and learning about bugs with teachers from the Cascade Environmental Education Centre.

Co-ordinator Lisa Siegel said in spite of the cold, plenty of people were keen for either Winter Yoga, the Edible Weeds Walk or OzGreen's Turtle Citizen Science forum at the river. 

Still others turned up to learn about renewable energy, as well as making "plastic free personal products".

In their first appearance at the LeaF, Bellingen Playback Theatre and their audience had fun acting out some funny, interesting and touching stories of people's connection to the natural world.

Held in the showground, this event attracted about 50 people and ran happily alongside the fortnightly Growers Market.

“A special high point was the Spirit of the Land forum at Cedar Bar on Sunday morning where stories of land and spirit were told,” Lisa said.

“One person told me afterwards they thought Mark Graham was "the most inspiring scientist" they had ever come across.

“Spirit stories from Uncle Michael Jarrett, Uniting Earth minister Jason John, and Insight Meditation teacher Will James had the entire audience rapt and we have been receiving feedback ever since from people wanting the event to be repeated.”

She said the LeaF stall in the park was also a success, especially as a way of spreading the word about the Great Koala National Park.

“And lots entered in our "Listen to the Koala" competition ... Anna Thompson was the excited winner of a Gold Pass for Bello Winter Music 2019!”