Australian Sustainable Food, Environment, & Social Systems 2015

Blog site for the 2015 MSU study abroad program.

5/26 – Jake

For most of the day today we were doing a “Sydney Scavenger Hunt.” This gave us a unique opportunity to explore the vibrant, diverse city that is Sydney, Australia.  For the scavenger hunt, we were required to look for 40 objects that could be found around Sydney, including an Australian flag, Tim Tams, Eucalyptus Soap, an Australian newspaper, and a scatter walk intersection.  We were also required to find various landmarks throughout Sydney based on clues that we were given.  An example of one of the clues we were given is as follows: “Clue: Head right down Market Street toward the tower that dominates the sky line. This building is the tallest in the city, and the second tallest in the country. How much would it cost you for a single visit to the tower buying the ticket at the door—not online? Oh, and don’t forget about your ID; it might save you some money”.  This scavenger hunt took everyone about 7 hours to complete, and we all met at a hotel restaurant in the area of Sydney known as “the Rocks”. Sydney is fast becoming a leader in sustainable economic, societal, cultural and environmental sustainability, making it an ideal location for us to explore. Along with the improvements Sydney is making in its sustainability, improvements are also being made in the architecture and design within the city. Plans have been made for architectural improvements to be made in many areas of Sydney, including Harbor Village North, Green Square, and George Street.

The scavenger hunt gave us the opportunity to see many important locations in Sydney that we would not usually have been able to see. This included the bird cage display seen below. This piece of public art represents the bird species that no longer exist in the Sydney area due to human activity.  Many more of the public art displays in Sydney can be found at the following link:


Another location that we visited in Sydney was Hyde Park. This park had a wide variety of plants as well as a war memorial and many statues. The war memorial and the statues each gave a very important glimpse into the history of Australia. This included the people who founded Australia as well as Australia’s role in the wars of the past.


Hyde Park and the Sydney Botanical Gardens are examples of green design within the city.  These area of green space provide a cooling effect for people who live in the area.  Also, these very old areas of green space provide a habitat within the city for bird and mammal species to live.


Left: Hyde Park in Sydney, Australia   Right: Botanical Garden in Sydney, Australia

Information on Hyde Park:

Information on Sydney Botanical Garden:

More information about the city of Sydney, Australia can be found at the following link:

From May 22nd to June 8th, Vivid Sydney will be taking place from 6pm to midnight every night. This festival is an exciting celebration of art, technology, and commerce in Sydney. While we are in Sydney, we will be able to partake in this festival that showcases many of the vibrant aspects of Australian culture. Events for Vivid Sydney include concerts, public ideas programs, and creative industry workshops and conferences.
Some of the events taking place on May 26th for Vivid Sydney include Lighting the Sails, Switch, and Life Story. These three events represent just a fraction of the events that will take place during the Vivid Sydney festival, and they showcase the overall theme of the events taking place during this unique festival.

This year, the design group has been selected to create the projected artwork that will illuminate the sails of the Sydney Opera House. During Vivid, you can enjoy food and music at the Sydney Opera house, and go on special tours that will give you a backstage look at this important piece of Australian culture.

Switch is an event that features speakers from various fields that will highlight how collaboration and innovation are the foundation for large-scale change in Australia. These speakers include technologists, entrepreneurs, non-profit leaders, and social innovators.

Life Story features natural imagery of bird, marine, and animal life filmed by the BBC Natural History Unit. This six-part television series was filmed over a four-year period, and will be one of the many presentations at Vivid Sydney.

More information about Vivid Sydney can be found at:


While exploring the many light shows at Vivid Sydney, we found some people working for Canon who were taking pictures of people at this event.  They even offered free printing of these pictures at the stand they had set up. More photos taken by Canon at Vivid Sydney can be found at the following link:



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