Archies’ inspires students to take on big issues in pandemic

 

Spurred on by our world-renowned school program where schools are assigned a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to look at through the lens of agriculture, schools are confronting issues related to farming and beyond 

In a classroom in a conservative area of central NSW, about 420km from Sydney, a group of students are having an honest and frank discussion about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) rights. 

Inspired by Action for Agriculture’s (A4A) The Archibull Prize, which encourages project-based learning and has led to them investigating hunger and climate change, these young people from The Henry Lawson High School in Grenfell are now also confronting wellbeing, through exploring their perspective on youth mental health and other timely issues.

 

“The Archibull Prize is allowing our students to explore their perspective of, and connection to the world, and they strongly connect with the rights of people to express themselves and live openly in a community where they’re accepted by everyone,” says Jillian Reidy.

Jillian is the relieving head teacher in science, agriculture, art and information communication technology (ICT), and a Highly Accomplished Teacher (HAT), from The Henry Lawson High School. 

The school is exploring SDG 3, Good health and Wellbeing, in this year’s ‘Archie’ entry. 

“We’re a very traditional country community, so to have the students discussing LGBTIQ rights and other big social issues, including racism directed towards the Asian population during the COVID outbreak, has been powerful,” says Jillian. 

Watch Jillian present her students’ vision at the 2021 May NSW/ACT Geography Teachers Association Conference

In a year when many programs have come to a halt, The Archibull Prize has continued. The schools involved in it have not only survived but thrived – thanks to their champion teachers who are role models for how to keep students inspired during a pandemic. The schools’ progress is proof that even in the worst of times, we can keep going. 

Through The Archibull Prize, schools select an SDG that is important to them and their region. They then design and deliver a Community Behavior Change project to help their region achieve Australia’s SDG targets  

“We have a lot of students from very high risk poverty areas with families that are struggling and have no work so food can be tight,” says Amy Gill, a HAT and SOLAR program lead with Youth Off the Streets.

A report by the University of Melbourne estimates that over 50,000 young people are missing from the school system at any given time.

The SOLAR Project is an off-campus adjustment, using online platforms, to support students in achieving their educational outcomes used by Youth Off the Streets. 

 “We’re dropping food hampers off once a week to support them, but there’s other challenges within the home. Domestic violence for instance is a huge challenge particularly when everyone’s stuck at home together.”

 To keep students motivated, Youth Off the Streets are using innovative and creative learning methods including one evoking The Circle of Courage, a Native American childhood practice which has the themes of belonging, mastery, independence and generosity at its heart.

“A young person really needs to belong in different aspects of their life.  Many disadvantaged students also feel like they’ve lost the skill of mastery. When learning remotely they feel behind their peers and can lack confidence coming back into the classroom. Our program is helping them cope.”  says Amy. 

 Through programs like The Archibull Prize, students grappling with their identity are also realising that they have a valuable contribution to make. 

 “Young people are really struggling to find their place, especially during the pandemic, but at school they find their purpose through initiatives like The Archibull Prize,” says Amy. 

 The project based learning approach of Youth Off The Streets includes innovative projects such as Speak for the Banyula (an Indigenous word meaning many trees), a geography and science unit, centred around caring for country, sustainability and land management. The Happiest Man on Earth, a history and English module incorporating the arts, involves reading a memoir written by Australian Holocaust survivor Eddie Jaku.

“We do a lot of art, and try to drop off home learning packs with hands-on activities because sitting at a computer all day is quite exhausting for young people,” says Amy. 

​​While the Youth Off The Streets are confronting hunger in their daily lives, teachers at Pymble Ladies’ College on Sydney’s North Shore are trying to make it real for their students – again using the ‘Archies’.

 “The girls are so incredible when it comes to research, the students decided to focus on the issue of hunger and food waste in Australia, with more than one-in-five Australians going to bed hungry.

 The Archibull Prize provided an additional avenue to develop student’s passion in this area, building on what we do in geography and more widely around the college such as the boarding community, agriculture studies in the upper and senior school. In geography, it has provided a platform to make an impact at a community level and for them to feel like they’re creating change.” says Ray Howells, who teaches geography and business studies at Pymble Ladies’ College. 

Pymble Ladies’ College’s 2021 ‘Archie’ entry will become a future school mascot to spur on action to end hunger as well as addressing climate change.  

 “Programs like the ‘Archies’ have also piqued students’ interest in farming, with many keen to visit country friends during their holidays. It’s also been incredible for me, not being from this country, seeing how important the agriculture industry is here in Australia and how it connects so many families,” he says.

Students are planning to visit a farm in Young which belongs to one of their student’s family once COVID restrictions lift. See Footnote* 

The interviews with our Archibull Prize teachers reinforce what A4A discovered a decade ago when we began surveying young people: that today’s generation are more resilient. 

Our findings are backed up by research from Deloitte. A year after their lives were upended by the global pandemic, nearly half of millennials and gen z’s told the 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey that they were  anxious or stressed either all or most of the time. But there’s a silver lining; COVID has motivated 70 per cent to improve their lives. 

Previous Deloitte reports have found that millennials not only want a different world but want to lead the charge, and that they value experiences, traits that our Archies teachers also say that they are witnessing. 

“Initiatives like The Archibull Prize help develop the “four Cs – critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication, along with self-confidence, skills that the jobs of the future will require.” says Jillian from The Henry Lawson High School. 

In addition, the program drives young people’s sense of willingness and commitment to work together to create a better world.  

“If students can see the importance of their voice and realise how they can communicate their ideas to an audience through visual tools, then we are doing our job in supporting them in becoming a valuable citizen of the future.” 

Footnote

In the future, the opportunity for PLC students to visit and interact with farms like Blantyre Farm and Montrose Dairy and other agricultural-based organisations is an exciting avenue with lots of potential for deeper learning and student interest in the agriculture sector from a career perspective.

 

 

Young Farming Champions Muster August 2021

Welcome to our 55th Young Farming Champions (YFC) Muster which brings you this month’s top stories from our YFC around the country and globe.

Young Farming Champions Alumni Anika Molesworth ( Daily Telegraph) and Emma Ayliffe (Country Style) had full page stories in mainstream media this month 

Headline Act

Exciting news as this month we are looking to increase our crop of Wool Young Farming Champions with support from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI)

 AWI is proud to have supported the Young Farming Champions program for eight years and we believe the program is an important way to develop the next generation of our industry’s leaders.” CEO Stuart McCullough said

The 2021 scholarship will allow  a young person with their heart in the wool industry to participate in the prestigious two year Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program, and for a Young Farming Champion to mentor them.

Find out the details here 

The EOI brochure can be found here

Please find the Expression of Interest form here

With 8 out of 10 of our Young Farming Champions being female its not surprising we would join forces with Soroptimist International (SI )Griffith to achieve gender equity.  

The partnership began in 2019 when SI Griffith supported  YFC  Dr Anika Molesworth to travel to Antarctica with a cohort of 100 other female scientists from around.

Flash forward three years later, and when Soroptimist International Griffith (SI) wanted to take action to address climate change, they turned to Anika. She shared with SI the impact that Action for Agriculture (A4A) had played and was continuing to play in her professional and personal development, six years after joining one of its world-renowned programs, Young Farming Champions (YFC).

“I attribute my work’s impact with rural women, farming communities and international development largely to the skills I learnt through this program

A4A is championing rural young people, teaching them about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change and bringing those people close to food and farming production, motivating and enabling them to help shape rural communities for the better. Imagine if more rural people are given a similar opportunity!”  says Anika, who now sits on the A4A Youth Leadership team.

As Soroptimist International Griffith’s founder Will Mead says, that “was enough for us”. They decided to provide financial support for a leadership course run by A4A aimed at enabling equity for emerging female leaders, as part of their global vision on supporting rural women, gender equity and women’s mentorship. The workshop was run in October 2020.

YFC Connie  Mort, Action for Agriculture founder Lynne Strong and YFC alumni Dione Howard

A dinner held in Griffith on July 21 was a chance for SI to meet A4A leaders including founder and national program director Lynne Strong, Dr Dione Howard, Connie Mort, Veronika Vicic and Dylan Male. All shared with Soroptimist International Griffith their own stories and A4A’s highly revered programs for primary and secondary schools (The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas) .

You can read more about the event here 

In the Field

 

Australian Farmers Campaign – Where REAL Climate Action Happens stars Dan Fox 

YFC alumni Dan Fox a grain grower based at Marrar, New South Wales, has been featured in National Farmers Federation’s latest initiative – “Australian Farms – Where REAL Climate Action Happens.”

The campaign tells the stories of farmers like Dan, who take their responsibility as environmental stewards of the Australian landscape seriously.

To view Dan’s Farmer Profile and learn more about the actions he’s taking to tackle climate change visit here 

YFC Marlee Langfield continues to hone her videography skills for the AEIGC Crop Updates 

Check out Marlee’s instagram account to see more of her beautiful pictures from her farm

Out of the Field

YFC alumni Dr Jo Newton OAM recently presented to University of Melbourne Masters of Agriculture Students

I think giving students exposure to industry though guest lectures & practical work experience is really important for helping increase awareness of opportunities in the agricultural sector & to support students to be job ready.
As a student, an industry guest lecture for my genetics subject marked a turned point in my career by introducing me to Sonja Dominik. A CSIRO Vacation Studentship, an honours project and a PhD (in conjunction with University of New England (AU), AGBU and CSIRO), followed in quick succession and today I still have an amazing mentor, friend and role model.
It’s now a pleasure to be able to pay it forward for today’s university students.

YFC Alumni Dione Howard interviewed  the team from The Livestock Collective and Black Box Co for our Leadership is Language series

 

YFC alumni Peta Bradley, Dione Howard & AWI’s Emily King came together virtually at the Australian Sheep Veterinarians Conference 30th June to 2nd July 2021

YFC Dione Howard recently helped to organise the Australian Veterinary Association Sheep Veterinarian’s Conference in Wagga Wagga.

Despite rapidly changing COVID restrictions the conference still went ahead in a blended format, with speakers zooming in and audience able to watch from wherever they could! Included in the line up of speakers were YFC Peta Bradley & AWI’s Emily King, who presented on ‘Understanding ASBVs’ and ‘What makes good extension?’ respectively. A masked conference didn’t make for very recognisable photos so enjoy this flashback photo of Dione & Peta from 2017!

 

Our Paddock Pen Pals will feature in a new STEM Education Textbook!

Congratulations to our Wool Young Farming Champions team – their Paddock Pen Pals initiative led by Samantha Wan in partnership with Carlingford West Public School, will be featured in a new STEM education textbook from Macquarie University School of Education, to be released in early 2022

Dione Howard, Zoe Stephens ( Carlingford West Public School) and Samantha Wan at Sydney Royal Easter Show

Speaking of Paddock Pen Pals our YFC have been continuing their Wow Wednesday’s partnership with the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education through Virtual Excursions with Emma Ayliffe sharing her role as an agronomist with the students this month

2021 YFC Francesca Earp is leading a team of  YFC who will be beaming into Mary McKillop College to discuss SDG 5 Gender Equality and Bryan Van Wyk is working with Sana Said to beam into Riverstone High School to look at SDG 14 Life Below the Oceans

Prime Cuts

Dylan Male selected as a 2021 Youth Ag Summit Delegate

2021 YFC Dylan Male will be representing Australia as one of 100 delegates aged 18 to 25 from 44 countries to attend the biennial 2021 Bayer Youth Ag Summit.

At the two-day summit held on November 16-17 2021, themed ‘feeding a hungry planet’, Dylan will have the opportunity to learn from, engage and network with industry leaders and his fellow delegates from across the globe toward a more food-secure world.

Dylan was recognised for his contributions in building a food production system that is culturally aware and regenerative. This includes his PhD research investigating the agronomy of a native perennial grass species that is supporting Dja Dja Wurrung (Djaara) people in their vision to return culturally significant food plants to the landscape. Dylan hopes to use the opportunity as a platform to advocate for modern food production systems that better support Indigenous people in developing and protecting their food systems, with the help of modern day science and technology.

Following the Summit, Dylan will participate in the first-ever virtual YAS University, where he will continue to learn, network, and further develop a Thrive for Change project which aims to advocate for a food production system that is more secure, climate resilient, land regenerative and culturally aware, before making his final project pitch in early 2022.

Australian Young Farmer of the Year Emma Ayliffe continued her round of media engagements and featured in the September issue of Country Style Magazine

Dr Jo Newton was looking foreword to joining her ARLP 28 cohort for the legendary Kimberley experience 

“After border closures prevented course 28 of ARLP from starting their program in the Kimberly in July we pivoted & came together for 5 days over zoom. It was great to finally get to meet the rest of my cohort. Listening to everyone’s participation presentations highlighted the depth & breadth of experience & diverse skills within the cohort. Despite this several common threads shone through, none more so than the desire to positively contribute to agriculture, rural, regional and remote Australian communities. I’m now really excited to meet the rest of my cohort face-to-face and continue on this journey together over the next 15 months.”


Action for Agriculture founder Lynne Strong was a guest speaker at THE Rural Woman’s “The advancement of women and girls” Round Table Event 16th August

 

YFC alumni Emma Turner features on Generation Ag Podcast

2014 Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner chats to the Generation Ag podcast team about working in the wonderful world of wool! Emma current works as a District Wool Manager for Elders based out of Mildura.

Click on the link to listen

Dr Anika Molesworth saw the launch of her first book Our Sunburnt Country on 31st August 2021 

Anika has appeared on The Drum, had a full page spread in the Daily Telegraph and being interviewed by Holly Ransom on her Energy Disruptors webcast

Watch it here 

Lifetime Highlights

YFC alumni Hannah Hawker welcomed gorgeous Joseph William Porter to the world on 10.08.2021.

How adorable is this pix – we love it when our Young Farming Champions start having their own champions

Big shoutout to all our funding partners who are investing in next gen leadership capability building

 

Hamilton Public School channeling the SDGs and Costa Georgiadis to grow the leaders of tomorrow

Using the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as the lens one Kreative Koalas school inspired another to put the program “front and centre” of all its learning – and created a rival to Gardening Australia in the process 

 

“When you dig up a piece of soil like this all you think is brown dirt”, says a student from Hamilton Public School (HPS). With a shovel in his hand for a video camera, this pupil and his peers who have created “Blue Gate Garden TV”, part of their entry for this first-time Kreative Koalas school, could be the next Costa Georgiadis.

 

The brainchild of the Newcastle school and filmed in their community garden, the seven-episode series aims to educate and inform parents, neighbours and others across Australia about the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

It’s one of the many initiatives of HPS, led by assistant principal Zane Osborn and inspired by award-winning Medowie Christian School, who shared their Kreative Koala’s storytelling success tips. With the SDGs already embedded in their curriculum for the past two years, HPS applied for a Sustainable Schools Grant at the end of 2020. At the same time, they began looking at adapting the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education (CoE) No Bees No Future program to students learnings

 

“Kris Beazley from CoE who delivers the No Bees No Future program said to us ‘you’re doing Kreative Koalas without knowing about it. You need to get on their website and register your interest in the program”

“We were already on the way to producing Blue Gate Garden TV, and Kreative Koalas was the final piece of the puzzle that provided the pathway to pursue it.” says Zane.

 

The grant money allowed HPS to buy film equipment, and they hired permaculture gardener, sustainability educator and video artist Suzy Bates for the shooting.

 

To create the series’ scripts, exploring SDG goals such as Goal 2 – “zero hunger” – Zane’s students practiced informative and persuasive writing techniques.  In the process, they drew upon the advice of Martha Atkins from Medowie Christian School in the NSW Hunter region. In her tips and tricks video Martha advises schools to make  Kreative Koalas “front and centre” of their teaching program

 

“It’s a really helpful way to allow time and give you space to do this well rather than try to fit it in on top of what you’re already teaching,” Martha says.

Zane says when he saw what Martha had done he thought “this is incredible”.

 

“Martha certainly provided lots of inspiration based on what she did and the nuts and bolts of how to get it done,” he says.

 

HPS were already aligning every unit of work with a global goal and using novels such as Boy Overboard and Refugee to explore human rights issues, Zane says he didn’t envisage jumping into another program at the start of 2021.

 

“I didn’t have this in my scope, but once the year evolved and we started to go down this path with the bees we realised Kreative Koalas was a perfect complement ” he says.

 

After they held an ‘ideation design thinking day’, the HPS students came up with nearly 500 different ways of working towards fulfilling the SDG goals with a strong focus on SDG 15 – “life on land”.

 

“As we refined our brainstorming further, we took our inspiration for our model from Gardening Australia,” says Zane.

 

The school ended up dedicating a whole term to the project. After conducting all the research, storyboarding the episodes, learning how to use the film equipment and shooting, they spent about three weeks in early June filming.

 

In one episode of Blue Gate Garden TV, students Rafa, Luca, Ryder and Mateo demonstrate how to test the soil with a pH kit, using dye, sulphate, vinegar, bicarb soda, water and other materials. In others, three girls demonstrate how to “grow a pizza” with ingredients picked from the school’s Blue Gate Garden, and a boy pretends to be a bee escaping from a pesticide.

Blue Gate Garden TV featuring the use of pH Methods

 

With seven episodes done and dusted, there’s another ten of the series in the pipeline. While Year six has been the focus for Kreative Koalas, the success of the program for HPS has meant that year four and kindergarten have also done some filming for Blue Gate Garden TV. One year four class has been so inspired by the series, that they’re even hoping to create their own show!

Blue Gate Garden TV Making Wicking Beds

Making Kreative Koalas front and centre of their subjects put HPS ahead of the curve for the world-renowned schools Kreative Koalas when COVID lockdowns started. HPS’s supportive community of parents, also hungry for sustainable solutions to environmental problems, has also ensured its success.

 

“The things that you work hardest at are the things that you find most rewarding,” says Zane, who teaches geography, science, English, creative and performing arts, of his school’s Kreative Koalas results.

 

A “UN Blue Day”, an open day for the school to showcase the work they’re doing in pursuit of the SDGs, where they will launch Blue Gate Garden TV, is also planned once COVID restrictions are lifted.

 

“We are always looking for innovative ways to teach principles embedded in the UN goals for sustainable development, which are central to our programming at HPS.

“We also have a strong sustainability policy and several projects which promote a ‘think global, act local’ approach to issues.”   says Zane.

 

Zane is an example of a teacher taking every opportunity to ensure their students have the best experience and are prepared for the jobs of the future, says A4A founder and national program director Lynne Strong.

 

“He is one of those people who plan, plan, plan, plan and he made sure that his students made the most of every non-COVID moment in term two to create Blue Gate Garden TV,” she says.

 

Zane, a teacher of a decade who has been at HPS for the past five years, says that his advice for other Kreative Koalas teachers is setting aside time and making the program a learning priority, as it’s already connected to so much syllabus content.

“It’s becoming the best practice model for education where students can see that the Science, English and Math they are learning are all connected to real world issues.

“It allows you to create more meaningful and more relevant learning for students.” he says.

https://youtu.be/ZeZqBgf1d_I

Hamilton Public School Blue Gate TV talk Biodiversity

 

Having participated in Kreative Koalas for the past two years, Martha Atkins says that in 2019 Medowie Christian School realised that the program “ticks off so many outcomes in nearly every subject, so we didn’t need to do it as an added extra”.

“We could make that our whole program for the term or the whole two terms and for a whole semester our main program for science, art and English,” she says.

Like all schools in lockdown areas the pandemic situation for students’ learning is far from ideal, and schools like HPS are doing the best they can to ensure no student is left behind.

Kreative Koalas had helped to keep the students engaged in what had been an “incredibly challenging” time.” Zane says.

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Hamilton Public School also followed Martha’s advice to take lots of photos of your journey

 

Medowie Christian School’s tips for Kreative Koalas 

Shoutout to our supporting partners nurturing next gen changemakers

 

Soroptimist International Griffith joins forces with Action4Agriculture Young Farming Champions to achieve gender equity.  

Connie Mort, Lynne Strong and Dr Dione Howard presented at Soroptimist International Griffith Dinner in July 2021

In 2019, when Dr Anika Molesworth was preparing to travel to Antarctica with a cohort of 100 other female scientists from around the world, she crowdfunded to help cover the costs of her trip.

Young Farming Champion Dr Anika Molesworth travelled to Antarctica with the support of SI Griffith 

Enter Soroptimist International Griffith, a branch of the global volunteer movement of women, who stepped in to sponsor Anika, then working in Griffith, in the NSW Riverina region.

Flash forward three years later, and when Soroptimist International Griffith (SI) wanted to take action to address climate change, they turned to Anika. She shared with SI the impact that Action for Agriculture (A4A) had played and was continuing to play in her professional and personal development, six years after joining one of its world-renowned programs, Young Farming Champions (YFC).

“I attribute my work’s impact with rural women, farming communities and international development largely to the skills I learnt through this program

A4A is championing rural young people, teaching them about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change and bringing those people close to food and farming production, motivating and enabling them to help shape rural communities for the better. Imagine if more rural people are given a similar opportunity!”  says Anika, who now sits on the A4A Youth Leadership team.

As Soroptimist International Griffith’s member Will Mead says, that “was enough for us”. They decided to provide financial support for a leadership course run by A4A aimed at enabling equity for emerging female leaders, as part of their global vision on supporting rural women, gender equity and women’s mentorship. The workshop was run in October 2020.

At a dinner held in Griffith on July 21, SI told its members and community why “A4A is an organisation whose ideals and programs align with those of Soroptimist International perfectly as our objectives are all based on the UN’s SDGs”.

The dinner, held at the Exies Club in Griffith, was a chance for SI to meet A4A leaders including founder and national program director Lynne Strong, Dr Dione Howard, Connie Mort, Veronika Vicic and Dylan Male. All shared with Soroptimist International Griffith their own stories and A4A’s highly revered programs for primary and secondary schools.

Will Mead says that having A4A visit Griffith to share their experiences was “a bit special”, local media reported.

“We wanted our members and our community to meet some of these amazing people,” she says.

She told the event that Soroptimist International Griffith was impressed by A4A’s school programs Kreative Koalas and the Archibull Prize because they are “really pushing for better responses to climate change and achieving gender equality”, The Area News reported. 

“Agriculture is such a male-dominated field and yet most of PYiA’s YFC are women,” said Will, who described it as a “wonderful organisation”.

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The stunning table decorations at the SI Griffith Dinner

The A4A leadership course aimed at enabling equity for upcoming women leaders was part of a series of workshops rolled out at the end of last year. Alongside A4A’s fabulous national facilitators Kris Beazley, Jenni Metcalfe, Les Robinson and Josh Farr, we were delighted to add internationally acclaimed Kwame Christian to our repertoire.

Kwame is the director of the American Negotiation Institute, a practising business lawyer, and host of the world’s most popular negotiation podcast Negotiate Anything (downloaded over 1.5 million times). He’s also author of the Amazon best-seller Finding Confidence in Conflict, a negotiation and conflict resolution professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and regular Forbes magazine contributor. In addition, Kwame is a LinkedIn trainer, a regular contributor to Forbes magazine and a popular public speaker with his 2017 TEDx talk being named the most popular talk on the topic of conflict.

A4A is very grateful for Soroptimist International Griffith’s support.