Posts by Picture You in Agriculture

The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.

Meet Katie Barnett – a young woman excited about a future in wool

The Australia Wool Innovation Cultivate- Growing Young Leaders scholarship invites young people in the Australian wool industry to nominate to learn how to become confident ambassadors and trusted voices.

The program identifies and supports young agricultural professionals and equips them with the skills to:

  • Connect and collaborate with the next generation of consumers and multiply their impact
  • Advocate for, and drive change in, the Australian agricultural sector.

They then become the face of our in-school programs and role models for who you can be in agriculture.

It gives us great pleasure to share with you the stories of our 2021 finalists

 Meet Katie Barnett 

My name is Katie Barnett. I am 21 years old and from Kempsey, on the Mid North Coast of NSW. In 2019, I ventured to Armidale, NSW to complete a double degree, a Bachelor of Agriculture/Bachelor of Business at the University of New England. I am currently in my fourth and final year. I sit on multiple committees such as ASC of NSW Next Generation, Kempsey Show Society and UNE’s RSUS. In addition, I work on two properties, Kyabra Station and Taylors Run part-time and am just about to start another job at Precision Pastures. I have a small share in a mob of cross-bred ewes and have an enormous interest in women and youth in Agriculture, community involvement and the sustainability and resilience of the Australian sheep and wool industry.

 

 

How did I get here? I didn’t grow up on a property and I didn’t have family close by with a property for me to go to. I come from a rural town and went to a mainstream Public School.

Attending the Kempsey Anzac Day March with my fellow Kempsey High School Captain Dion Thompson-Stewart

I’ve always had a passion and ambition to become involved in Agriculture, so I took every opportunity that came my way. It doesn’t matter what your background is, your age or even your gender. If you try hard and keep persevering, you’ll achieve your goals. If I can make it so, can you!

Me and my kelpie Liz

I have been involved in many areas of the Agriculture Industry. I have worked with dairy cattle, pigs, beef cattle on smaller scale and beef cattle on a larger scale (cattle station in QLD) and harvested crops to name just a few.  The sheep and wool industries are my favourite.

Its vaccination time on the farm

I love the diversity, the endless opportunities, the innovation, the technology, and the science.

I am proud to be part of an industry where sheep turn grass, water and sunshine into wool – a natural fibre that will last for years and years in your wardrobe, needs less washing, is fire resistant, breathable, recyclable and biodegrable and does not contribute to microplastic pollution

I am particularly interested in supporting producers to continue to deliver sustainable, ethically produced wool.

  • Understanding what are our buyers looking for?
  • What are the main challenges we face as an industry?
  • How do we remain competitive in a world where we compete with many other products such as synthetic fibres?

When we have healthy soils and pastures we can optimise the animal health and welfare outcome for sheep as well as increase the amount and quality of wool they produce. Animals in farming systems can reduce the need for input such as fertilisers and by implementing rotational grazing techniques ensures that grass is trimmed regularly, allowing it to regrow, store more carbon in its roots and support biodiversity in and above the soil.

Trees are an integral part of the farming system, providing shade for livestock, capturing carbon and shelter for native animals 

I believe that I have a great future ahead of me in the sheep and wool Industry and I encourage everyone to have a go. You never know what lies ahead.

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.

Listen to Amy and students talk about the program on ABC News here 

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.

 

 

Never underestimate the impact of a teacher who challenges and stretches students

From discussions on Afghanistan to painting the ‘Archies’’ cow while talking about saving our seas, there’s no subject that’s off limits for today’s students led by their champion teachers. Here we meet one of them.  

 

At multicultural Riverstone High School in northwest Sydney, Sana Said, an Australian-born support classroom teacher with a Syrian and Lebanese background, doesn’t walk into the classroom and announce that students will discuss “human rights, slavery and genocide in unknown parts of the world”.

 

“It’s usually organic rather than prepared but that’s better as students are eager to learn about what interests them rather than be forced into something that doesn’t.

Current issues they have discussed include war, immigration, racism, unjust laws and bullying.” says Sana referring to some of the school’s unique initiatives, like their PRIDE Projects. 

 

It’s the same approach that the 33-year-old takes to The Archibull Prize with her students, who opted to investigate Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14 – to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development” – for this year’s entry.

 

“We’ll have discussions on issues – things that aren’t necessarily part of the core curriculum but will come up,” says Sana,

Adding that she is thankful to Action4Agriculture for providing online resources and regular newsletters to provide the kids some structure with the program.

 

“If you want students to absorb what they are learning, it’s important to give them ownership and immerse them in the experience, and this is what The Archibull Prize offers students. Starting with what the students value and giving them access to real people who are living the issues everyday, it’s giving both parties an opportunity to work on solutions together.”

 

Through the ‘Archies’, students have a platform to take away real knowledge of what is happening around them.

 

“It becomes infectious – when you tell one person something, they’ll tell somebody else and then all of a sudden it’s viral because it’s quite contagious information,” she says.

 

A teacher of 11 years, Sana was born to Muslim parents and grew up in Castle Hill in northwest Sydney. 

 

“Only a few of us had parents who were migrants and I remember all the comments that I got about how I didn’t fit the mould. 

I didn’t run away from people and hide, it just made me realise that I have to push myself a little bit more and make them see me for who I am rather than what I am.” ” says Sana.

 

When she started kindergarten she spoke only Arabic. At five she learnt English and still remembers “the anxiety that she suffered and the difficulty that she had with pronunciation and phonics.

 

“But kids are resilient.”

 

It was an assessment-driven place, where there were textbooks and computer labs but no laptops.

 

Sana was the first in her family to attend university. 

 

“I’ve never stopped wanting to be a teacher since I started, but I didn’t grow up wanting to become one.   

In my background your ‘career’ is being a housewife and it wasn’t until I went to uni that I was like ‘oh I want to be a teacher, I didn’t realise how good at it I am’ and how important it is for me to achieve my career aspirations.” she says. 

 

She moved around schools in NSW after graduating.

 

In Tamworth in the state’s northeast, Sana taught in two different schools with a high population of Indigenous students.

 

“It is less multicultural up there than other parts of Australia. I was the only Arab there and easily spotted among the crowds.” she says.

 

In her first year of teaching at Riverstone, a co-educational school that “takes pride in their appearance” and puts students’ tables in a circle rather than in lines, it’s a different cultural mix to Tamworth. 

 

“We’ve got Polynesian and Samoan families and we’re slowly getting Indian and some others from Asian backgrounds,” says Sana. 

 

Having been in grade eight during the September 11 attacks, when people “just assumed that all Arabs are terrorists”, she doesn’t shy away from confronting issues like the situation in Afghanistan with her students. 

 

“I’m very grateful that because my father was a lieutenant in the Syrian army, I understand war, and what it’s like for families to migrate to Australia and feel like an outsider.  

I have a lot of students wearing hijabs and kids going ‘why do you wear that, it’s stupid?’ But it’s not stupid to a student and it’s inappropriate that you even think that you can come up to her and tell her that because you obviously don’t have the full picture of the reason why.” ” says Sana.

 

Sana considers it a privilege to teach young people so they will challenge concepts and ideas in the world.

 

“They get to vote when they finish high school,” she says.

 

Riverstone has a number of progressive school initiatives, including their PRIDE Projects, where a teacher creates a topic that they would like to explore, writing out a proposal with a timeline of what they’d like to achieve each week over ten weeks. The scheme involves showcasing a product that you can donate to, for instance a program helping the housing or a clothing or food drive, to raise awareness of social and health issues. Launched in 2019, the projects aim to fuel creativity and wellbeing. They include those in which the students aim to donate secondhand clothes to organisations like The Salvation Army and Vinnies, plant their own vegetables to give to Hawkesbury Community Kitchens, and learn about different Polynesian cultures which they then showcase through performances and food sharing days. 

 

“It’s pushing the boundaries further so that we can educate kids why it’s important to donate, to give blood or save the environment especially in these weird times,” says Sana.

 

 As someone who considers herself being constantly open to challenge, Sana is conscious of seeking out new responsibilities at work.

 

“Times are changing and teachers are having to adapt because students are changing and we’re having to change with them by keeping up to date with new policies, new skills and technologies.  

I’m fortunate enough to work at a school where I have a head teacher who’s very supportive, who’s always saying ‘yes’ to my ideas.” she says.

 

COVID has of course presented its own challenges, with teaching in NSW currently completely online.

 

“It’s really full on, especially when you’re having to see your students through a computer screen and have phone calls with those who need one-on-one attention. It’s a very different learning environment to ensure that no-one is left behind,” says Sana.

 

She adds that during the pandemic teachers have been watching more students be diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).   

 

“But programs like The Archibull Prize are helping keep students motivated. These sorts of programs are teaching students about sustainability and natural resources. It’s very vital information, because sometimes students are only seeing what’s on the news and it’s sometimes not accurate or blown out of proportion so they really need to hear it through primary sources, first-hand information, other than just what they’re hearing.”  says Sana, who remembers learning about agriculture in geography at school.

 

Having started teaching special education in 2016, in the future she would like to start a podcast highlighting children with disabilities.

 

Sana aspires to become a leader in education, whether this is through taking on a deputy principal role or another position.

 

“I’d love to be a head teacher because you get a mix of leadership and are still in the classroom connected with kids, building that rapport with kids which is the reason why I got into teaching in the first place.”

 

 

 

Australian Wool Innovation is seeking the next crop of Wool Young Farming Champions

Australian Wool Innovation is seeking the next crop of Wool Young Farming Champions

Australian Wool Innovation is pleased to continue its longstanding partnership with Action for Agriculture (A4A) that identifies and trains emerging young leaders within the wool industry to be confident communicators and trusted voices in the community.

The 2021 scholarship will allow for 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.

“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

Young people, aged between 20 and 30 (inclusive), who are undertaking post graduate studies or working in the wool industry are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share why their heart is in the Wool industry.

In the second year of the program these young leaders will have the opportunity to hone their advocacy skills by engaging with primary and secondary students with A4A’s in-school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas.

Graduates of the program join the Young Farming Champions alumni – a national network of globally connected young thought leaders thriving in business and in life, who are inspiring community pride in Australian agriculture.

The Young Farming Champions alumni include 2021 NSW RAS Rural Achiever and Lambition finalist veterinarian Dione Howard, 2021 Australian Young Farmer of the Year Emma Ayliffe, 2019 Australian Woolbroker of the Year Samantha Wan, 2018 Innovation Farmer of the Year Dan Fox and winner of the Leadership category of the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards, Dr Jo Newton OAM.

Expressions of Interest to be submitted by 5pm 30th September 2021

The EOI brochure can be found here

Please find the Expression of Interest form here

Young Farming Champions Muster July 2021

Welcome to the Young Farming Champions July Muster. Our headline act this week celebrates the latest milestone for the team.

One of the great strengths of the program is our YFC alumni network who are paying it forward and providing a peer-to-peer buddy system for new entrants.

In 2021 those relationships have led to some of our alumni pairing with their YFC buddies and stepping up to facilitate workshops using a ‘train-the -trainer’ model in which new YFCs co-host targeted workshops

Headline Act

On August 1st, 2021, YFC alumni Anika Molesworth and YFC co-host Dylan Male delivered a ‘Develop your Personal Brand for the Greater Good’ workshop

“A brand doesn’t just deliver a product or service – it can transform the way people think and act

By developing your brand, you will be better equipped to communicate in a way that resonates and motivates your audience to action.

Whether you advocate for a world of zero hunger, for climate action, for gender equality, or want to ensure vibrant rural economies – having a strong brand will underpin what you do.’ ,’ says Anika.

The workshop looked at how you can turn ideas into emotional connections with audiences.

As some of our participants shared the workshop provided our emerging YFC leaders with the tools, knowledge, and techniques to create personal brands for truly inspiring and impactful leadership.

Earlier in the week YFC alumni Dr Jo Newton OAM was joined by YFC co-hosts Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden to provide an opportunity for YFC to practice their lessons learnt from Roxi Beck’s Engage Workshop.

‘I found Roxi’s workshop on empowering effective communications with consumers to be incredibly valuable.

It reminded us that everyone who produces food is also a consumer and we are talking to consumers every day.

Roxi highlighted the importance of active listening and asking to truly understand what is behind another person’s beliefs and values. These skills are like muscles and require time and practice to grow’ says Jo

 

A snippet from Steph, Olivia and Jo’s workshop for their fellow YFC

 

Both Steph Tabone and Olivia Borden have taken lessons from Roxi’s workshop to their workplaces

‘The lessons from Roxi’s workshop are relevant to many people across the industry, including my colleagues.

In discussion with my supervisor, I mentioned how great it would be to share some of Roxi’s key points with our team.

My supervisor supported this concept. We got together on 19 July and talked through Roxi’s slides.

‘It was a good opportunity to learn together, to discuss experiences we’ve shared and it also helped me cement my knowledge.’ says Steph.

Olivia is applying the principles of ‘ask; listen; ask; listen; ask; listen’ with the objective of understanding, taking off her agronomy hat and approaching tricky conversations with ethical values at the forefront of her  mind and the scientific data in her back pocket.

“Sometimes agronomy is solving puzzles. The tricky thing is these puzzles are like the mountain Roxi referred to and at times everyone’s looking at it from a different angle, You also run into many iceberg conversations where you only see what’s on top and have to dive down to see what’s really underneath in order to solve it.’ says Olivia.

In the Field

Marlee Langfield is using her photography skills and honing her videography skills to share the journey of her farm’s wheat crops from planting to harvest as part of the Australian Export Grains Innovation Centre Crop Updates

“I’ll be filming monthly videos until harvest in November/December that will be shared with our international customers and translated into five languages! You can follow along on the AEGIC Facebook page” says Marlee

Bryan Van Wyk has had a busy few weeks preparing the 11 Austral Fisheries trawlers he manages to go tiger prawning in northern Australia.

“We have a talented, passionate and dedicated core group of people that we all call family.

‘These men and women are about to embark on a four-month journey across northern Australia packing premium Aussie prawns. They have my utmost respect. They leave their families and friends behind; they work long and hard; and they are stewards of our oceans.

‘They collect important scientific data for conservation, they remove illegal ghost nets, they are world leaders in bycatch reduction, and I am honoured to be part of their family.

Here’s to a safe and enjoyable season. May your seas be calm, your bags full of red gold and your crews happy.’ said Bryan on Instagram

https://youtu.be/pLufmDdA2K8

This video was created by Michael Pride to show what happens on board once the prawns are caught by the Austral Fisheries Team

From “Robin Hood” in Milbrulong Riverina NSW to the Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor in Melbourne, Wool YFC’s Dione Howard and Sam Wan discovered the world is a very small place when Sam found Dione’s family farm’s wool clip in her auctioneering catalogue

Unfortunately, with the volatility of the market — the Merino fleece wool was withdrawn from sale so Sam has no auction footage to round out the little video she created for Dione.

 

Sam was able to share some insights from the Selling Centre floor with Dione

Follow the footage:.
1. Internal catalogue cover – to show Dione when she could tune into the live video feed to watch her wool sell by open-cry auction in Melbourne. Dione’s wool was in the Wagga section.
2. Catalogue listing for Robin Hood wool – this is the hard copy of the finalised internal catalogue that I use to overview the wool sale, follow queries. It lists all the objective test results. A digital and hard copy version is available to wool buyers.
3. Copy of the classer’s specs – this is the paperwork that follows the farm bales to the wool store and tells the technical staff what number the bales are, what is in them and which bales go together. It also includes the wool classer details and the National Wool Declaration (NWD). Dione’s dad classed the wool clip, the paperwork was very tidy and properly completed!
4. Elders National Wool Selling Centre show floor, Melbourne – where samples of the bales are set up for buyers to inspect and value prior to the auction. In this week, Elders Melbourne was offering 5270 bales.
5. Wagga section, Dione’s wool started at Lot 1310. Zoom to a floor sheet which accompanies each sample – this shows Lot 1310 was made up of 10 bales and is a line of AAAM – Merino Fleece.
6. Walk past the other merino fleece lines offered for sale.

Wool YFC Dione Howard and her partner Joe Fitzgerald were featured in a full page story in the Daily Telegraph.

Fingers crossed for another bumper season ahead, and that it’s business as usual for regional NSW farmers, were the key messages of the Telegraph story. Joe farms at Cootamundra where the crops are in and there’s been plenty of rain, setting the scene for another excellent harvest. All that’s needed is some sunshine and to keep those little mice away!

Corteva supported YFC and graduate agronomist Emily May was looking forward to sharing her career journey with students at AgVision

When COVID lockdown saw it postponed, always ready to make the most of every opportunity Emily took over Elders Instagram stories to share a Day in the Life of a Graduate Agronomist with their followers.

Out in the field

YFC Dylan Male made the most of his trip to the Northern Territory and took time out to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden

“During my recent travels to the Northern Territory, I was fortunate enough to meet fellow YFC Olivia Borden in Katherine. As we got to know each other better, we quickly discovered that we had many shared interests and passions, most notably for all things agronomy. We both told stories about our pathway into agriculture and shared our excitement about embarking on the YFC journey. We left the catch-up feeling a greater sense of connectedness and look forward to staying in touch’.

COVID lockdowns also mean our YFC won’t have the opportunity to visit schools in person, so our agile team is connecting with facilitator Josh Farr and the Paddock Pen Pals team led by Sam Wan to get some tips and tricks on how facilitate highly engaging zoom workshops with school students

Participating in the 2021 Archibull Prize Riverstone High School is first out of the blocks to investigate SDG 14 Life in the Oceans making the most of Bryan Van Wyk’s expertise as manager of the Austral Fisheries Northern Fishing Trawlers

Students will be quizzing Bryan about:
• plastic in the ocean,
• overfishing,
• what the future looks like for our oceans and animals,
• sustainable fishing

Representing Riverina Local Land Services YFC Dione Howard and Megan Sinclair zoomed into Barellan Public School Year 4-6 class who are participating in Kreative Koalas on Wednesday 21July.

Dr Calum Watt has found himself in demand with schools students. After reading about Calum, Principal Kris Beazley from the Centre of Excellent in Agricultural Education sprang into action

 “The students will be touching on CRISPR 9 next week as part of their initial work and then taking a deeper dive in a couple of weeks, so we would love to hear about your passion and knowledge in this area and how it is being used in Australian agriculture.” says Kris in her email to Calum

 

Calum presented CRISPR 9 technologies to her students on 28th July.

“Calum was fantastic. He covered CRISPR science, genetics, career opportunities plus the skills and knowledge required to do a PhD. A session that was originally planned for 40 mins stretched to 90 mins with the students highly engaged for the entire time”  says Kris

Kris and her teachers are building on the success of the workshop with Calum and making the most of COVID lockdowns by initiating ” Wow Wednesdays” – a 60 minute masterclass with an industry expert. The students are super excited to have Wool YFC Dr Danila Marini zooming in this week and Australian Young Farmer of the Year YFC Emma Ayliffe the following week.

Prime Cuts

YFC and Chair of our Youth Leadership Team Dione Howard was a very worthy finalist in the Lambition Awards. Check out her inspiring story here 

The ever multi talented Dr Anika Molesworth is the voice of latest Case tractor add. See the back story here 

“We need no thanks, rewards or dues, we love this land, it’s what we do. There’s not a day that the landscape doesn’t captivate me with its vast wonder, there’s not a day that I don’t feel honoured to work alongside farmers who produce food and fibre for our country, and beyond. Each day we rise to our challenges, are grateful for our opportunities, and strive to make tomorrow the best it possibly can be. I hold such deep admiration for the farming community. With all its highs and lows, the triumphs and turmoil – and recently I was invited to read a poem about this incredible community.” says Anika Molesworth – farmer, scientist and now voice of CASE IH Australia/New Zealand’s new advertising campaign.

YFC Meg Rice has recently completed the Graduate Program with the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment. Throughout the program Meg worked on Murray-Darling Basin policy, trade and market access, live animal exports and the Future Drought Fund. Meg is excited to invited to take up a permanent role as a Senior Policy Officer within the Live Animal Export branch of the department.

Meg Rice pictured with the department Secretary, Andrew Metcalfe OAM.

A huge congratulations to friend of the YFC Hannah Wandel who was awarded an OAM in the Queen’s Birthday honours list. Great story in HerCanberra here

July has been a huge month for the YFC and we will have more of their July adventures to share with you in our August Muster

Don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Dr Anika Molesworth book Our Sunburnt Country here 

And none of this could happen without our supporting partners investing in our YFC

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices

 

Leadership is Language – Emma Black and Shannon Speight founders of Black Box Co talk to Dione Howard

In this episode of Leadership is Language- Conversations with Thought Leaders the founders of Black Box Co Emma Black and Shannon Speight talk to Young Farming Champion Dione Howard

 

Black Box Co is a cloud-based software program that manages and compares large datasets, presenting insights in graphical form on online dashboards. It is the brainchild of two northern Queensland women, Shannon Speight and Emma Black. “By simply uploading a file to Black Box, data can be tied together across the supply chain,” Shannon says. “It becomes a decision-making tool that you can execute and it gives maximum insight for minimum effort. It takes the grunt work out of data analysis from fertility to growth to carcass.”

In this interview Emma and Shannon share insights into their first year of business going from:

  • Emma and Shannon working part-time to now having a full time staff of 10 people
  • Zero cattle on their database to having 900,000
  • Zero data points to 15 million data points

Shannon and Emma also reflect on:

  • the value and experience they have gained from their mentors
  • tips for applying for awards
  • what a typical day looks for both of them as business women with 4 children under 6 between them – the negotiables and the non negotiables
  • Importance of self care and what that looks like for them personally

Highlights

When the moons align make the most of it. Shannon and Emma have leveraged key moments in their lives and their strengths

  1. Shannon’s involvement in Northern Genomics Project with the University of Queensland 
  2. Both being winners of the Zanda McDonald Award
  3. Their drive and commitment to being solutions focused
  4. Both living in Northern Queensland
  5. Power of the bottom up approach
  6. Success is identifying a gap and meeting the wants and needs of your customer.
  7. Identify and work with the early adopters

Quotes:

“its not about balance – you are always juggling balls. You have to work out which balls are made of glass and which ones are made of rubber” Shannon

“awards are about taking a giant leap and making the most of the experience. Whilst the award initially recognises something you have done, the follow up and the opportunities are the best part that comes from awards” Emma

“the Zanda Award has been instrumental in changing both our lives. We both had people who tapped us on the shoulder and back us when we applied. On the other hand when you get knocked back for an award it can be just as important as a learning experience. Applying for awards multiple times can make you stronger each time” Shannon

‘do your research when applying for an award, find out what the judges are looking for, ring some-one who has applied before, really put the effort in” Emma

“a good mentor can really challenge you and your thinking” Emma

 

More from Black Box Co in the Media here 

Shannon Speight and Emma Black. Photo credit Outback Magazine 

Biography

Shannon Speight

Shannon is passionate about the beef and livestock industry. Having graduated as a veterinarian from the University of Sydney Shannon has spent extensive time working within the beef industry in various roles. Shannon began as a vet working with live export in North Queensland and then mixed practice in Charters Towers and Longreach.

One of her most recent roles has seen her coordinate a large scale beef genomics project across Northern Australia. This project has involved over 50 properties from Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia and ovarian scanning over 30,000 heifers to develop a DNA suitable for northern cattle with a focus on fertility traits. Shannon was integral in supporting producers with data collection, ovarian scanning and pregnancy testing and providing genomic and production feedback to producers.

Shannon was awarded the Zanda McDonald Award in 2019. The Zanda McDonald Award has been running for the past six years and seeks to highlight talented and passionate young individuals working in the agricultural sector. This highly prestigious Trans-Tasman award allowed Shannon an impressive personal development package that included a trans-Tasman mentoring trip and the ability to get up close and personal with leaders in the Australasian ag sector through the Platinum Primary Producers (PPP) Group.

Shannon has since co-founded Black Box Co an innovative SaaS (Software as a Service) product that ingests raw data across the beef supply chain to inform prediction, forecasting and key production insights. Black Box Co has secured production data on over 900,000 animals and this product is now being trialled with key commercial partners across the beef supply chain.

Shannon is currently completing her Masters of Business Administration through James Cook University and is the chairperson of the Beef Australia Next Generation Committee.

Emma Black

Emma has always been passionate about the beef and livestock industry since growing up on a property in Western Queensland. Educated at the University of New England, Armidale NSW, Emma went on to work in livestock nutrition consulting followed by meat processing to gain a knowledge right along the beef supply chain. To apply this knowledge, Emma then worked in extension services taking a whole-of-business approach, working directly with beef producers and industry to assist in livestock nutrition, pasture/livestock management, meat quality, business/data analysis and general property management.

Emma has since co-founded Black Box Co, an innovative software that ingests raw production data from right along the beef supply chain, instantly turning it into key insights to inform production decisions, prediction and forecasting. Black Box Co has secured production data on over 900,000 animals and is currently being trialled with key commercial partners across the beef supply chain.

Emma was the inaugural winner of the prestigious Zanda McDonald Award which has provided her with ongoing mentoring and guidance from the biggest movers and shakers in the agricultural industries across Australia and New Zealand through the Platinum Primary Producer (PPP) Group. To further her knowledge and skill set Emma is currently studying a Masters in Business Administration. She is extremely passionate about mentoring the next generation including young producers, university and high school students.

 

 

Announcing the 2020 Kreative Koalas winners

 

Winning entries, which highlight “amazing creativity, energy and amount of work” include the competition’s first wannabe turtle, showcasing caring for country, and a disco jiving koala who warns our planet is burning 

 

The 2020 winners of the world-renowned schools program Kreative Koalas, where students paint a blank fibreglass koala to depict a sustainability theme, have been unveiled 

 

In a year full of challenges, the winning category entries from the schools illustrate extraordinary talent, determination and effort, said judge and globally-renowned community change expert Les Robinson.

 

“I’m gobsmacked by the amazing creativity, energy and amount of work put into all of the projects,” said Les, adding that the students thought logically and introduced concrete actions for change in their school and community.

 

The winners include St Brigid’s Primary School in Raymond Terrace in the NSW Hunter Valley with their unique “Hunter Bila Guraa”, which scooped the Best Digital Learning Journey prize. 

 

Sitting on a river depicting one healthy, green, tree-lined embankment that turtles need, and one drought stricken burnt side which makes them so vulnerable to predators, his head is decorated with the Aboriginal flag colours to represent caring for country. 

 

The animal, whose name means “Hunter River Turtle” in the Gathang language of the Worimi people, is a koala who wanted to become a turtle and has a large version of the latter painted on his back.

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“The yellow lines coming away from his nose portray him as a warrior, as we have become biodiversity warriors through this journey,” said the students, who also wanted to represent four of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with their entry. 

 

Sporting a shirt literally off a farmer’s back, “Dusty Paddocks”, co-winner of the Best Artwork prize, is the environmental superhero brainchild of Caragabal Public School in Caragabal, central west NSW, who have suffered a three-year drought and were last year featured on ABC Behind the News

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His shirt, donated by a local family, is coated with pot fragments to evoke visions of a parched earth. But it opens at the front to reveal a Superman suit, representing the power that kids have to save our planet.

 “It is about the hope for a better future for their land and their families,” said the students.

 

Annangrove Public School in Sydney’s west are co-winners of the Best Community Action Project with their project to “transform our food systems to transform the world” to help out the hungry, educate others, and reduce their “food footprint”. 

The ongoing legacy of their Kreative Koalas journey sees students hold “Waste Free Wednesdays”, share regular tips on sustainable practices in the school newsletter, and donate eggs and vegetables from a new garden to a nearby community kitchen, who they sponsor.

“The surprising thing for us was how easy it became to incorporate sustainability into our everyday lives, and not just in terms of food,” said the students

 

Raymond Terrace Public School in the Hunter Valley, who are co-winners of the Best Artwork award, came up with a cool koala with a disco mirror ball for a head who jives to “Burn Baby Burn”. 

 

But “Disco Inferno” also carries a grim warning: we will continue to see the extreme and unsustainable effects of global warming, including horiffic bushfires, devastating populations and native species and environments unless action is taken.

 “As the Kreative Koala project evolved, we journeyed more towards the awareness of what was occurring globally with bushfires and responded reflectively to the experiences of Australian communities in 2019/2020,” said the students.

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Co-winners of the Best Community Action project, Medowie Christian School Primary in the Hunter Valley, took a multi-pronged project approach, starting a kindergarten garden and foodway tin drive later.  The students also participated in the OzHarvest FEAST program, through which pupils learnt how to prepare food and cook sustainably. The students’ efforts where featured on ABC radio and in local paper the Port Stephens Examiner. 

“Its just extraordinary what is happening in our schools. I take my hat off to all these committed teachers and their problem solver students. They make us all proud of our education system” says Action for Agriculture program director Lynne Strong

 Martha Atkins from Medowie Christian School shares her Kreative Koalas journey tips and tricks here

 

“The schools were chosen as winners because they started with big global problems, for example hunger. Then they logically drilled down to identify realistic actions students could really do to make a real difference. 

This was backed up with research, and creative reports which were clear and enjoyable to read. 

The projects were hands-on, for instance the ones that involved growing and cooking your own food which is the best way to make a change because you don’t just tell people why, you show them how,” says project judge Les Robinson.

 

The Kreative Koalas school program is one of Action for Agriculture flagship initiatives and we look forward to bringing together the winners for a celebratory event, where the Grand Champion will be announced, when COVID restrictions are lifted. 

See all the artwork finalists here

See all the Community Action Project finalists here

Mega thanks to our supporting partners growing tomorrow’s leaders today