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.
Medowie Christian School and Raymond Terrace Public School have been named Grand Champion Koalas in the 2019 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge. Kreative Koalas is a ground-breaking project-based learning initiative from Picture You in Agriculture, which this year delivered the sustainability message and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals into fifteen primary schools from the Hunter Valley and Penrith Regions.
Young people may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. Through Kreative Koalas we are giving them a voice in designing and creating that future. This year students have investigated local issues and worked with the community to give a voice to our Koalas and threatened species, our waterways and our farmers. The students have said ‘Together we can’
Medowie Christian School was awarded the Grand Champion Community Project for Change after collaboration with Hunter Local Land Services to raise the importance of healthy waterways for clean water and sanitation. The students developed six easy-to-follow methods for protecting waterways and made these into a pamphlet, which was distributed to the school community. The students also visited their local Gramhamstown Dam to examine the health of the water through temperature, turbidity, salinity and pH testing and presented their findings at a school assembly. Learn more about the winning project here and here
Students from Medowie Christian School with Chair of Hunter Local Land Services Lindy Hyam ( right) and teacher Martha Atkins ( left)
Raymond Terrace Public School was awarded Grand Champion Koala for their vibrantly decorated, life-sized fibreglass koala named Mitjigan Guula, which means girl koala in Worimi language. In collaboration with their Aboriginal Girl’s Group they incorporated indigenous designs on their artwork to look at the effects of climate change on koala populations. And, in what has unfortunately proved to be timely, the koala portrays how inaction on climate change can lead to devastating bushfires. The students have donated their prize money and their Koala to the Port Stephens Koala Hospital. See story here
Students from Raymond Terrace Public School with Costa Georgiadis
In other awards Penrith schools Ropes Crossing Public School and Colyton Public School were recognised for their artwork and community project for change respectively.
Four students were acknowledged as eco-warriors. These students were Zoe Bonifacio from Colyton Public School, Keeley Haywood from James Erskine Public School,Tayla Weeks from Medowie Christian School and Josie Hodges from Gresford Public School.
All schools received their awards at a ceremony held at Tocal Agricultural College on Thursday November 28, attended by sponsors and supporters and emceed by celebrity gardener Costa Georgiadis.
Photos from the awards day can be found here and a big shout out to our supporting partners empowering young people to solve tomorrows problems today
This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.
In the field
This week there is a woolly buzz in classrooms in Sydney and we are thrilled to launch the pilot of our new program Paddock to Plate Pen Pals. Supported by Australian Wool Innovation this new program will see students Google Hanging Out with our Young Farming Champions working in the wool and sheep supply chain.
Skype sessions have been used successfully in the past to take the schoolroom to the field, such as when YFC Emma Ayliffe used the technique with Parramatta Public School for The Archibull Prize. For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the classroom. “When we skyped with Emma, she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. See case study here
Monday morning CSIRO Sheep Researcher and YFC Dr Danila Marini beamed into Carlingford West Public School to discuss all things animal wellbeing, virtual fencing and technology and teacher Zoe Stephens says students were fascinated:
On Tuesday morning it was Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian and Wool YFC Dione Howard turn
This is what teacher Zoe Stephens had to say ” What a great connection! The students were so engaged and interested. I think you may have inspired some students to become future vets! The medical equipment you showed the students were amazing, especially as they could identify that we use the same equipment for humans! Thanks for your time and enthusiasm!
Elders Wool broker Sam Wan and sheep musterer Chloe Dutschke will beam into Carlingford West PS later this week. Paddock to Plate Pen Pals will also be supported by blog posts, social media and case-studies.
In the Central Highlands of Queensland, YFC and Secretary of the Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCGIA) Alexandria Galea and YFC and Cotton Info Extension Officer Sharna Holman worked with a team to deliver a Teach the Teacher Tour to gain hands on experience of agriculture.
Sixty teachers visited an irrigation farm, took a quick agronomy lesson and had a siphon starting competition. The adventure continued to a horticulture farm, to an automotive packing plant for citris and grapes and Fairbairn Dam. Events like this aim to inform teachers of farming practices and give them a positive and fun experience of agriculture so that they can share this knowledge in the classroom. Great work Alexandria and Sharna.
The Archibull Prize is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and the team is looking back over what we have learnt throughout our decade long journey of harnessing the best and brightest young ag minds to take the farm into urban classrooms. Our first Lessons Learnt Blog explores careers in agriculture and offering real world skills to solve real world problems. Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan shines as an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture. Read more HERE
Out of the field
YFC Dr Danila Marini talks sheep welfare and the fascinating new world of virtual fencing with University of New England:
“Since ancient livestock herders began erecting barriers of brush and stone to contain animals, fencing has been a time-consuming and expensive business for farmers. Imagine, then, the virtual fence: an invisible line on the landscape that animals will not cross, which can be created on a map on a tablet, and moved or erased at a touch. After decades of research trial and error — lots of error — the concept is now a reality, at least for cattle. The rapid minaturisation of technology means that the solution may soon be applied to sheep, and that’s where UNE post-doctoral student Dr Danila Marini steps in.” Read more HERE
Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is off to Antarctica this year and has co-authored a story in the lead up to her adventure via The Crawford Fund titled “Farming on Thin Ice.”
“Later this year, two young agricultural researchers who are both former Crawford Fund scholars and now RAID Network members, will be setting off to Antarctica. They were selected to take part in an incredible 12-month program with a cohort of 95 women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) from around the globe. The Homeward Bound programme is a global leadership initiative to equip women in STEMM with strategic and communication capabilities in order to influence policy and decision-making regarding the sustainability of our planet.” Read more HERE
Bianca Das (left) and YFC Anika Molesworth (right) will be setting off to Antarctica later this year.
Friend of Art4Agriculture and consultancy guru Greg Mills caught up with Wool YFC Peta Bradley at Zone Junior Judging in Armidale. Peta was meat sheep judge and Greg was the steward. The winner and runner up from Armidale will compete at the zone final at Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.
YFC Meg Rice attended a NSW Farmers workshop last week that was aimed at developing practical leadership skills in women.
YFC and Local Landcare Coordinators (LLC) Erika Heffer and Jasmine Whitten are both off to Sydney this week for the Statewide LLC Gathering. Jasmine checked with the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from the Dubbo airport this morning on her way to the big smoke. She’ll keep us updated on all the Landcare happenings this week, so keep an eye out!
Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke is one of six finalists for the this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship. The Scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience and mentoring to young people aspiring to a career in the wool industry. The recipient of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship will be announced at the scholarship dinner on April 4th. Good luck Chloe!
We’re excitedly looking for the next crop of Young Farming Champions to join out team in 2019! Expressions of Interest are now open for University of New England Young Farming Champions. If this is you or someone you know, please share the word! Find our more HERE
Kreative Koalas is an innovative STEM project-based learning program that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
It empowers teachers to engage young people with a diverse range of academic skills, provides them with teamwork, problem solving and communication skills and a creative vehicle to design real world projects that have real world impact.
Competing for cash prizes and the title of Grand Champion Kreative Koala schools are:
Provided with a blank fibreglass koala for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on a sustainable development goal.
Paired with Community Champions, business and community groups who hold the knowledge, wisdom and experience to assist the students to learn about local projects which are already addressing Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment.
Contact Lynne Strong E: firstname.lastname@example.org to access an expression of interest brochure
“With the amount of waste increasing in Australia by nearly 8% a year, it’s time for us, as a nation, to seriously re-examine the ways we consume and dispose of consumer items?’
GERRINGONG PUBLIC SCHOOL IS BUILDING ON THE SUCCESS OF THEIR GRAND CHAMPION KREATIVE KOALA COMMUNITY PROJECT AND TAKING THEIR LEARNINGS NATIONALLY WITH AN INVITATION TO BE A MODEL SCHOOL IN SERIES TWO OF ABC TV ‘WAR ON WASTE’
Gerringong Public School and science teacher Sue Hassler catapulted themselves into the pilot program of Kreative Koalas with an unmatched enthusiasm to learn more about recycling and waste management, and in doing so won the award for best community project.
Their creation combined their artwork, Captain Koala, with a TerraCycle Drop-off point. “Our project is unique because we have combined our koala into our community project,” the school said. “We have turned this object into a purposeful and decorative addition to our school. We hope to inspire better knowledge of and involvement in recycling, especially through the provision of this collection point for hard to recycle items such as toothbrushes, Nescafe coffee pods and pump dispensers.” Last year we collected over 60,000 Terracycle items which the school receives 1 cent per item for, this money comes back into the school to help with our sustainability work.
Gerringong Public School won $500 for their efforts but the longer-term applications of their learnings are what makes this such as successful project.
Gerringong Public School was supported by legends local artist Penny Sadubin and Sustainability Ambassador Jaime Lovell through their Kreative Koala journey
During the Kreative Koalas journey the school participated in a plastics audit and was astounded to collect 822 pieces of plastic including chip packets, snap lock bags, clingwrap, foil and muesli bar wrappers. A second audit found an additional 494 pieces of plastic in the school’s water easement. These plastics became the focus of the school’s war on waste.
“I realized that every syllabus or curriculum had an underpinning in sustainability and nearly every topic had some direct content related to the environment,” Mrs Hassler said. “I showed the students Mission Blue with Sylvia Earle, and then we talked about plastics; their break-down periods, where they come from and why they are a problem. Then we looked at their lunchboxes and how we could minimise plastics in them. We saw a huge change in lunchboxes and there is now a lot less clingwrap, for example, coming into the school.”
Gerringong Public School then overhauled their bin system. Now waste is separated into paper, foil and hard plastics, Terracycle (chip and muesli bar packets)and landfill. “With a school of 430 kids we’ve gone from filling 21 landfill bins each week to four and they are usually only a quarter full,” Mrs Hassler said.
In addition, the students made beeswax wraps as an alternative to cling wrap and Ziploc plastic bags, which can take five hundred years to break down. So successful was this part of their war on waste that parents began asking for after-school workshops to make their own. The school canteen also came on board with eco-cups, metal spoons and a reduction in the use of foil, and recycling bins were put in the staff room and library.
The school has been very successful in educating and engaging their local community using Facebook, school newsletters and their local newspaper The Bugle with Captain Koala now becoming a community teracycle facility
“It’s an ongoing process of watching what the waste is and it takes a long time for people to understand that what you’re doing is important,” Mrs Hassler said. “There’s no point in teaching literacy and numeracy if we’ve wrecked our environment in the meantime. It becomes about starting independent action with nine and ten-year olds and that’s just gold for me. I’ve got kids who’ll come to me and say, ‘On the weekend, we picked up all these plastics on the beach’ and I feel like they do get it and they’re implementing it in their own lives and making a difference.”
Gerringong Public School is a shining example of the power of collaboration to take courageous steps to create change. Though driving of change may start with one champion, it is the movement, and in this case the students who are everyone’s future, who will make it a reality.
Kreative Koalas focus of collaborating with thought leaders who back the next generation of young people who are going to rethink the world and create a better future is something we can all be involved in and be proud of.
See what all our Courageous Kreative Koala schools are doing here
Watch this space for more on the adventures of Captain Koala.
The Kreative Koalas program welcomes Sue Hassler as our 2018 Kreative Koalas Ambassador. In this role Sue will be supporting schools in the Southern Highlands of NSW to help Australians meet our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals
Sue Hassler shares the highlights of Gerringong Public Schools Kreative Koalas expereince