Young Farming Champions Muster November 2022

 

 

 

Headline Act

“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart its right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it.” Alison Mirams 

This is one of the favourite quotes of Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong who has spent decades championing young people and watching as they shine and make a difference to the world around them. This belief was mirrored recently at the 2022 NSW Sustainability Awards (also known as the Banksia Awards), announced in October, where both Young Farming Champions and students from our school programs were celebrated. Take a look at some of the winners:

Minister’s Young Climate Champion: Winner – Kreative Koalas participant St Brigid’s Primary School; finalist – Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize participant Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education.

NSW Communications for Impact Award: Finalist – Action4Agriculture/Kreative Koalas

NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award: Joint Winners – Young Farming Champions Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert.

What a night! Read more about Lynne’s thoughts on the awards and young people as changemakers here.

 

The Team

The NSW Sustainability Awards prove our YFC and our school programs have impact and 2023 will bring more opportunities to fly the agricultural flag with the launch of two new programs: Action4Youth and Young Environmental Champions. Both programs will allow YFC to engage the next generation in agricultural conversations and agricultural career pathways. Stay tuned!

 

In the Field

From paddocks (and oceans) in Australia and across the world, to wool-selling centres and city-based jobs providing help for the hungry, our Young Farming Champions prove there is plethora of career opportunities beyond (and behind) the farm gate.

One YFC making the most of his agricultural pathway is Sam O’Rafferty who works with Summit Ag in southern NSW, where rain and flooding have impacted the production area and planting season for cotton. Despite the challenges Sam reports that cotton seedlings are established and the crop is powering along. Thanks for the update, Sam.

Francesca Earp’s agricultural field is in Laos, where she recently returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. “I was in Laos for three weeks meeting with organisations working on female empowerment, and planning fieldwork for next year’s PhD data collection. I also attended the wedding of one of my colleagues Bouakeo and his wife Koung.”

Providing food is not just a land-based activity as Bryan Van Wyk, our fishing YFC and operations manager for Austral Fisheries, reports from northern waters:

“We have just finished our 2022 tiger prawn season in the Northern Prawn Fishery. 52 vessels fished waters west of Darwin (NT) through to Weipa (QLD) for the past three months catching a variety of different prawn species. At the top of the list sits tiger prawns which are one of the largest and most sought after wild caught prawns in the world. It has not been an easy year for fishers. We have faced many challenges in tough economic climates, which you can listen more about here in an interview with the ABC (6 mins in).”

As part of her successful career as a wool broker Samantha Wan attended AWI’s Wool Broker Forum held in Sydney recently.

“It was highly informative with insightful guest speakers covering global business intelligence, consumer research, education and more, and also an excellent opportunity to network with others in the same area of the supply chain and have open dialogue on current issues.”

A shout-out to George Lehmann from AWI who has been supporting Sam and other Wool YFC by providing access to a range of guest speakers including Bridget Peachey (sheep health and welfare), Miles Barritt (traceability), Mark Scott (Woolmark certification) and Geoff Linden (genetics and animal welfare.) AWI also runs a wool podcast called The Yarn, which recently featured YFC Katherine Bain. Listen here.

Congratulations to Tayla Field who has started a new job with Foodbank Australia as a national program manager for agriculture.

“Foodbank is a non-for-profit business that sources a range of products including food and non-food items such as personal hygiene products for charities. In my new role I will be looking after the agricultural programs that source fresh food at Foodbank including working with growers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The role will cover fresh products including meat, dairy, eggs and fresh produce, while also touching on logistics/transport and packaging. I am looking forward to building on my current skills and developing a new network within a range of agricultural industries.”

 

Out of the Field

Congratulations are in order for Katherine Bain who has channelled her love of sheep and agricultural shows to be named the runner-up in the Victorian Rural Ambassador Awards. As part of the competition Katherine spent three days at the Royal Melbourne Show in September where she not only participated in competition interviews, but gained behind-the-scenes insights into how a royal show is orchestrated. Highlights included the commentator’s box (“very impressive”), presenting ribbons to the finest Burmese Mountain Dogs (“a new but very enjoyable experience”), the show’s ‘Big Brother’ room (“where they keep an eye on everything!”) and participating in the Young Farmer Challenge. Well done, Katherine. I think you have inspired us all to have a shot at the Rural Ambassador Awards!

Staying with shows and Lucy Collingridge was recognised for her commitment to the agricultural show movement when she was awarded life membership of the Cootamundra Show Society at their 2022 Show. Lucy began her agricultural journey on a farm in Condobolin, however it was the Cootamundra Show that expanded her love and education about all things ag; from running the ute competition before she could legally drive herself, to competing in the junior judging events to now overseeing the fleece junior judging Group 9 final, and managing the website and social media for the show society from nine hours away. Lucy has been hands on wherever the Cootamundra Show Society has needed her for many years.

Lucy is pictured with her Mum, Sharon, and the Cootamundra Show President Geoff Larsen.

How can we re-imagine solutions to food security, and support SDG 2: Zero Hunger? This was the question Dylan Male took to high school students across Australia and Indonesia as a guest speaker at Asialink’s ‘Asia Education Foundation’ in early November.

“Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges shared by our global community. Climate change, an increasing population, increasing farm input costs, land degradation, biodiversity loss and conflict are just some of the key colliding challenges adding pressure to our food systems. Positively, agricultural scientists are working with farmers around the world to optimise food production and support a world of #ZeroHunger,” Dylan says. “It was great to be a part of a program that is supporting young people to develop their own solutions and action orientated ideas, which will help contribute towards a world of Zero Hunger into the future.”

 

Prime Cuts

Congratulations to Anika Molesworth, who not only was joint winner of the NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award, but has been named as Australian Geographic’s Conservationist of the Year.

Want to hear Anika talk about electric cars in the Outback? Check out this Central Station podcast.

 

 

Personal Highlights

Jess Fearnley had a lovely surprise during her holidays. Her partner Christopher Pattison proposed to her on the shores of Lake Macquarie and she said yes! Congratulations Jess; we wish you both a lifetime of happiness.

#creatingabetterworldtogether #YouthVoices #YoungFarmingChampions #Action4Agriculture

Action4Youth supporting disengaged young people to explore, connect and thrive in careers in agriculture

A new program to be delivered by Action4Agriculture (A4A) in 2023 will reimagine the way young people see and access career pathways in agriculture. Supported by the National Careers Institute, ACTION4YOUTH, will engage with youth aged 15-24 years, either identified as disengaged, Indigenous or migrant, to explore a career in agriculture and/or fisheries, connect them to business and industry and, give them opportunities to undertake work experience in agriculture and fisheries.

The project will deliver across three phases:

  • EXPLORE: A series of careers awareness activities, with supported self-reflection on motivators, barriers, aptitude and interest across three key commodities: dairy, wool and fishing.
  • CONNECT: Participants connect with businesses and Young Farming Champions, to discuss career opportunities and learn what it is to be part of the agricultural/fisheries workforce.
  • SUPPORT: Training for job and life skills, and personal growth, will support youth to engage with a farm business/fishing enterprise. Students who complete the program will have the opportunity to  undertake work experience to support them to gain practical and life skills for commencing a career in agriculture/fisheries.The initial phase of the project, EXPLORE, will connect young people, including from BackTrack, with career exploration professionals to increase awareness of career pathways within dairy, wool and fisheries. Using a combination of video, apps, workshops, personalised counselling sessions and direct connection to individuals working in the sector, young people will explore their own motivations and interests and look across all aspects of agriculture/fisheries production, including jobs of today and the future.

Even before its official launch ACTION4YOUTH has been gaining the attention of international stakeholders, including from Chris Webb, careers consultant for England’s University of Huddersfield and host of the #WeAreCareers Show, who writes:

“For me, this is a brilliant way to empower young people with career management skills and support them and their parents/carers to navigate an increasingly chaotic world, as well as mitigate the sense of ‘information overload’ that we so often hear as careers professionals.”

ACTION4YOUTH will partner with BECOME Education to deliver 21st century careers advise and pathway creation, and to fill the void where schools do not have careers advisors.

“Research shows that young people have a narrow idea of the world of work. They can hold simplistic or outdated ideas of careers. Agriculture is a prime example of a dynamic, changing and diverse field that is open to students of all backgrounds and interests. Agriculture can offer engaging careers for those with specialty knowledge from engineering to agribusiness, plant and animal systems, logistics, ecology, production processes and technology – to name only a few,” Liv Pennie, CEO and Founder of BECOME Education says.

 

ACTION4YOUTH’S key business connections and trusted industry partners are Australian Wool Innovation, Dairy Australia and Austral Fisheries.

 

Expressions of interest are now open here  for schools with professional development for teachers to be available in November and December prior to commencement of the program in 2023.

 

 

For more information watch this video from Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong or contact Lynne directly at lynnestrong@action4ag.com.au

 

Catching Up With Ngunnawal – One of our 2019 Kreative Koalas

 

What happens to the magnificent koalas once the Kreative Koalas Challenge wraps for a year? Well, Ngunnawal, the koala from Bob’s Farm Public School, which participated in the program in 2019, has made his home at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary, and today he starts his journey as our newest correspondent.

 

Hello everybody!

 

I hear you’ve been thinkin’ about me and asked for an update… I’ve never had a pen pal before but I’m going to do my best to give you regular updates on what’s going on in my life!

 

For those of you who don’t remember me, I’m Ngunnawal, the Kreative Koala designed by the passionate environmental warriors (the students) of Bob’s Farm Primary School.

 

I’m writing to you all today from my home at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary. It’s such a great place to live.

 

I spend my days in the Koala Centre, welcoming all the keen koala lovers who come and visit the Sanctuary. Visitors love to take photos with me and I’ve become really great friends with the humans who work here too! I get to be a product tester, trying on all the new merchandise that is sold in the retail store.

 

My favourite item is the beanie. But I’m not sure how I should wear the beanie… Should I have one on each ear or just plop one on the middle of my head? I’d love to know what you all think!

 

I’ll send another update when I’ve got more exciting news to share! In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to do, come visit me, I promise you’ll have a koala-ty time!

 

See you soon…

Inviting young people aged 10 to 24 to join the Young Environmental Champions program

 

A new primary and secondary school program offered by Action4Agriculture (A4A) in 2023 will support young Australians to be agents of change to embed sustainability thinking and actions in our way of life. The Empowering Young Environmental Champions Challenge will be delivered in Greater Sydney and the Hunter in Term One and in Riverina Murray and South East/ Tablelands in Term Two – and now is the time for teachers and students to get on board.

The 10-week, curriculum-aligned program is open to young people in NSW primary schools in Stage 3 and secondary schools in Stage 4& 5 who strive to be advocates for environmental and social issues important to them, their schools and their communities. See regions where program has been funded in 2023 here

Participants in the program will:

  • Attend a design-thinking workshop to brainstorm project ideas and action plans
  • Learn skills to improve their wellbeing, resilience and mental health
  • Be trained and mentored on the value of diversity, proactive listening/hearing skills and applied empathy
  • Network with experts and mentors
  • Visit relevant local community projects
  • Share their own community project

A broad range of regionally based experts, including young role models from the agricultural sector, known as Young Farming Champions (YFC), will ensure the program is youth led, co-designed and actively incorporates the voices of young people from design to delivery. Professional learning opportunities will be provided for teachers.

 

The program will culminate with a day of celebration where students will have the chance to pitch their projects, workshop their next steps as capacity builders and develop leadership pathways.

 

Thousands of young people and their schools have benefitted from Action4Agriculture programs, as was evidenced in the recent NSW Sustainability Awards. St Brigid’s Primary School, Raymond Terrace (Kreative Koalas participant) was the Young Climate Champion Winner with the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education (Kreative Koalas, The Archibull Prize) a finalist. YFC alumni Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert were joint winners of the Youth as Our Changemakers Award, and Action4 Agriculture, itself, was a finalist in the Communications for Impact Award.

 

Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong believes the new program has the capacity to have a similar impact.

“All of the NSW Sustainability Awards for people under 35 were taken out by young people associated with our programs and we are very excited to support as many young people as we can through the Young Environmental Champions program. This is an opportunity to find the next Josh and Anika or for schools to be the next St Brigid’s.

“If you want to challenge the status quo and drive positive social and environmental change, then this is the program for you.” Lynne says

The Empowering Young Environmental Champions program is supported by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation who is Backing Young People with innovative opportunities that advance independence, social purpose and future security, and the NSW Government Office for Regional Youth.

 

Expressions of interest can be found here, or email Lynne on lynnestrong@action4ag.com.au for further information.

Young Farming Champions Muster October 2022

A career in agriculture can take you everywhere 

Headline Act

A career in agriculture can take you around the world and as borders reopen post-COVID our YFC are making the most of opportunities. PhD student Dylan Male is a perfect example.

Dylan was invited to attend the 2022 Eurasian Grassland Conference in Tolosa, Spain in September and to present on his PhD research.

“As one of the most threatened ecosystems on our planet, grasslands face important conservation challenges caused by land-use and climate change and their conservation is crucial if we are to protect biodiversity and global health. I was grateful for the opportunity to present a poster presentation on my PhD research and how it is helping support the vision of Djaara to return the culturally significant grass species Themeda triandra to the landscape in Australia. I would like to acknowledge and thank all involved in organising the conference, and also to the AW Howard Memorial Trust for supporting this experience.”

Dylan’s Spanish sojourn allowed him to network with peers across Europe and to visit “Basque Country’s beautiful Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, where we trekked across rocky subalpine grasslands and learnt about the role of livestock grazing in these fragile ecosystems.”

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The Team

As part of the Action4Youth initiative the YFC have been participating in workshops to equip themselves with 21st century skills. Josh Farr facilitated a workshop on mentoring and Annie Simpson led two sessions – one on values at work and the second on challenging conversations.

In the Field

In the field Australian agriculture is thriving, despite the constant climatic challenges presented, which this year comes in the form of over-abundant rain (how many times do we get to say that in this country!).

Sam O’Rafferty, who works alongside Emma Ayliffe at Summit Ag, reports that planting of summer crops is well underway in southern NSW:

“cotton, corn and rice have all been going in the ground for the past 20 days. Consecutive rain events has made planting challenging and will likely reduce the area planted to summer crop this season. Hopefully we will have green rows in some fields in the coming days.”

 

Staying in the plant world, horticultural researcher at Applied Horticultural Research, Steph Tabone found herself in Manjimup, WA in late September.

“I organised an event that was funded and delivered as part of the Hort Innovation projects ‘Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection’ project and the ‘PotatoLink’ project. The event was focused on cover cropping, strip-tillage and biofumigation and how growers can incorporate the practices into their farming operations to improve soil and crop health.”

60 people attended Steph’s event – a combination of growers, researchers, suppliers, advisors and other industry members.

Moving on to livestock, Katie Barnett, who works as an assistant manager at “Taylors Run” at Kentucky, NSW, is enjoying busy spring days.

“We have almost finished lambing and calving and we will begin marking soon. We are also in the middle of a 50ha radiata pine harvest. I am lucky enough to be sharing feeding two poddy lambs and one poddy calf!”

Meanwhile Katherine Charles is finishing up life at university and exploring options for her career in agriculture.

“I recently completed an 8-week work placement with SheepMetriX, a sheep genetic consulting business based in Young, NSW. At first, I was hesitant to attend placement with a sheep company because most of my experience has been working with cattle, an industry that I am very passionate about. However, I kept an open mind and went into my placement with minimal knowledge about sheep, but a keen willingness to learn. I enjoyed attending seminars, assisting with fleece weighing and lamb DNA sampling, as well as a range of other activities. Working with Sally Martin and her team was a great experience and one that I am very grateful for. I am glad that I took the opportunity to expand my horizons and learn from an innovative leader in the Australian wool industry. This placement has strengthened my love for livestock, and I will definitely consider a career in the wool industry in the future.”

Still on sheep, Wollongong University student and friend of the YFC Hannah Brien has been back on her family Bella Lana Poll Merino Stud at Dripstone, NSW, which has been part of the Merino Lifetime Productivity project.

“Our stud was among 25 and was involved with the extensive data collection and analysis of the progeny of merino stud sires from across Australia. MerinoLink hosted a field day and dinner to celebrate the closing of this project, which investigated genetic linkages between the performance averages of merino ewes across their lifetime and has facilitated the formation of a new index which represents the methane output of each ewe.”

Hannah’s university colleague Thomas Allman is following in Dylan’s footsteps as he enjoys an agricultural career located in Kyoto, Japan as a 2022 New Colombo Plan scholar.

“The Kamogawa River is a beautiful place and symbolises a bit of peace at the end of often busy Japanese working days. This slice of nature offers views of local wildlife and reminds people to enjoy life off their phones and living simply.”

 

Out of the Field

Out of the field, agricultural shows are dominating the spring headlines.

Lucy Collingridge sat down with Neil Butler from the Regional 250 podcast  recently to discuss all things Armidale NSW and volunteering. Lucy is, perhaps, our biggest agricultural show advocate and has been particularly busy as events ramp up after a two-year hiatus due to COVID.  After attending the Narromine show in September Lucy travelled to the Condobolin Show (where she got her first taste of agriculture over 15 years ago) and then to Adelaide Royal.

“Adelaide was a fantastic opportunity to see how youth events are run in other states and to hear how they are continuing to engage youth and show excellence in agriculture through the show movement.”

Congratulations Lucy – your tremendous support of agricultural shows across the years does not go unnoticed.

Earlier this year Katie Barnett was named the 2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year.

“While in this role I wanted to do something meaningful that would lead to positive change and further education. I decided that I would hold a few fundraisers to support Ability Agriculture, a charity started by local Kempsey woman Josie Clarke. Ability Agriculture is an online platform and community group that shares the stories of those with disabilities in agriculture. Supporting Ability Agriculture means a lot to me as I had an Aunt who lived on farm with a disability and I now have a younger cousin who is wheelchair bound after an accident in 2021.”

Read more about Katie and Josie in this blog.

Also getting into the show spirit were Kate Webster, Jo Newton, Jaz Green (nee Nixon) and Emily May. Kate coordinated the Wagga Wagga Show Young Woman of the Year Competition.

“I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful and incredibly passionate young women and to learn what parts of agriculture drive them to get involved in the industry.”

Jo caught up with Jaz (and son Arthur) at the Melbourne Show where Jaz and husband Hayden’s Summit Livestock Limousin Stud was very successful, taking out Supreme Exhibit and Senior Champion Bull (Summit Patriot R53), Senior Champion Female (Summit Cauliflower R56), Reserve Junior Bull (Summit Big Star S46) and Breeders Group and Pair of Junior Bulls.

“One of their cows, Summit Krystal L35 also set a new Australian Limousin female record price of $55,000 at auction, at the Spring Selection Sale IV this week,” Jo reports.

Congratulations Jaz.

At Griffith Emily saw the lighter side of an agricultural show.

I’ve seen many interesting segments showcased at agricultural shows but this by far was one of the strangest – a display of weeds in bloom was a winning entry, clearly an entry selection set for a laugh. This may be the only time an agronomist can get away with propagating weeds.”

Moving away from shows and onto life-long learning and Sam Wan has recently completed 6 weeks of TEKLAB VIC, a Farmers2Founders “Hatch” initiative supported by Agriculture Victoria and LaunchVIC. The program, for aspiring entrepreneurs and founders, explores agtech solutions for farm and industry.

Florance McGufficke embarked on a road trip through Victoria during October with 20 Australian and Chinese university students as part of the NFF’s Paddock to Port Australia-China Agricultural Youth tour.

“We got to see firsthand the operation, performance and passion of various growers and agriculturalists in a practical way that was informative and engaging and the biggest opportunity was to network with each other and the producers, researchers and industry leaders we met along the tour.”

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Finally, our YFC are often called upon to share their experiences with others as exampled by Dione Howard who was invited to speak at an event hosted by ANZ Bank in Young, NSW to celebrate International Day of Rural Women.

“I spoke about my career journey, the rural women who inspire me and what it means to me to be a rural woman.”

 

Prime Cuts

Jessica Fearnley’s impact on agriculture continues to ripple through a diverse audience, which will only increase with her latest gig:

“I have been given an exciting opportunity to write opinion pieces for The Land each month. I am looking forward to using this to talk about opportunities and the exciting things that happen in day-to-day agriculture.”

Well done Jess – we look forward to reading.

Personal Highlights

Congratulations to YFC Alumni Bessie Thomas and husband Shannon who welcomed Phoebe Clara to the world on 19.9.22. Weighing 3.6kg and measuring 51cm in length, Phoebe is a sister to Airlie and Lachie.

Also enjoying family time this month was Danielle Fordham who returned to her family’s West Wyalong property.

“It was wonderful to reunite with the family and be reconnected with the land again after spending two years in the “big smoke” around Newcastle. It was great to help out on the farm by assisting with lamb marking and it was adorable to see the little lambs and unleash my farming skills that I rarely get to use anymore – I was proud that I still had it in me! In the upcoming university holidays, I hope to spend more time out in the countryside and capture more of these heartfelt moments, and appreciate the little things.”

When Steph Tabone takes time out from her work as a horticultural researcher you can find her on the netball court.

“After a great season, finishing as minor premiers, my team made it to the grand final. In the end, we lost by one point in 40 seconds of extra time! A huge congratulations to our competitors who played a fantastic game and to my teammates for their efforts.”

Ending the October Muster is Sam Wan showing us her egg-scellent sense of humour:

“Jo Newton and I were outside our usual agri-industry hen-semble when we flocked to the Kyneton and District Poultry Club Auction during October. It was an egg-ceptional experience but we did have to wing it learning how to bid as we went. It was no peck-nic with buyers milling the aisles busily. Two hens are now chicken out their new home!”

 

 

#CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

 

 

See how our 2022 Kreative Koala Kids are helping design their own bright future

The final three schools of the 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future challenge have taken three different approaches to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and explored ways we can all contribute to a sustainable future. Let’s have a look at their koala artworks.

The students of Tarrawanna Public School tackled SDG 2: Zero Hunger as they created Mr T B Kind, a koala that brought together the whole school across multiple Key Learning Areas, with the theme of feeding the community.

Mr T B Kind is a mosaic koala inspired by the school environment using broken tiles, which were found as garden beds were prepared, to represent native animals such as cockatoos, bees and dragonflies. Mr T B Kind has a realistic mottled grey body and will be a striking and welcoming mascot to open classroom exhibitions.

“Our Koala created connections between our students, community and collaborators. The biggest and most exciting outcome was not only did the Kreative Koala initiative inspire Zero Hunger for community, but it has triggered special interest projects on sustainability across K-6 which we will be showcasing to community members.”

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At Turvey Public School, near Wagga Wagga, students took a look at SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production as they created Billy Barrandhang, a vibrant and detailed koala. Involving all classes across art, science and geography, Billy aimed to show:

“we all belong to one earth and we are all responsible for protecting its beauty”

Billy was created using ideas the students derived from Australia’s magnificent landscapes and natural features and is a celebration of a place to call home.

“Billy discretely embeds our entire school community and culture through the symbols painted on the koala. The flags in the ears of the koala represent each student and staff member to show our whole school approach towards sustainability and equality. The koala has our school core values written on the feet; resilience, responsibility and respect all which are integral to growing a healthy world. The crow wings are holding up the heart shape Earth on our koala making it unique because it symbolises our school totem and how the world’s future is in our hands.”

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Warrawee Public School took Kreative Koalas literally and launched a campaign to Save The Koalas, naming their creation “Eila”.

“Children chose to call our art koala Eila after one of our sponsored koalas. Elia is a heroic koala who survived the Mambo wetlands fire in Port Stephens in December 2018 with a baby on her back and pregnant with another. The children see her as resilient and a hero for being able to escape the fires and then survive the treatment in Port Stephens hospital as she had badly burnt paws from climbing a burning tree.”

Students realised bushfires effect flora as well as fauna and as a result Eila is adorned with gum leaves, waratahs, kangaroo paw and wattle alongside native animals fleeing the smoke of the fire, which curls across Eila’s back. Indigenous designs illustrate a connection to Country and green represents renewal.

“The green of the gum represents the regeneration of the Australian bush and though it takes time the children felt this was important as life starts again and gives us hope for the plight of the koalas.”

 

Congratulations to all schools and students participating in the 2022 Kreative Koalas. Collectively students have explored a total of nine Sustainable Development Goals:

  • SDG 2: Zero hunger
  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 14: Life Below Water
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Young Farming Champion Katie Barnett and NSW Rural Woman of the Year Josie Clarke are working together to take action on issues they care about

Agility Agriculture founder Josie Clarke (pictured with father Glen) and Katie Barnett are working together to raise funds for the causes they care about 

Many of our Young Farming Champions develop their love of agriculture through the show rings and continue the association throughout their careers. YFC Katie Barnett, who works as a farm manager on “Taylors Run” at Kentucky in NSW, is one such young person and earlier this year she was named the 2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year.

2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year Competition Winners L to R Senior: Katie Barnett, Junior: Lilly Rosten, Teen: India Dowling

The Young Woman of the Year competition is held at agricultural shows across NSW and aims to find a young female ambassador to represent rural areas and the show movement. The program is designed to develop regional young women, their local show societies and their communities. During the competition participants are given the opportunity to be interviewed, public speak, present and network. Local winners, like Katie, will compete in a zone final and if successful go on to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where they vie to be named The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman of the Year.

“Whilst in this role I really wanted to do something meaningful that would lead to positive change and further education. I decided that I would like to hold fundraisers to support Ability Agriculture, a project started by local Kempsey woman and 2022 NSW Rural Woman of the Year Josie Clarke,” Katie says.

Ability Agriculture is an online platform and community group that shares the stories of those with disabilities working within agriculture; raising awareness and dispelling the myth that agriculture is only a career for the able-bodied.

“I started Agility Agriculture in 2021 as a bit of a passion project. When I was 5 my Dad had a truck accident and is now is a wheelchair and I am therefore aware of things like accessibility issues for him. I wanted to share stories of people with disabilities in agriculture to challenge traditional views, raise awareness, create opportunity and provide a supportive community,” Josie says.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su18Z6L7dqk

Katie, too, sees disability first-hand:

“Supporting Ability Agriculture means a lot to me as I had an Aunt who lived on farm with a disability and I now have a younger cousin who is wheelchair bound after an accident in 2021.”

A portion of the money raised by Katie will assist Agility Agriculture establish a not-for-profit charity, which will include a job site, scholarships to university, leadership courses and funding for families. Katie has kicked off her fundraising with a Bake Sale at the Kempsey Saleyards, which raised over $700. A raffle and a 100s club are currently running and a trivia night is to be held in late October.

“Katie’s funds will directly help me with a scholarship to send two people to an agricultural conference in Adelaide next year,” Josie says.

Thanks to Katie for bringing Agility Agriculture to our attention and thank you to Josie for making positive changes to show people with a disability can find meaningful careers in agriculture.

#CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Learning to have those challenging conversations with Annie Simpson

Annie Simpson – Co-founder Modern People 

As part of our NCI funding ACTION4YOUTH provides 21st century skills training to our Young Farming Champion (YFC) mentors, careers advisors, students (the next generation employees) and our prospective employers.

Following her successful workshop on Values at Work, Annie Simpson has delivered another masterclass teaching our ACTION4YOUTH stakeholders how to have challenging conversations in the workplace.

“Challenging conversations are a part of business, and it is in the best interest of employees to empower their people with impactful tools and frameworks to promote more positive outcomes,” Annie says.

$4.45 billion is the cost of recruiting for the people who resign every year because of challenging conversations going wrong so this workshop was an important step in rectifying this problem.

The workshop began by introducing the concept of mattering, which is the belief that we are all a significant part of the world around us and that we are noticed, affirmed and needed right now.

It then taught participants to recognise what form a challenging conversation could take  before giving tools and frameworks to best address these issues.

“Challenging conversations come in many shapes and forms, including giving and receiving feedback, discussing ‘failures’, sharing personal challenges, and calling out the elephant in the room,” Annie says.

The difference between ego-based (defensive, armoured, fear-based, fixed, transactional) and heart-based (authentic, open, others focused, situational and adaptive, personal/human) conversations was also explored, as was using emotionally intelligent practices to realise objectives while being considerate of the person at the other end of the conversation.

“Recognising your own bias or ‘monkey brain’ helps you approach the situation with emotional intelligence and great self-awareness, but when we cannot control the behaviours and attitudes of others, how can we set ourselves up for success during these often uncomfortable moments?” Annie asked the participants before giving them time to reflect on or prepare for their own challenging conversations.

The Challenging Conversations workshop proved popular with YFC

“Annie Simpson’s workshop on Challenging Conversations was an excellent opportunity to reflect on how we communicate and engage with others in our professional and personal lives. Annie asked us to consider times when we have had to express difficult or sometimes conflicting emotions, the ways we succeeded, and the places we could improve. In particular, I found the conversation on the difference between ego and heart a welcome reminder to reflect on the intentions behind our actions and how we ensure they lead us towards positive behaviours. I was grateful to participate in the workshop breakout sessions with Dylan Male, a fellow YFC peer and PhD candidate. I enjoyed reflecting on times in my PhD candidature journey when I had to have challenging conversations and was inspired by Dylan’s positivity and thoughtfulness in his own reflections.” says Francesca Earp

Our 2022 Kreative Koalas entries are caring for their local environments

Despite the challenges posed by a global pandemic, which meant the closing of schools and home learning for students, participants in the 2022 Kreative Koalas have risen to the occasion and come up with some fabulous Koala artworks. Let’s have a look at four schools who chose to focus on their own backyards as they cared for their local community and environment.

Ladysmith Public School, near Wagga Wagga, took a look at the presence and impact of salinity along their local Kyeamba Creek as they created the aptly named “Saltbush” while studying SDG 15: Life on Land.

On our walking tour of some neighbouring farming land, we observed many trees that appeared to have died. These trees were on land that had previously been identified as a discharge site, where salinity had been a problem. One beautiful [dead] tree, became the focus of our artwork and we used this as the major design element on the back of the koala.”

Saltbush represents a personal journey for the students and community of Ladysmith, highlighting an environmental problem but also celebrating the beauty of their home. In bold colours Saltbush depicts the dead tree and Kyeamba Creek alongside the bright yellow of wattle and the blue/grey of the saltbush plant. White dots across the koala represent rising salt and how it infiltrates the soil.

Also inspired by SDG 15: Life on Land is “Warada” (the Darug name for Waratah), which symbolises resilience and renewal. Warada is the Kreative Koala creation from a group of Hawkesbury schools under the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education banner, which includes Kurmond, Bilpin, Windsor Park, Kurrajong, Kurrajong North, Kurrajong East, Wilberforce, Richmond North and Comleroy Road schools.

This wonderful collaborative effort has produced a koala that represents the benefits and beauty of local native flora, depicted on Warada as intricate black and white botanical designs with a stripe of blue representing the Hawkesbury River across his back and a brown seedling of renewal on his chest.

“[Warada is] a botanical journey following Bells Line of Road from Bilpin, through the Kurrajong area, across the Hawkesbury River down to the Castlereagh, Agnes Banks, and Windsor Downs nature reserves.”

Lake Albert Public School (near Wagga Wagga) had only to look out their school windows to derive inspiration from Lake Albert itself and they named their creation Barrandhang, which means koala in the local Wiradjuri language.

Barrandhang is a blue koala reflecting the connection between the students and the lake, with two limbs painted brown to express how the lake would look like with uncontrolled pollution. Striking orange/pink ears represent the sunsets the lake gifts to the students each day and across the body of the koala are detailed footprints representing local wildlife including duck, platypus, honeyant, goanna, frog, turtle,

, fish and possum. Coloured icons represent the school’s goals to recycle, reuse and reduce food waste.

“We are fortunate at Lake Albert Public School to be situated next to the lake and to be able to enjoy its beauty and wildlife every day. We couldn’t aim for a sustainable school environment without including our passion for a healthy and sustainable water environment.”

Also looking at their local waterways was Scots All Saints College from Bathurst who championed the plight of platypus that suffered a local extinction event during the last drought. The students chose SDG 13: Climate Change and used Biladurang (or Bill for short) to express this environmental problem in Winburndale River.

One side of Biladurang represents a robust and healthy ecosystem, the other side is fiery and dark to show the consequences of too little water being released from the dam to the river.  A giant platypus rides on his back and across his body are casuarina leaves, platypus and rakali (native water rat) habitat and insects. Bill is a thoughtful reflection of the local environment and the passion the students have to manage it (and platypus populations) in a sustainable way.

We want to let people know that climate change is changing our planet, which forced local government to make a decision about the platypus [when] the council stopped releasing water from Winburndale Dam [during the drought]; so the rivulet dried up and we had a local extinction.”

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Congratulations to these four schools who have found passion and appreciation in their local environment and used Kreative Koalas as a vehicle to express their connection and to share their concerns with their communities.

#CreatingABetterWorldTogether #SDGs

 

Our Kreative Koalas Kids in Newcastle are creating a better world together

With 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to choose from it is no wonder our 2022 Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future primary schools explored a world of diversity. For example, just three schools in our Newcastle cluster investigated five different SDG:

  • SDG 3: Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 5: Gender Equality
  • SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 13: Climate Action
  • SDG 15: Life on Land

Looking at SDG 15 and 13 to investigate the effects of fire were students from Our Lady of Lourdes Primary School who named their koala “Alinta”. Alinta illustrates the effects of both unmanaged bushfires and controlled cultural burns.

To show these contrasting fire regimes Alinta became a split-personality koala. Bright colours on Alinta’s back represent the destruction of out-of-control bushfires, while cooler colours represent regrowth after managed cultural burns. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from Years 1-6 assisted in creating traditional art for inclusion on Alinta and the local Aboriginal community taught all the students about managing the land with fire.

“Our entire school community was positively impacted by our involvement in the Kreative Koala program. All students were educated about the negative impacts of out-of-control bush fires on our climate, communities and wildlife. Students are now armed with the knowledge of how we can take on Aboriginal ways of healing the land through fire and feel hopeful about the difference we can make.”

 

Looking at SDG 3 and 5 were students from St Joseph’s Primary School who designed a koala named, appropriately, Joseph (or Joey for short!). Involving Year 4 and 5 students across PDHPE, Mathematics, Science and English, Joseph represents sports and physical activities the students can participate in to remain healthy.

Joseph is resplendent in green and gold, Australia’s national sporting colours, and adorned with both the Australian and Aboriginal flags. Hand-drawn pictures across the koala represent the activities the students enjoy and the inclusion of the Olympic rings alludes to aspirations for the future.

“We used our love of different sports to create this original design and we showed the statue the same respect that we would for a living creature.”

Students from St Paul’s Primary School chose SDG 7 and created Kristie, the sustainability warrior,

to promote energy saving tips, to demonstrate the most efficient forms of clean renewable energy and promote the work of climate activists Greta Thunberg and Pope Francis in our school and community”.

Kristie is a smart-looking environmental activist koala. She wears a hat featuring solar-powered fans and a shirt showcasing clean energy sources such as hydroelectric, wind, solar and geothermal. Images of traditional bush tucker remind us to take only what we need and Baiame, the creator, represents the knowledge we can learn from Aboriginal nations.

“We have given Kristie a shirt advertising climate action. We believe clothing is a great way to advertise and promote how to save energy. Greta [Thunberg] is currently going after fast fashion as a new initiative … [and we wanted] to support climate activists like Greta to keep governments accountable for their role in saving the environment.”

Congratulations to all schools in our Newcastle cluster for showcasing the diversity of the Sustainable Development Goals.

#CreatingBetterWorldTogether #SDGs