Agriculture could learn a lesson or two from the Wyong High School community

Today Art4Agricuture event director Kirsty John and I met with Sophie Davidson and Angela Bradburn in boardroom at Cotton Australia.
On the way in I was very excited to see this awesome display with the centrepiece being Wyong High School’s entry in the 2012 Archibull Prize

Cotton Australia  (3)


Sophie is Cotton Australia’s education officer and she is pretty special. She is particularly excited to have the Wyong Archi on display because not only does it give her an opportunity to talk about Cotton OZ’s involvement in the Archibull Prize to everyone who walks in the door, this cow reminds her of the wonderful outcomes you can get when you belong to a school community that has a collaborative and cohesive vision. Sophie was a school teacher in an earlier life and she is extremely proud of the way Wyong High School not only involved the whole school in their entry they bought the community on board as well.

Sophie has read every single cotton school’s blog entries (that’s a lot of blog entries), watched their videos and PowerPoint’s and Prezi’s, talk to all the teachers at the Awards Day, written a full report on the program for Cotton Australia and their farmer stakeholders and shared the students efforts with everybody in cotton world via every multimedia means possible. Wow all this in two weeks

I have visited every school and talked to the students and the teachers and looked at most of the videos and PowerPoints but as yet hadn’t had a chance to read all the blog posts. So my conversation with Sophie today inspired me to come home and read the Wyong story which you can find in the full here.

This school didn’t just write blogs posts, four of their IT student gurus created a website for the program. The below posts I have extracted from the blog are just a sample of how the school pulled off cross curricula and cross year partnerships to deliver  their amazing outcomes. This is very rewarding for me as this is exactly the way we hope all schools will see the program. We have designed the program this way as extensive research has shown that schools who partner with the community and teachers who work with each other deliver the best outcomes for their students. As you can see Wyong High School is certainly delivering in spades.

Extract from       


By Rachael Year 11

A massive amount of work has been put into the Archibull competition by a wide range of Wyong High students. Ranging from years 7 to 12, the students have put a lot of energy into making this competition fun and worthwhile. The activities include creating a blog with a wide variety of posts, making a video and painting a life size fibreglass bull.

The blog posts involved a wide range of students from years 7 to 12. Before even writing the posts, information had to be collected. A group of year 8 students interviewed Malcolm McDonald from Accuprint, while the year 8 Mathematics class, led by Mr Mathew, crunched some numbers to find out how much agricultural produce is required to sustain the Wyong community for a day. Ms Hastings with her year 10 Geography class researched and wrote the sustainability post.

After all the information and research was turned into posts, the awesome-foursome (IT boys from year 10) came to the aid of the year 8 students and designed the blog. After some year 11 students edited the posts, the awesome-foursome loaded the all of the posts.

As well as the blog posts a video was required for the competition. Year 9 students created the Archibull video and some year 11 boys provided the background music.

While all those computer geniuses were working their magic a different type of magic was being worked on the actual Archibull. The art students, directed by Mrs O’Kane, designed and painted the bull since the start. One of the ideas for the bull was to create a clothesline and hang cotton clothing from it. This idea was turned into reality when Mr Stanford’s year 8 Metals class built the Hills Hoist and Ms and Mrs Smith’s textiles class created the clothes. To finish it off the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students painted the final dots on Archibull.

While all the creative juices were flowing Ms Connally was cracking the whip to make sure all the deadlines were met.

This is just a small overview of all the hard work the students of Wyong High have put into the Archibull competition.

A few more insights here


Sustainable production and consumption is the use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations.

Sustainable production and consumption involves business, government, communities and households contributing to environmental quality through the efficient production and use of natural resources, the minimization of wastes, and the optimization of products and services.

Year 10 Geography 1 has researched the topic and produced the following mind map.

Wyong High School Mind Map

Information from IISD.


What does it take to sustainably feed and clothe my community for a day?

During the last week of term 3 and the first week of term 4, a year 8 Mathematics class at Wyong High School worked on getting information about sustainable food and clothing for Wyong. 8 M2 gathered the population of both Sydney (4.6 million) and Wyong (150,000) and the amount of farming products each community consumes. So what does it actually take to feed and clothe Wyong? It takes roughly:

  • 354 pigs (9904kg)
  • 282,523 pieces of fruit and vegetables (68,178kg)
  • 46,429 hens (42,247 kg)
  • 294 beasts (18,822 kg of Meat and Livestock)
  • 12,722 dairy cows (59,260 kg) to provide milk
  • 1029 loaves of bread (22,603 kg of grain)
  • 28,767,123 bees that produce 411kg of honey
  • 267,123,288 grains of rice (5,346 kg)
  • 17 kg of Aquaculture per person, per year.

Cotton, which is the focus of our Archibull project here at Wyong High School, takes 978 hectares of land to produce 60 bales of cotton (13,724 kg) which clothes the Wyong area for a day. This equates to approximately 200 times the size of Wyong High School or about 1,438 football fields. Our research shows that it takes up to 30 times more farming produce to feed and clothe the population of Sydney. This reminds us that farmers are an invaluable part of the Australian lifestyle. Unfortunately, many people take our farmers for granted. Without them, we would not have food, clothes, dairy products, livestock, or our precious cotton.

For Sydney (population 4.6 million).

Feeding Sydney

Feed Wyong



Information gathered from:


On another important note special thanks from the Art4Ag team and Cotton Australia to Hollie Baillieu for revisiting her 2011 Young Farming Champion’s role to work with Wyong High School

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