LEGO®’s Australian Teacher of the Year is excited about National AgDay Careers Competition

Art4Agriculture’s annual National Ag Day Careers Competition is taking a LEGO theme this year and here we catch up with LEGO’s Australian Teacher of the Year Jess Schofield to find out how LEGO and project based learning (PBL) are promoting STEM careers.

Jess Schofield

QUT Bachelor of Education (Secondary) graduate Jessica Schofield was awarded LEGO Education’s Australian Teacher of the Year 2018. Photo source

Jess teaches maths, robotics and technology at Injune State School in central Queensland. With only 80 students the school is miniscule by international standards but this does not deter Jess from taking her students on an annual LEGO-inspired robotic journey. For her efforts in working with students in 2017s Robot Olympics Jess was recently named as the LEGO Australian Teacher of the Year and travelled to Boston USA to talk about her work as a STEM teacher.

Jess attended the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) at a time when STEM was the buzz word and, while studying, worked for three and a half years training local teachers in the Brisbane area to use robotics and technology in the classroom. Her first permanent job was at Injune, where she has now been for three years, and her experience helped convince parents that LEGO was for more than just the playroom. “Each year there is a global robotics competition with a regional tournament held in Brisbane. QUT contacted me and said they were willing to offer sponsorship if I would like to bring a team down, and when I put that to the parents they were pretty keen to give it a go,” she says.

“The kids have little LEGO robotics challenges where they have to program their robots and they also have to do a research project and present that,” Jess says of the robotics competition, which has many similarities to The Archibull Prize with both being a prime example of PBL in schools. “From a teachers point of view PBL is a little bit terrifying,” Jess says. “In ordinary teaching you have a set assessment piece and a set curriculum to teach to, you know exactly where your kids are starting and where you want them to end up at. PBL is daunting because you start a ten week unit with some vague idea of what you want the kids to produce at the end but exactly what you cover in that ten weeks is totally up to the kids.”

She also sees PBL as a way to engage students who are not traditionally academically inclined. “PBL interlinks subjects together without the kids realising,” she says. “For instance if their robot is going too fast they need to work out how to half the speed. They might be studying ratios or fractions in class and struggling to put it on pen and paper and yet they do the same application without realising because they can see the immediate results or the immediate impact of those calculations.”

Injune lies in an agricultural area and in their first year of the robotics competition the students drew from their backgrounds.

“The kids came up with this really crazy idea of training horses to be like guide-dogs so people with vision impairment or age could still go out mustering,” Jess says, but although many of the students can envisage themselves working on the family property at the conclusion of school Jess says they would not think of this as a career. “I am looking forward to engaging the students in the (Art4Agriculture) careers competition to help them explore beyond what they currently know or are involved in.”

National AgDay Careers Competition Lego Characters

Exploring options and pathways is the aim of the Art4Agriculture 2018 National Ag Day Careers Competition and by combining LEGO and PBL it is hoped a new generation will consider agriculture as not just a job but as a fulfilling and rewarding career.

FIND OUT EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO ENTER HERE 

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ANNOUNCING OUR NATIONAL AGDAY CAREERS COMPETITION

In conjunction with The Archibull Prize, Art4Agriculture is launching our second careers competition to coincide with National Agriculture Day on November 21. This year Art4Agriculture is pleased to partner with Career Harvest and Aimee Snowden’s Little Brick Pastoral to encourage students in Years 5-12 to envisage their own career in STEM based agriculture.

Aimee Snowden has created ten STEM agricultural photographs showcasing LEGO® minifigures to represent science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. The careers are an agribusiness banker, an agriculture teacher, an agronomist, a biosecurity officer, an engineer, a geneticist, a GIS specialist, a mechanic, a scientist and a stock and station agent.

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Students may choose one of Aimee’s characters on which to base their entry or alternatively may build and photograph their own LEGO® character. They are then asked to identify their interests and the subjects they excel at, research pathways they might take to achieve their agricultural dream and to write a day-in-the-life story on their chosen career.

Entries will take the form of an infographic and prizes will be available for each section of the competition.

FIND OUT EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW HERE

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Young Farming Champions Muster September 2018 Week 3  

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.  

In the Field

Who’s in the field this week? The amazing wool YFC Dione Howard, that’s who!

Dione has moved to Griffith NSW and is working with Riverina LLS as a district veterinarian. What an exciting career ahead she has! After finishing her studies at Charles Sturt University, Dione is looking forward to working with farmers across the Riverina.

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@dione_howard in the sheep yards.

“The first month of being a district vet with the Riverina LLS has been hugely rewarding. I am really enjoying working with livestock producers in the region. I am very grateful to have been able to stay and work locally in the Riverina. Griffith is a great place to live with plenty of events and a welcoming community.” ” Dione says. 

Hailing from a mixed sheep and cropping property at Milbrulong – she has gained a wealth of experience with livestock over the years – and you can read all about this talented young lady here.

She is passionate about communicating animal health information to producers who are at the forefront of livestock production, and is also training to play a key role in disease surveillance and biosecurity across the Riverina.

Dione will be in the LLS shed at Henty Machinery Field Days on Tuesday – pop in and say hello!

Out of the Field

This week we had R U?OK day

On this day we encourage everyone to meaningfully connect with people around them and support anyone struggling with life.

Staying connected and having meaningful conversations is something we can all do. You don’t need to be an expert – just a good friend and a great listener. So, if you notice someone who might need some support – start a conversation.

Cotton YFC Emma Ayliffe made a great Facebook post this week, asking people to check in with their mates and to have honest conversations about how you’re going. Nice one Em!

This year at Picnic Point High School are competing in the Archibull prize competition, and have been tasked to research the wool industry. And as a proud wool YFC, Sam Wan was excited to see their progress on a recent Twitter post!

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As @S_Wan926 points out – they’ve got some pretty impressive artistic skills amongst them!

“This day, we continued working on the Archie … Euan Gullick and Daniel Le worked on a stop-motion animation that will serve as an intro to Geddy Mukama’s animation, titled “The Great Wool War”. Apart from that, the painting team has been painting the underneath of the jersey that the knitting team is going to knit.” – Picnic Point High School blog.

Cotton season is nearly upon us down in southern NSW – but cotton YFC Sharna Holman is already spotting little green heads Emerald! Sharna is an Extension Officer with CottonInfo in Central Queensland, and the warmer weather up north means the cotton pops up from the ground a few weeks earlier than crops in NSW.

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@sharnaholman is running some variable rate nitrogen trials with cotton – and we look forward to hearing the results!

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Grains YFC Sam Coggins is part of RiseHarvest a group from Myanmar and Australia working in international agricultural development, and was one of 2018 finalist for Thought For Food Challenge 2018. Sam and his group produced this great video – whin which we hear why Sam is so passionate about farming.

The annual Thought For Food Challenge is a global “collaborative competition” to launch promising new ideas that address how we will feed and nourish our growing global population.

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@cogsam55  (left) with his teammates from RiseHarvest.

Prime Cuts

Wool YFC Peta Bradley and her family had their annual ram sale last week – a big congrats to New Armatree Border Leicesters!

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 “Our family prides itself on producing rams with industry leading genetics to benefit the supply chain. The rams sold had seen very little green feed in their lives but have been supplementary fed. The sale was strong given that many of our clients have begun to destock. The rams sold went to many different homes across the state from Cooma in the south, Bourke to the north, and Nyngan to the west.” says Peta 

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@Petabradley with her family on sale day!

NSW Farmer YFC Tegan Nock is a lady of many talents – including Producer of ‘Grassroots’ – an award winning documentary about fungus, farming and science.

Watch the trailer here 

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“Farmers have a huge potential to make positive change .They manage a large proportion of our planet, and this story is a great example of how farmers can be at the forefront of the battle against climate change. I was immediately drawn to the story because it gives an insight into the fascinating world of soil microbiology.” ” says Tegan. “

Cotton YFC Anika Molesworth was named Australian Youth Champion of the Low Carbon Economy in the latest report by 350.org. and the world is very excited including the Argentine  Ambassador 

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“Anika is a voice that questions the status quo and encourages current and future generations to have critical and creative perspectives on how we can find solutions to the pressing problems caused by climate change and its impact on farming, farming communities and the wider public,” the report said.

The report, Heroes Building Australia’s Low-Carbon Economy, brings together stories of Australian businesses, communities and individuals who are making a change to renewable energy and Anika is listed alongside names such as former CEO of AGL Energy Andy Vesey and Community Power Agency founder Nicky Ison.

“Renewable energy is the way of the future, no doubt about it, and in agriculture, we have such tremendous opportunity to champion this technology. Being named by 350 as Australia’s Youth Champion is an honour but we still have a long way to go in building a sustainable energy future. I hope this recognition inspires others to participate in the continuing growth of the renewable energy sector and drives home the message that rural Australia needs (and deserves) a cohesive and ambitious climate and energy policy.” Anika said.

And finally, a shout out to YFC supporter Aimee Snowden for her selection in the NFF 2030 Leaders Program!

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Aimee with Little BRICK Pastoral celebrates Australian agriculture through unique photos of a Lego® farmer. Aimee lives on her family’s irrigation farm near Tocumwal in the southern Riverina – and her impact is far-reaching. With the training experience gained through this leadership program we can’t wait to see what she does next. Well done Aimee!

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#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthInAg

Anika Molesworth named Australian Youth Champion of the Low Carbon Economy

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In support of  the recent Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, USA (September 12-14), Australian movement 350.org has released a report celebrating Australia’s achievements in the renewable energy sector. Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth has been named as Youth Champion.

“Anika is a voice that questions the status quo and encourages current and future generations to have critical and creative perspectives on how we can find solutions to the pressing problems caused by climate change and its impact on farming, farming communities and the wider public,” the report said.

The report, Heroes Building Australia’s Low-Carbon Economy, brings together stories of Australian businesses, communities and individuals who are making a change to renewable energy and Anika is listed alongside names such as former CEO of AGL Energy Andy Vesey and Community Power Agency founder Nicky Ison.

“Renewable energy is the way of the future, no doubt about it, and in agriculture, we have such tremendous opportunity to champion this technology. Being named by 350 as Australia’s Youth Champion is an honour but we still have a long way to go in building a sustainable energy future. I hope this recognition inspires others to participate in the continuing growth of the renewable energy sector and drives home the message that rural Australia needs (and deserves) a cohesive and ambitious climate and energy policy.” Anika said.

The 350 recognition comes in a long line of accolades for this young Australian committed to making a difference. Anika is the founder of Climate Wise Agriculture, participated in the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP21) and was the 2015 Young Australian Farmer of the Year.  She is currently undertaking PhD studies looking at optimising soil fertility in water constrained environments and comparing Australian conditions to those found in Cambodia and Laos. She is also a gifted speaker and educator and a 2018 Green Globe Finalist.

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“I would like people in the wider community to realise the great importance of a vibrant and resilient rural Australia to the overall health and strength of our nation. I would like everyone to share the pride I feel for Australian farmers. It gives me great pleasure to celebrate all the heroes named in the 350 report, and those not listed, who are showing great leadership, commitment and innovation in building a cleaner and greener future for Australia and a stronger agricultural sector.”  Anika said.

#YouthVoices18 #YouthinAg #Renewables #ClimateAction

Young Farming Champions Muster September 2018 Week 2  

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.  

In the Field

Spring has definitely sprung at Panorama Farms Speckle Park where calving is in full swing for YFC Naomi Hobson and her partner Tim. These cuties are already in the paddock with more crossbred and stud calves due any day!

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Spring Calves at Panorama Farms Speckle Park

YFC Emma Ayliffe has also had visitors on farm this week. WIN News Central West went out to chat to Em as part of their drought series.

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They spoke about the challenges of encountering a drought in her and her partner Craig’s 1st year on their own property. Em also spoke about the challenges of running a business during drought, Em is a partner in Summit Ag, who provide agronomy services in Central West NSW. Catch the story here 

YFC Jess Kirkpatrick snapped this picture while in Ouyen, Victoria this week. It’s one of 8 sites for the Victorian Farmers Federation Roadshow. The day featured a market update from GrainCorp, where Jess is in the Graduate Program as well as talks on chain of responsibility and truck road worthiness

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 Pretty skies in Ouyen, Victoria for the Victorian Farmers Federation Roadshow

Out of the Field

It was a big day out West with both Wool YFC Bessie Thomas and Emma Turner hosting their events.

Sheep and cattle farmers in far-west NSW kicked off their work boots for the inaugural Barefoot Bowls at Burragan event at Wool YFC Bessie Thomas’s farm on Saturday. Thirty drought affected locals travelled from as far as Tilpa, 115km north-east on the Darling River, to compete in the round robin tournament. The drinks were cold and the competition was hot as teams bowled for the coveted “Occasional Trophy” – a trophy for those occasions where you might occasionally need a trophy.

“Everyone had a fantastic evening and it made us all realise we need to do it more often,” Bessie said. “We had Marie Kelley, Rural Adversity Mental Health Co-Ordinator from Ivanhoe, Rural Chaplains David and Robin Pullen from the Salvation Army, Broken Hill, and lots of food, nibbles, and beautiful dinner and dessert. I think the relaxed, social atmosphere was just what everyone needed, as drought times are so draining and demanding.” Many thanks to everyone who helped pulled off a great night!

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Keiley O’Brien kept us all in the loop with the action at the Naromine Show last weekend. As the 2018 Showgirl, for the next 12 months Keiley will be an ambassador for rural NSW and the agricultural show movement. During the show Keiley was involved in everything from the grand parade, Young Farmer Challenge, cattle judging. Head over to the Picture You In Agriculture Facebook page for the full story. 

2. Keiley Narromine Show

 

2018 has been a whirlwind of activity for YFC Lucy Collingridge. She found time to have a chat with Behind the Sash about what she’s been up to

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Prime Cuts

YFC and Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton was this week announced on the Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Award.   Jo’s inclusion on the list recognises her and 99 other women who are resilient, agile and have a strong sense of purpose that drives them and enables them to influence others. She joins women representing the arts, health, environment and community development. On winning the award Jo said “I was humbled to find out I had been nominated for the 100 Women of Influence by my peers on the Youth Voices Leadership Team,” Jo said, “and then to find out I was on the list was an overwhelming experience. I hope to use this opportunity to shine a light on the causes that I am passionate about, translating science into real benefits for farms, and advocating, supporting and mentoring young people, particularly women, in agriculture.” 

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Congratulations to YFC Meg Rice who was offered and has accepted a law clerk position with a Canberra Law firm. This will see her specialise in Rural Succession Planning when she graduates as a lawyer next year.

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Meg Rice is heading to Canberra 

Rarely a week goes by without at least one of our YFC being recognised for their contributions to agriculture and rural and regional Australia. In this blog  our Young Farming Champions identify awards as a significant platform to foster their career journey and reflect on how nominating for an award is an important step on many YFCs career journeys, expanding far beyond a pretty trophy.

Our YFC know it is important to grab opportunity with both hands, to travel and navigate foreign environments, meet new people, develop cultural sensitivity, shift perspective and see where someone else is coming from. In this blog Argentina and Australia – Our Young Farming Champions broaden their perspective, cultural sensitivity and appreciation., YFC Lucy Collingridge, Meg Rice and Anika Molesworth who travelled to Argentina in recent months share their ideas and learn from the South American country, and in doing so opened their eyes to the differences and similarities between Argentine and Australian agriculture.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18

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Argentina and Australia – Our Young Farming Champions broaden their perspective, cultural sensitivity and appreciation.

Four of our intrepid Young Farming Champions travelled to Argentina in recent months to share ideas and learn from the South American country, and in doing so opened their eyes to the differences and similarities between Argentine and Australian agriculture.

Meg Rice, Lucy Collingridge and Jasmine Whitten were in Argentina and Uruguay as part of their studies with the University of New England. Lucy and Jasmine competed in the IFAMA (International Food and Agribusiness Management Association) Student Case Competition and toured a range of agricultural practices including cropping, beef and mixed practice farms, research organisations, a cattle sale yard in the middle of Buenos Aires, a soybean processing and biofuels plant, an export facility on the Parana River and the headquarters of the largest farmer Co-operative in Argentina. Both girls came away with strong impressions.

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Photos courtesy of Lucy Collingridge

“I realised there is one vital aspect to agriculture and that is the impact government has in the development or hindering of industries,” Jasmine says. “The beef industry in Argentina has a long history of government intervention, due to Argentine’s high domestic beef consumption (58kg/person/year). Any increase to the cost of beef products can lead to backlash by the citizens against the government and so there are taxes on exports and fiats in the domestic marketplace. However, the government intervention restricts growth in the sector.”

Photos courtesy of Lucy Collingridge

For Lucy, a biosecurity officer with NSW Local Land Services, it was the contrasting approaches to biosecurity that made the most impact. “At all the places we visited, biosecurity was not at the forefront of their mind; even at a dairy processing plant there were no considerations around hygiene or biosecurity standards,” she says. Lucy gained greater appreciation for Australian practices during her travels. “We are lucky to have the high standards we do here in Australia, and even though at times producers and visitors can find on-farm biosecurity practices extensive, it is through these high standards and thorough practices we are able to minimise incursions, and lower the spread, of diseases, weeds and pests. We should be very proud of the high quality Australian produce that we can put on the global table.”

Photos courtesy of Lucy Collingridge 

Anika Molesworth was the third YFC to travel to Argentina and Uruguay. She took part in a parallel youth program to the G20 meeting of Agricultural Ministers which was being attended by the Federal Agricultural Minister David Littleproud. In a program organised by the Australian Embassy in Argentina, Anika participated in a range of activities involving young farmer groups, Ministers and congress – giving a series of presentations and participating in workshops. And it was here she found similarities to Australia. “We discussed the challenges of keeping young talented people in rural communities and agricultural industries. We shared concerns about the increasing rural-urban disconnect. We had reoccurring conversations about the drought that is being experienced in both Argentina and Australia, and how an increasingly difficult climate is a major challenge for people setting out on a career on the land,” Anika says. “Despite the shared challenges in both these parts of the world, the enthusiasm and commitment shown by the young people is extraordinary – and fills me with great optimism for our future.”

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Anika with Australian Minister for Agriculture Hon David Littleproud MP (right) and Tristan Baldock a grain farmers from SA 

Anika believes the strength of her tour came from the relationships and collective energy created between the two countries. In a joint statement between young Argentinian and Australian farmers presented to the Australian and Argentinian Agricultural Ministers in their bilateral meeting, they suggested actions to maintain and increase these relationships using both physical and online platforms. You can read more of Anika’s Argentine experiences here.

Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions are no longer tied to Australian soils. As Jasmine, Lucy, Meg and Anika show, there are mutual benefits to international agricultural conversations that foster relationships and positive directions for future challenges.

P.S: Congratulations to Lucy’s UNE team who won their division in the IFAMA Student Case Competition. See the story here

#YouthVoices #YouthinAg

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Young Farming Champions identify awards as a significant platform to foster their career journey

Dione, Emma, Cassie and Sam have proven that it is not just the collection of industry accolades that is important but often the process itself. Nominating for awards allows each person to reflect on their career, to give thanks and recognition to others, to extend industry networks and experiences, and to gain skills that will equip them into the future.

Our Young Farming Champions are encouraged to nominate for the highest awards in their industries to not only showcase their own careers but to acknowledge the support they have received along the way. Here, four of our recently successful YFCs share their experiences.

Dione Howard has been named the inaugural Wool Youth Ambassador with WoolProducers Australia in a position designed to expose a new generation to policy and advocacy issues important to the wool industry. “I applied for the Youth Ambassador role to extend my leadership capabilities and gain skills to develop policy,” Dione says, “and through it will attend board and advisory committee meetings as an observer for 12 months and work on policy projects.”

Dione has recently graduated from university and has commenced work as a district veterinarian with Local Land Services. She believes the Youth Ambassador role has come at an ideal time as she transitions from education to industry, and it will equip her with skills to take on leadership positions in the future.

Emma Ayliffe runs her own business, Summit Ag, and was encouraged by her peers to nominate for the ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year competition, in which she was runner-up in 2018. The program recognises Australia’s top agronomists less than 30 years of age and Emma found she even enjoyed applying for the award. “I entered this competition as an opportunity to reflect on where I have come from and think about where I am heading,” Emma says, “and the application process was wonderful as the types of questions that are asked where VERY thought provoking.” Among other things, the questions asked Emma to consider the role agronomists play in Australian agriculture, the future of agriculture technology, the challenges faced and the career milestones she aspires to.

The Young Agronomist of the Year program will allow Emma to create networks within her industry and gain international agricultural experience with an overseas trip. “This is a very humbling award,” Emma says, “but it confirms to me I am exactly where I want to be in regards to my career choice and helps to give me confidence in what I do every day.”

Cassie Baile and Samantha Wan were both finalists in this year’s WoolBroker Award. This prestigious award recognises excellence in Australian woolbroking for those who have been in the industry less than 10 years. “I was nominated by the company I work for, Australian Wool Network. I was grateful for the opportunity to represent them and myself within the industry,” Cassie says. For Samantha nominating was an opportunity to give thanks: “It was a way to acknowledge the support of my employer Elders, and many others within the industry and to promote Art4Agriculture and associated career programs,” she says.

As finalists Cassie and Sam will attend to the NCWSBA (National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia) Board Meeting, the AWIS (Australian Wool Industries Secretariat) Lunch and the Wool Week Dinner at the MCG. “I have gained confidence in presenting, built quality relationships with fellow wool brokers and industry leaders, and enjoyed the experience which came from presenting for the Wool Broker Award,” Cassie concludes.

Dione, Emma, Cassie and Sam have proven that it is not just the collection of industry accolades that is important but often the process itself. Nominating for awards allows each person to reflect on their career, to give thanks and recognition to others, to extend industry networks and experiences, and to gain skills that will equip them into the future. Well done girls.

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18

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