Cotton Showcase Part 2 – THE ARCHIBULL PRIZE 2018 ARTWORKS

In the second of our two-part series looking at cotton in the 2018 Archibull Prize here we profile six city high schools.

Granville South Creative and Performing Arts High School have leapt straight out of the box with an eye-catching pop-art interpretation of cotton with their Archie ‘The DIVA’ – a dedicated informed visionary activist.

The DIVA is a bold, loud and iconic social media personality who spreads the good word about cotton near and far, and her artwork screams pop-art.

The quote from famous Pop Artist Andy Warhol takes pride of place in our design and boldly introduces the artistic vision of the overall design: “I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art anyone could ever want to own”.

Even Granville’s Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe makes an appearance on The DIVA:

[Emma is] styled as cultural icon Rosie the Riveter, as a further nod to the power of advertising (women workers were widespread in the media as government posters, and commercial advertising was used extensively to encourage women to volunteer for wartime service in factories). Both Emma and Rosie are symbols for feminism and the economic power of women in industry.

How cool is The DIVA?

Another visual stand-out is ‘Bulltossi’ from Ku-ring-gai High School, which was also mentored by YFC Emma Ayliffe,

During their Archibull journey the Ku-ring-gai students were fascinated to learn what goes into making the clothes they wear and, while realising there is much complexity in the cotton industry, chose to take a minimalistic approach to their Archie.

The Archie uses a visual language of signs and symbols to convey the Australian story of cotton. We drew inspiration from Bitossi ceramics because of their use of colour, pattern and shape.

Our Archibull was heavily inspired by the Australian landscape, represented in the ochre colours chosen.

 Colour was also a feature of ‘Ushi Bombacio’, the blue and white Archie from Mamre Anglican College.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The addition of the loom and the inclusion of our own school tartan to demonstrate the link between our cotton industry and our everyday lives makes our Archie unique.

After a visit from YFC James Kanaley the students also came to realise that while cotton is grown in Australia economics mean it is sent overseas to be processed.

Often we do not even recognise the link between our own agricultural industry and the cotton products (such as our own school uniforms) we use every day. The flags from various countries to which we export or from which we buy products demonstrates the effect of globalisation on agriculture and the textiles industry.

Also being mentored by YFC James Kanaley Airds High School was one of a number who took to their Archie with a saw to produce a cut-out in the stomach, and this was a feature of ‘Queen of Cotton’.

The terrariums [in the cut-out] in the middle of our AHS Queen of Cotton are symbolic of the innovations of planting that require less watering. These terrariums demonstrate that through new initiatives and ideas we can save water, providing opportunities for further crops to be grown.

As a dominant theme the Aird High School students wanted to express their varied multicultural and socio-economic backgrounds in relation to the Australia cotton industry.

Overall, our Archibull, Queen of Cotton, is unique as she represents the ideological and sociological viewpoints of our student population, our Airds Community, wider NSW and Australia’s great and powerful agrarian nation and its relationship to the cotton industry.

Queen of Cotton identifies with our student population and is inclusive of our ‘Indigenous Heritage’, our ‘Pacifica’ identities and the overall sense of Australian identity in us all. Concurrent with our representation of our wider school community, we have used the bracelets of colourful beads on the horns to provide an opportunity to identify with our oriental and refugee students.

 Real-life cotton bushes, glow-in-the-dark paint and interconnected wires made for an intriguing Archie from Irrawang High School who created ‘Synthia’ with the help of YFC Casey Onus.

Man-made fibres are portrayed on one side of Synthia, in contrast to the natural fibre of cotton on the other, with the head showing the contrasting issues of both.

The head is a visual of how the cotton industry is being taken over by synthetic materials. It shows the on-going battle between natural and man-made. Wrapped around the left horn is fine cotton thread and wrapped around the right horn is black nylon thread. This nylon continues on twisting and inter-twining through the synthetic side of Synthia, almost like its getting tangled in all of the destruction that manufacturing this material is causing.

And be careful around Synthia – she has secrets:

Hidden amongst the polyester shirt however, is a Nerf gun. The idea behind it is that the gun can be used as an interactive piece by the audience to shoot “yellow pellets” at the pests and diseases in areas that have a “target” to do your part to get rid of them!

 The last of the secondary schools to study cotton was Dakabin State High School from Brisbane who created ‘Cottonbull’ with support from  YFC Sharna Holman, who works for the cotton industry in Queensland

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Like Irrawang the students were not afraid to tackle difficult subjects, in this case the closure of farms in the Menindee area due to water issues.

Our Cottonbull captures the story about the end to cotton farming in the town of Menindee. The design was inspired by an ABC news story written by Declan Gooch on the 20th of May 2018, (http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018- 05-20/menindee-last-cotton-harvest/9779014). The article brings attention the issue of water shortage in the region and the effects this has had on the agriculture and tourism industry. The solution to this issue is a plan for the government to buy back the water allocation and stop water running from Lake Menindee to Lake Cawndilla.

Our Cottonbull is unique because it brings attention the issue of water shortage, loss of tourism and agriculture. We have selected imagery directly relating to the news article, allowing the story to be interpreted clearly. The artwork has educated our students on farming issues in Australia, stages of cotton production as well as facts about the cotton industry.

But wait there is more. Tomorrow we bring you our Cattle and Sheep and Grains Archies and next week we will launch the People’s Choice and you can support the schools and pick your favourite Archie

in 2017 the people’s choice blog post was a social media phenomenon. 185,000 people across the globe visited the blog post 65,000 people voted in the poll.

_2018 A4ASponsors_foremail

 

 

 

 

 

2018 ARCHIBULL PRIZE ARTWORKS – Primary and Regional Schools Showcase Cotton

A massive twelve schools studied cotton for the Archibull Prize and in Part 1 of our Cotton Showcase here we profile the colour and creativeness of primary school entrants and rural and regional schools.

First up are the Year 6 students from Raymond Terrace Public School who created ‘Cotton-eye Josie’ who is rockin’ the dreadlock look.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The school looked at the sustainability of the cotton industry by exploring topics such as climate change, biosecurity, healthy communities and food security, and they were also wowed with the use of technology as shown to them by YFC Casey Onus.

(The students) were intrigued with the technology shared, which forms the 21st century tools Ms Onus uses to perform her work as an agronomist…namely the drones. This gave students the idea of depicting the cotton fields from the perspective of an agronomist drone ie: a ‘bird’s eye view’.

When researching climate change the school looked at ways to reduce its carbon footprint:

We had been sent a pack of Archibull resources in the post, including multiple copies of posters. Students re-used and re-purposed these posters by cutting them into sections and using the creative technique of ‘decoupage’ to cover the torso of our ‘Archie’ calf.

As part of their Archibull journey the students raised over $1000 for drought relief through the Buy a Bale campaign. Well done Raymond Terrace!

The next primary school looking at cotton was the Parramatta Public School who created ‘Moona Lisa’ to tell the true story of the cotton industry through headlines and comics.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Based on our Skype Chat with Emma (YFC Emma Ayliffe) we discovered the biggest challenges the cotton industry face were society’s view and misconceptions about the cotton industry. Students wanted to tell the story through headlines and comic strips. Our aim was to tell the “true” story of the cotton industry to inform society of the best practices that take place.

Our Moona Lisa is unique in that students drew on their strengths as cartoonists and engaged in deep learning using comics as a form of medium to illustrate and tell the “true” story. This was a complex technique that students mastered while learning about visual literacy and creative storytelling through images and humour.

The last of the primary schools studying cotton with their Archibull Prize was Miller Public School that was assisted by YFC Laura Bennett to create ‘Moostapha Cotton’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The left side of our Archie shows the farming of cotton through a model. The model has what a cotton farm looks like throughout each season. We’ve even included a tractor that’s harvesting the crop. We also have a map of where cotton is grown around Australia and have three lady beetles to represent the cotton industries efforts to protect the crop using environmentally friendly farming methods.

Our Archie’s right side shows the cotton production cycle. We thought the best way to show this was to use the infographic from Cotton Australia as it was a simple and effective way to show the entire journey of cotton.

Moostapha’s face was left as that of a cow to show that cottonseed can also be used as animal feed.

Three regional schools from Wagga, Tamworth and Muswellbrook took a good look at the Australian cotton industry and each came up with an individual way to express their findings. Oxley High School from Tamworth needed only to step outside their own back door to find inspiration in the cotton fields of the Liverpool Plains and this became the focus of their Archie named ‘Jean’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

YFCs Casey Onus helped the students on their jean journey, which grew from the amazing fact that one bale of cotton can make 36 pairs of jeans!

10 pairs of blue jeans are used to create the big sky country (on our Archie). One side of our cow is the starry night sky using Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “Starry Night”. The other side is the big sky country on the Liverpool plains cotton growing region. The udders are a representation of the dams that are used to pump water onto the large cotton crops, which we have used black pipe and attached it to the cows teats as if it was drawing water from an underground bore and producing what we have above on our fields.

Kildare Catholic College from Wagga went with a minimalist, but striking, interpretation of the cotton industry with their blue and white Archie named ‘Roberta’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Year 10 visual art class were visited by YFC James Kanaley and came to realise the importance of water to the cotton industry. This became the focus for Roberta.

We have learned just how valuable water is to cotton farmers and know that every drop counts. We wanted to show the cotton plants being immersed by the body of water to show that it is a necessity for growth.

Our Archie is unique as it shows a variety of skills, whilst being graphic and simplistic. We aimed to engage the audiences by juxtaposing the bull with the colour blue (a visual representation of water). This makes the bull stand out in a crowd!

The two very different stylistic sides help convey both a realistic and more graphic depiction of cotton plants being immersed in a body of water.

Still in rural NSW and it was the students of Muswellbrook High School who partnered with YFC Casey Onus to create their Archie named ‘Cotton Eye Joe’.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Using a wide range of cotton products, including crotchet items, dyed cotton, cotton buds, cotton fabric and a cotton mop, Cotton Eye Joe showcases the process of growing cotton and the variety of products it makes.

During the design process, each student had to design and propose how they would decorate the bull. As a group we took the best elements from each student’s proposal and incorporated them into one whole design.

The Muswellbrook Archie drew on the following design elements:

  • Black and white stripes: represent the rows of cotton crops
  • Sunset with farmer silhouettes: to show how hard and long farmers work everyday
  • Cotton Picker centred in the design: to showcase the machinery used and to emphasise the role that machinery and technology play in the cotton industry
  • Hot pink paint: a link to the cotton dyeing process; highlighting that cotton can be more than white.
  • Cotton reels: we wanted to use an everyday cotton item and transform them into an artwork. The cotton reels construct the word cotton but also look like a piece of machinery (inspiration from the Gin).
  • Australian sunset: we used a silhouette of Australia to link both sides of the bull, but to also showcase the Australian Cotton Industry

Watch this space for Part 2 of our Cotton Showcase

 

Young Farming Champions Muster September 2018 Week 4

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

In the field

In Marrar, NSW, Grains YFC and fifth generation farmer Daniel Fox is trying something daring this week, sowing chickpeas for the first time. Best of luck, Dan

 

Our resident YFC “Meat Doctor” Steph Fowler is moving into the next phase of her merino genetics trial, with 600 lambs processed and sampled for meat quality traits. Steph says it will be a while yet before the samples are processed but it’s exciting to have all the samples finally collected for the year! Can’t wait to hear these results, Steph.

Grains YFC Keiley O’Brien has kicked off this years hay making season, giving a canola crop the chop in Narromine, NSW. Fingers crossed for a good season ahead!
Keiley hay making

Out of the Field

Wool YFC and Youth Voices Leadership Committee chair Dr Jo Newton has spent the weekend at the Royal Melbourne Show, stewarding for the White Suffolk, Suffolk & South Suffolk Judging. Jo says, “Being a steward is a bit like being a secretary for the judge who is in charge of assessing the animals. At the MelbShow we used a tablet to record the results for each class, make sure owners (& judge) know what animals are needed in the judging ring as well as announcing results on the microphone.” If you’re at the Melbourne show this week make sure you pass by the Sheep Shed and say G’day to Jo!

melbourne-show.jpg
“This is a class of Lincoln ewes in the next ring to the one I was looking after. The lambs had a great time frolicking in the ring while their mums where being assessed,” Jo says.

YFC and Green Globe Awards Finalist Anika Molesworth has hit the radio waves again with a great interview on Hit 99.7 Riverina. Anika has been working to make NSW a more eco-friendly place to live, and she joined the show to talk to Claire & Sam about how she feels about being nominated for an Award. Take a listen here

Anika was also featured on the Weekly Times this week, talking about farming in outback NSW,  championing for climate action and her PhD work. This is a lovely insight into a wonderful ag champion. Well done Anika! Read it here

Anika Climate action.jpg
#YouthVoices18 #YouthinAg #Farmersforclimateaction

The famous Henty Machinery Field Days were on this week and Wool YFC Dione Howard and Rice YFC Erika Heffer were both there. Dione and fellow vets from Riverina and Murray Local Land Services were answering animal health and biosecurity questions over the three days, while Erika was in the Landcare shed.

henty.jpg

It was a busy week in the office for Dione who then headed to the Hay Sheep Sale on Wednesday, where approximately 47,000 sheep were sold. Dione says many properties were selling large numbers of sheep due to the ongoing dry conditions.

Dione and Chloe

Dione ran into fellow YFC Chloe Dutschke at the sale who had travelled from Tupra station, where she has been contracting for the last couple of months. Great pic, ladies!

Cotton YFC Sharna Holman is super keen to be heading to “Go Ahead” Greg Mills‘s extension workshop in Townsville next week, as part of the Australasia-Pacific Extension Network 2018 Roadshow. Greg is a consultant on all things agribusiness extension, was the Kondinin Group and ABC Rural 2017 Consultant of the Year, and is a great friend of the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions program. We have no doubt you’ll have a great day and take home many valuable insights Sharna!

Prime Cuts

Well done to Grains YFC Dee George (front left) who has been touring the Royal Melbourne Show this week in her role as a Victorian Rural Ambassador State Finalist. #YouthinAg #RoyalMelbourneShow

Dee at Melb Show

And congrats to YFCs Sharna Holman and Alexandria Galea #teamcotton who were both recently elected to the Wincott – Women in Cotton committee, Sharna as communications officer and Alexandria as a regional representative for Central Queensland. Check out these great introductions to Sharna and Alexandria on the Wincott facebook page.

Lifetime Highlights

Massive milestone moment right now for University of New England students, Poultry YFC Jasmine Whitten and Wool YFC Emma Turner, who both have their honours seminars today.

Jasmine’s honours is investigating the effect of environmental enrichment on fearfulness of pullets (young layer hens). Emma’s honours studies the implementation of shorter shearing intervals. Huge congratulations for all the hard work and time you’ve both put into reaching these milestones. Enjoy this moment!

Exciting times ahead for Cattle and Sheep YFC and Rabobank graduate Felicity Taylor who has just received a promotion as a Rabobank Rural Officer. Felicity will spent the next two months in the Netherlands working in Rabobank’s Global Food and Agriulture Sector, supporting multinational agribusinesses, as part of her current graduate position before moving back to her hometown of Moree, NSW, to begin her new position. Mega congrats Felicity!

Felicity Taylor

#YouthinAg #YouthVocies18 #ArchieAction

_2018 A4ASponsors_foremail

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

_2018 A4ASponsors_foremail

 

 

 

Announcing our latest Crop of Cotton Young Farming Champions

Art4Agriculture is proud to name Sally Poole, Alexandria Galea, and Anika Molesworth as youth ambassadors of Australian agriculture in the form of the 2018 Cotton Young Farming Champions (YFC).

Growing up in Sydney but introduced to agriculture through farming relatives Sally Poole explored many agricultural avenues before settling on cotton as a career and she now works as an agronomist for Landmark in Chinchilla, Queensland. She is excited about beginning her YFC journey and the opportunities it will open for the cotton sector to build relationships with the community. “Positive engagement with the community is critical to ensure the long term social licence of the all agricultural industries,” she says, “and I also believe it is important to ensure the best and brightest minds are working towards improving and securing the productivity and sustainability of agriculture for future generations to come.”

 

fodder beats

As a sales agronomist with Cotton Growers Services in Emerald Queensland, Alexandria Galea combines a love of agriculture and teaching and looks forward to embracing this further as part of the YFC.  “I would like to create awareness of how cropping is relevant to everyone’s daily routine and how important it is to support our Australian primary industries,” she says. “Creating awareness would enable students to be thinking of their personal connection to the land even though it is not necessarily in their back yard.”

Alexandria Galea (9)

Anika Molesworth is no stranger to the YFC having first joined the program in 2014 representing lamb. Now studying a PhD including running cotton trials in the Riverina, Anika is passionate about expanding her world-view of agriculture and how it will be affected by a changing climate. “As a cotton YFC 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,” she says. “I would like everyone to share the pride I feel for Australian farmers, who are such a hardworking, forward-thinking, resourceful group within our society.”

Art4Agriculture National Director Lynne Strong is pleased to have such an exceptional new crop of Young Farming Champions. “It cannot be overestimated how important it is to have young people like Anika, Sally and Alexandria willing to step up and be trained to deliver the message, in a cohesive and coordinated way, that agriculture is a modern and evolving industry with career pathways that can provide a sense of achievement and make a positive impact on the world. I congratulate them on their courage and vision.”

All Young Farming Champions attend a series of workshops to teach the skills and knowledge to share agriculture’s story, and go into schools with The Archibull Prize to engage with students and encourage the next generation of agriculturists.

#Youthinag #YouthVoices18 #Archieaction #StrongerTogether

 

Meet Alexandria Galea who doesn’t mind a cotton tale or two or three

Alexandria Galea  (9).JPG

Alexandria Galea doesn’t mind a yarn. She grew up on a cotton property in central Queensland and while she admits she didn’t have an instinct for farm work, she did develop a love of sharing stories from her farming background.

This love of sharing and storytelling led her to a degree in secondary school education.

“I was half way through my teaching degree when I realised I also wanted to study agriculture, and it greatly excited me to think of all the pathways I could take. Upon graduation I turned to the field to gain more experience and exposure to agriculture and was fortunate to be offered a role as a sales agronomist with Cotton Growers Services.”

Today we introduce you to the second of our 2018 Cotton Young Farming Champions Alexandria Galea

This is Alexandria’s story

For generations my family have been working on the land. The family tree has gotten its hands dirty in many fields starting in horticulture on the Mediterranean island Malta and dry land cropping in South Australia. Today some are growing sugar cane or rearing cattle. In the mix I have grown up in the Central Highlands of Queensland on my parent’s irrigation property where we grow cotton, grains and pulses.

Despite coming from these blood lines I never quite inherited the nature of the typical country girl. I blissfully ignored practicality and sun safety to rock getups that only the Spice Girls could pull off around irrigation ditches or cattle yards (at least I was easy to spot). Although I was never hard to find as you could hear me a mile away yelling for help when bogged or caught in such a good yarn with the calves that I’d walk straight into the backside of a cow.

Enough said farm work was not quite my strong point but I loved it. As I grew up I realised I had a passion for collaborating, sharing and learning with others, in particular youth, or what others would call an interest in talking the ears off somebody. With this in mind I set out to become a teacher.

Alexandria Galea  (6).jpg

A passion for teaching and sharing a story led to an invitation to join the Young Farming Champions program 

Following high school I spent my time split between studying a Bachelor of Secondary Education and working in agricultural businesses. Working in agriculture started as a necessity to pay for the hefty bills of text books and late night educational excursions at university to become a real joy which I looked forward to. I got to experience a range of jobs from working with agronomists bug checking, accounting and supplying growers with products. Most importantly I got to have a good yarn with a diverse range of people within the industry.

alexandria-galea-4.jpg

 Never a dull day in my office especially when you get stuck in the mud

I found this work very interesting and rewarding, it opened my eyes to the magnitude of careers in agriculture which are not locked within the boundary fence of a farm. For the first time I could see how I (the not so intuitive farm girl) could be involved in an industry so close to my heart. I enjoyed liaising with farmers, the mix of working in the field and in the office, understanding the science behind growing plants and the ability to see a range of crops across a vast area. I was half way through my teaching degree when I realised that I also wanted to be studying agriculture. This greatly excited me to think of all the pathways I could take. Upon graduation of university I had the opportunity to work in the classroom however I turned to the field to gain more experience and exposure to agriculture. I was fortunate to be able to take on a role as a sales agronomist with Cotton Growers Services.

alexandria-galea-1.jpg

Working in agriculture is full of challenges to overcome in particular managing climate constraints.

In this role I had the pleasure of facilitating educational workshops at the Emerald Agricultural College to give students exposure to and broaden their knowledge of different types of crops, roles within farming and a range of technologies. In this space I am the most excited, it is a feeling of its own to open the eyes of another especially about farming.

My path in agriculture has only just began and I am very excited to see where my sparkling boots take me and for the yarns to be had! All are welcome to join.

Alex joined 2018 Cotton Young Farming Champions Sally Poole and Anika Molesworth at our first YFC workshop for 2018 in Tocal this month and it is clear she well make a great storyteller for cotton. Welcome Alex

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #StrongerTogether

 

Beam me up Emma – Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champions stream live from the paddock to the classroom

Parramatta Public School (12).JPGCotton Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe visited Parramatta Public School in June 2018 

Take Skype, a laptop and an interactive whiteboard and Cotton Australia’s Young Farming Champion Emma Ayliffe, standing in a paddock of cotton stubble, was able to beam directly to Sydney school students sitting in a classroom.

Parrammatta Public School 1.JPG

In July the classroom came to her via Skype

Emma is taking the story of cotton to Parramatta Public School as part of The Archibull Prize and with her live cross she showed students how technology such as moisture probes is used in the field and how data collected can be instantly uploaded. The paddock of stubble allowed her to ‘trash’ talk and explain the concept of crop rotation to 90 avid watchers.

Parrammatta Public School 2.JPG

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. “Water is a very valuable natural resource that we need to take care of and while we don’t have moisture probes the kids are able to touch and feel the soil (in their school cotton crop) to ensure enough water is being given to the plant. Emma also put us onto the Day Degrees formula, which helps us work out the growth cycle of cotton, which we are growing in our greenhouse.”

Parrammatta Public School.JPG

While Parramatta Public School has covered similar units in previous years Esra feels Emma’s presentation from the paddock helped to give the students a different perspective. “It was great to see the farmer’s point of view and what they do to ensure they have a successful crop. All these things we have been learning about has enhanced our kids understanding of what farmers go through and how climate change does affect us and why we need to be careful with biosecurity.”

And it seems Emma is having an influence on the career direction of students. “Emma is amazing,” Esra said, “and the kids absolutely love her enthusiasm. I think we have some students who now would like to be an agronomist because it looks really fun.”

#agronomist #thiscottonpickinglife #archieaction #youthvoices18 #wearcotton

_2018 A4ASponsors_foremail.jpg