Rural high school students get a taste for agricultural science at Dookie

December 14 / 150

Teagan Bau from Numurkah Secondary College and Nakita Turner from Birchip P-12 College examining rye grass samples for evidence of toxic endophytes.
Teagan Bau from Numurkah Secondary College and Nakita Turner from Birchip P-12 College examining rye grass samples for evidence of toxic endophytes.

Year 9 and 10 rural high school students from Victoria and New South Wales participated in an agricultural science camp at the Dookie campus last week.

Over the three day Conoco Phillips Science Experience Agricultural camp, the 41 students participated in hands-on science experiments in the laboratory and paddock.

Activities included soil sample analysis, discovering parasites and poisons in pasture, performing sheep health checks, cheese-making and milk-quality assessment.

The camp at the University’s working farm was designed to inspire a love of science. It will help students discover how important agricultural science is to current real world issues, particularly in rural Australia.

Six University students were awarded Dookie Science Experience scholarships to help mentor camp participants and they worked alongside University of Melbourne teaching staff.

The student mentors are enrolled in the Bachelor of Agriculture, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Diploma in General Studies and were chosen for their strong leadership skills and their passion for agriculture and animal science.

One of the mentors, Michael Manderson, a Dookie Diploma of General Studies student, said the experience gave him the skills and knowledge to give back to secondary schools.

“As a pathways student myself and as someone who has experienced difficult circumstances in the past, I’m also hoping to encourage students from varying cultural and socio-economic backgrounds to consider university,” he said.

The camp was run by the University in conjunction with the Science Schools Foundation, ConocoPhillips Australia, the Australian Science Teachers Association, Rotary Clubs and the Young Scientists of Australia.

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