Hands-on agriculture at KI school

Hands-on agriculture at KI school


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AG TEACHER: Kangaroo Island Community Education Parndana Campus agriculture teacher Trevor Bolwell with sons Callum, 7, and Aedan, 5, in front of a barramundi tank.

AG TEACHER: Kangaroo Island Community Education Parndana Campus agriculture teacher Trevor Bolwell with sons Callum, 7, and Aedan, 5, in front of a barramundi tank.

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KANGAROO Island High School students are getting a hands-on agricultural experience through KI Community Education's Parndana campus.

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KANGAROO Island High School students are getting a hands-on agricultural experience through KI Community Education's Parndana campus.

Agriculture teacher Trevor Bolwell said there was a working farm adjacent to the school where students were taught a broad range of subjects related to the industry.

"The kids are involved with prime lamb production and run a feed-lot, so they have to go through and work out rations," he said.

The school runs 35 first-cross ewes and two Poll Dorset rams.

"The sheep are ear-tagged and the kids weigh them and undertake trials to understand the different sorts of feed and the different quantities required," he said.

"The kids can also undertake a wool handling and shearing course that runs for a week in fourth term. We're always keen for students to do the course as farmers are always looking for people with those skills, particularly on the island."

Students take part in pasture trials, particularly in Year 11 and 12, looking at the different varieties and rates of fertiliser.

They also learn about aquaponics through a barramundi growing-out facility.

Attached to the facility is a recycling system where the waste water is transported to trays with various seedlings including herbs, spinach, beans and lettuce.

"It takes one-and-a-half to two hours for the water to travel through the barramundi facilities and by that time it's nutrient rich," Mr Bolwell said.

The water then travels through to the trays with seedlings and from there to a series of ponds that goldfish are grown in.

There are eight barramundi tanks with fish moved to different tanks depending on size.

In the aquaponics project, students also study water quality monitoring.

Sales and marketing comes as part of their agriculture course and students learn the basics of the subject through selling both barramundi and the produce from the seedlings.

"Southern Ocean Lodge, a well-known travel lodge, regularly buys our barramundi and take some of our herbs as well," Mr Bolwell said.

"The kids also sell herbs and produce in the front office at school."

The fish are sold as fillets or whole, and students are also involved with smoking the barramundi.

"This year, we're joining forces with a local oyster farmer on the island and will be learning to smoke the oysters while he will sell our fish in his shop," Mr Bolwell said.

* Full Education feature in Stock Journal, January 13 issue.

The story Hands-on agriculture at KI school first appeared on Farm Online.

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