Agricultural careers on show at Katherine Research Station
More than 50 students from five schools in the greater Katherine region had a taste of what a career on the farm might offer when they toured Katherine Research Station during Science, Technology, Education and Mathematics (STEM) Week in Katherine.
The students from Casuarina Street Primary School, Jilkminggan School, Wugularr Primary School, Katherine High School and the YMCA were taken on tours of the research farm and given some first-hand experience of what a career in agriculture might involve.
“On each of the tours we took the students around the research farm and stopped to participate in an activity that we as scientist and applied engineers regularly conduct as part of our jobs,” Department of Primary Industry and Resources (DPIR) Pastoral Production Officer Jodie Ward said.
“We described how the activity fits into the broader picture of agriculture, food production and productivity in the Katherine region so that the students could relate what they were seeing on the farm to something they might experience in their everyday lives.”
During the tour students studied soil characteristics, such as pH and clay content, discussed the importance of matching varieties to soil type, planted take-home vegetable samples and analysed cow manure to determine animal health.
Jodie said the children participated enthusiastically in the activities while listening to the DPIR staff share their enthusiasm for science, maths, engineering and technology.
The tours were designed to expose local children to some of the careers available locally in the agriculture industry.
“We thought it would be great to provide this link for students that may be interested in pursuing a career in agriculture, science, engineering, technology or math but are currently unsure of how to do so while holding closely family and cultural beliefs,” Jodie said.
“Each of the presenters on the farm tours explained how they’d reached their current positions, including what classes we enjoyed in school, what qualifications we have since obtained and what other roles we have done in order to get the experience that we need to carry out our current jobs.
“We hope it will inspire some local children to consider staying in the Katherine region and pursuing a science or engineering career when they are older, and maybe inspire some to consider attending university.”
It is hoped that these tours will be held annually as part of STEM Week.
“This is the first time we’ve done something like this at Katherine Research Station and we will now reflect on the event and flesh out how we can make it bigger and better in future years,” Jodie said.