STUDENTS have come face to face with animals of all different shapes and sizes as part of a new agriculture and wildlife program being rolled out at a local school.
Playford International College has become the adopted home for a wide variety of farmyard and exotic animals, as the school aims to educate children about the possibility of an agricultural career pathway.
The agricultural program ‘Cows Create Careers’ is run by Dairy Australia to give local school students their first taste of agriculture, in an attempt to better educate them about the role the industry plays in South Australia.
As part of the program, the school has taken on an orphan baby Dorper lamb, named Maisie, and two yet-to-be-named Jersey bull calves.
The three farmyard animals have joined a variety of snakes, lizards, turtles, spiders and scorpions, which are currently housed at the school’s Playford Wildlife Centre.
Students have played an active role in building habitats and learning about the tendencies of each of the different animals within the centre.
Playford International College agriculture teacher Brittny Connaghton said the program was developed at the start of this year and has already seen kids show increased participation with their schooling.
“I was very surprised by how much the kids didn’t know about agriculture and where their food was coming from,” she said.
“Most of the kids in this area hadn’t even seen a lamb or a calf before, and I thought ‘that’s unbelievable’.”
Ms Connaghton helped develop the agriculture program and was assisted by design technology teacher Mitch Asser, who saw an opportunity for his students to build the pen for the animals as part of their tech studies.
Mr Asser said the Cows Create Careers program is about creating a stepping-stone for local students to find their way into agricultural jobs.
“What’s important about agriculture at a school like Playford International College is it’s about giving them an option, and opening doorways into jobs that they otherwise wouldn’t have known about,” he said.
“Elizabeth is on the doorstep of the vegie farms in Virginia, the vineyards of the Barossa, as well as the Roseworthy campus – we’re so close to that and we’re from an area where we need to focus on kids being able to get jobs.”
The calves will stay at the school for three weeks, however plans are already in place to bring in a range of other animals to further the agriculture and wildlife program.