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    Philippa On The Ice Philippa Werry at an Antarctic research camp 2016

New Zealand Science Teacher

Teacher Education in Science

The future of farming - teachers learn about agriculture careers

High school teachers from across the Waikato have spent a day immersed in science so they can share the hands-on experience with students and help inspire them into research careers.

TeachersDay1Twenty six science teachers yesterday had the opportunity to see genetic technologies in action at Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC) and get their hands dirty with University of Waikato’s Professor of Soil Science, Louis Schipper.

The day included a visit to DairyNZ’s Scott Farm research facilities to find out more about sustainable farm systems and a session with AgResearch specialists discussing animal welfare, food science and pests. Presenters provided teachers with insights into how the agricultural sector is responding to the economic and environmental challenges it faces, what skills the sector needs, and rewards available for the right people.

Hillcrest High School head of science Craig Taylor saw an opportunity for teachers after similar science events for students, and worked with Dairy NZ to make it happen.

“It’s a chance for the teachers to be exposed to some cutting edge stuff and to bring the science and primary industries into the classroom. It’s an area that is growing, and there are jobs there, but people have to know about them. It’s also about building those relationships between the schools and those industries.”   

AgResearch senior scientist Michael Wilson says it is important that he and his fellow scientists share the interesting work they are doing and show a path to rewarding careers in the industry. 

“You don’t have to look too far to see the big issues facing agriculture in this country, and there are opportunities for the next generation taking up science careers to do some great things. The teachers are a gateway to those young scientists and researchers of the future.”

DairyNZ industry education facilitator Susan Stokes says informing the next generation of students about roles in the dairy sector is so important as the industry moves forward.

“The dairy industry undertakes such a broad scope of research – students can work in a range of areas helping farms with animal and pasture improvement, through to sustainability and environmental practices,” says Susan.

“Science careers have a real role to play in helping farmers produce milk more efficiently and sustainably. We were thrilled to showcase the options to science teachers who help students with future plans.”

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