Project Leader, Organisation

Kerrie Rubie, Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

Status

Contracting

Background

The Queensland DAF Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition offers engaging ways for students to gain understanding and skills in key areas identified within the Australian Science Curriculum.  Encouraging the next generation of people who will be involved in agriculture and rural industries as scientists, farmers (and a range of roles in between) is crucial to how we will face the future and is a key purpose of the competition.

The competition is highly regarded amongst educationalists and attracts between 100-200 schools from across Australia annually and over its 23-year history has reached over 105,000 students (from years prep to twelve).

The Foundation was also pleased to support the Plant Science competition in 2019 and 2020 (PBSF007, PBSF021)

Objectives and impact

The aim of the competition is to stimulate an interest in science and agriculture in young people and to promote science and agriculture as an exciting and rewarding career.

The aim of our competition is to stimulate an interest in science and agriculture in young people and to promote science and agriculture as an exciting and rewarding career.

This is achieved, not only by students partaking in the competition’s hands-on experiments and activities, but also through extended programs and support offered including Queensland-wide student workshops, school visits by DAF scientists and staff, the annual Awards Day & Ag Science Expo and a large range of prizes including scholarships to attend industry conferences and agricultural science camps.

Our 2021 competition will focus on ‘Fruit & Vegetables’ in celebration of the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables.  Students will engage in a series of activities including experimental investigations to explore factors that affect plant health and will perform extra research into the importance of protecting plant health for global food security.  Links between agriculture and the entire food system will also be examined together with nutritional and health benefits and sustainable farming practices. Participating students will develop skills in scientific method and will develop a broader understanding and interest in plant health, breeding, pathology, invasive pests and biosecurity with the possibility of considering further studies and careers in this field.