Soil Health Testing and more at School Farm Excursion

12th April 2024 |

Landcare Tasmania, in collaboration with one of Landcare’s showcase farms on the Baxter Property at Pipers River, gathered Queechy High School students from year 7, 9, and 10 for a hands-on farm excursion in Tasmania’s north. This event offered a unique opportunity for students to explore soil health and biodiversity in a real-world agricultural setting.

Image: Queechy High School Student Angela tests the soil for nutrients such as nitrogen. 

The event is part of Landcare Tasmania and the JM Roberts Trust’s “School Landcare and Farming Program” delivering farm-based workshops that connect students with local farms, highlighting sustainable methods of food and fibre production in Tasmania and issues such as soil health and salinity in the landscape.

Aligned with curriculum objectives in the Science learning area, the excursion focused on outcomes related to soil health, biodiversity, and environmental sustainability. Students used a ‘Soil Testing Backpack’ to conduct a series of experiments aimed at evaluating the health of the soil and biodiversity on the farm.

Managers of the farm, Jenny and Brian Baxter provided insight into the thought and effort that goes into the sustainable management of farms, sharing tools, and techniques, and introducing students to some smelly compost.

As well as soil testing, students also undertook bug and plant identification, and data collection. Groups worked collaboratively to analyse findings and present reports on the health of their designated test areas.

"This farm excursion offered students a hands-on opportunity to apply scientific principles in a real-world context," said Landcare Tasmania's Education Officer Bennie Mildren. "By exploring soil health and biodiversity, students have gained valuable insights into sustainable agriculture practices and environmental stewardship."

Students were encouraged to consider the career prospects in their activities - an interest in spiders could become an academic career in entomology, drawing different flora and fauna could become a valuable skill as a naturalist or artist.

Students were interested in continuing to investigate biodiversity and landcare on farms, as well as learning to implement sustainability practices at their school.

Schools looking to be involved in this program can contact Landcare Tasmania through our website or join us for demonstrations at Agfest on the 2nd May, 2024.

This event forms part of Landcare Tasmania’s Education Program which includes an ongoing program of agricultural excursions for school students. It has been generously supported by donations from the JM Roberts Charitable Trust and the Tasmanian Landcare Fund.