Citrus industry’s future leaders to be biosecurity-aware
SCHOOL students across Australia have been busy learning how to maintain a biosecurity-conscious citrus industry.
Through their online initiative Primezone, The Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA) has created and made accessible nationally a number of educational resources that help primary and secondary students to develop an understanding of the Australian agricultural industry. Among these resources is a Citrus Biosecurity package.
Targeting students in years 7 to 10, the citrus packages aim to raise students’ awareness of the importance of plant biosecurity and integrated pest management for the citrus industry. The resources explore what biosecurity means, the science behind it, and the contribution that it makes to business along the entire length of the supply chain.
Ben Stockwin, Chief Executive Officer of PIEFA, said that raising awareness about agriculture doesn’t just mean learning about on-farm production.
“We want every student to be aware of all aspects of the food, fibre and production sector — the entire industry, not just the farm supplier,” he said.
“Students should be aware that biosecurity isn’t just important internationally, but also state-to-state.”
The resource was only made available last year; however, it has already been downloaded and used by teachers over four hundred times.
Hilary Salmon, science teacher at Manning Primary School in Perth, believes the resource creates a powerful and engaging learning environment for her students.
“The best science lessons are real-world and hands-on. As a bonus, student performance increases when they are interested,” she said.
The Citrus Biosecurity package includes teacher guides and animated PowerPoint presentations and is designed to integrate with the rest of the students’ curriculum.
According to Ms Salmon, “learning about why food and fibre needs protection and better understanding the food supply chain has given students rich experiences across different learning areas; not just sciences, but maths, English, technologies and even the origin of pests through the history curriculum.”
Mr Stockwin has high hopes for the impact of the program.
“By raising awareness and creating interest, hopefully we’ve got the next generation of biosecurity-aware industry leaders in our classrooms,” he said.
To learn more about the school resources, visit the Primezone website.