Online biosecurity modules designed for students

Hagley Farm Primary School activities

Hagley Farm Primary School activities
Photo: Ryan Wilkinson

Practical biosecurity messages are being taught to the next generation of farmers at Tasmanian schools during the COVID-19 response.

At the start of the response, Biosecurity Tasmania developed a series of short, online education modules addressing key biosecurity issues to support parents and teachers planning for 'home-schooling' activities.

The modules continue to be used now that face-to-face learning has resumed.

As part of the Department of Education Revitalising School Farms initiative, BT's Communication and Engagement Team completed eight online‚Äčeducation modules addressing key biosecurity issues.

The 10 to 15 minute modules are narrated PowerPoint presentations and are hosted on the Department of Education's online collaboration platform.

They cover a number of topics:  a definition of biosecurity and the importance biosecurity to farm production; what is included within a farm biosecurity plan; how animal welfare is maintained on farms; ethical decision making in relation to biosecurity practice; emerging technologies; and what career opportunities are available within biosecurity networks.

The modules are pitched at various year levels ranging from Year 3 to Year 10.

They have been promoted to teaching staff of all schools through the Tasmanian Agricultural Education Network (TAEN).

The BT Communications and Engagement Team has been working with the State and Regional Coordinators of the DoE Revitalising School Farms initiative and the TAEN, who are based at the Hagley School Farm, for more than a year.

The focus of this collaboration has been promotion of practical measures to help protect the school farm against biosecurity threats which also serve as a practical reminders to students that biosecurity should be taken seriously and is a key part of agricultural business.

The Hagley Field Study Centre teachers have also developed a variety of biosecurity learning experiences for students with the aim of building awareness and understanding of biosecurity throughout the community.

These learning experiences are shared with more than 5,000 students from around the State who visit Hagley School Farm each year.

Practical activities undertaken by the students include record keeping of visitors, the display and maintenance of biosecurity signage, boot and hand wash cleaning stations, and established reporting procedures for any irregular observations with crops and animals.

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