Year 12 Geographers Head to the Wheatbelt

Recently our Year 12 Geographers journeyed to the Cunderdin and Tammin districts of the Wheatbelt for two days of fieldwork (and heat!). Besides the development of fieldwork and mapping skills, this was an opportunity to bring to life many areas of content, especially the approaches farmers are taking to climate change mitigation, land cover restoration and rehabilitation, as well as the challenges currently faced by rural towns.

We received great support from several very enthusiastic, generous and innovative local farmers – with visits to Mr David and Mrs Jo Fulwood (parents of Annie in Year 9) at “Yarrandale”  and Mr Tony York at “Anameka”. Having also been involved in many other associated studies, enterprises and organisations, their insights shared during conversations and tours of their properties gave great insights into the course material. They also inspired future study and career options following on from Geography into Agriculture, such as Agribusiness and Agricultural Science, as well as Rural Health.

The introduction to modern agricultural practices and machinery, including the use of Geographical Information Systems,  Global Positional Systems and the development of new varieties of crops and pasture, such as saltbush, reminded us of the role of technologies in future career opportunities for Geographers, especially through the Sciences. The direct marketing of farm products overseas also emphasised the global view that studies in Geography encourage

We were fortunate that Shire President Mr Dennis Whisson invited us to the Shire Council Meeting, where we met local Councillors and learned about current priorities in the district. A visit arranged for us by Councillor Mr Norm Jenzen (father of former students Jess and Kirsten) to Cunderdin Agricultural College further added to our understanding of different career paths.

Who knows where the field trip might lead “down the track”?  Here are a few thoughts from the students:

  • Eye-opening – the needs of rural communities and their funding. (from the Council meeting)
  • Extended knowledge in ways not yet experienced, and made us appreciate the sustainability practices on our farms. (boarders)
  • A new experience – I have never seen sheep coming at me!
  • We could put all of our content into the physical word rather than just words.
  • We can now conceptualise the tools we use, like maps and images.   
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