Ballarat Christian College students have had a hands-on look at potential careers in agriculture as two dairy calves moo-ved in to the school for a stay.
For the past three weeks the two calves have been cared for as part of Dairy Australia's Cows Create Careers program, winning the hearts of children and teachers alike.
During their time caring for the two, three-week-old calves, which were housed in a purpose-built pen at the school, the students explored dairy industry careers through a program drawing on many different areas of the curriculum including science, maths and English.
Cows Create Careers allows students to learn about the different skills required for a career in the dairy industry in a fun and hands-on way.Sally Roberts
Primary students gave the calves their twice-daily feeds and students from years seven to 10 completed other tasks in caring for the calves and the education program surrounding their visit.
"They needed to make either a 3D diorama or poster, a movie or powerpoint presentation on cows and the dairy industry, write a science report, letter to the dairy industry or an email," said coordinating teacher Kim Blackshaw.
A local dairy farmer taught the students how to care for the calves and showed the skills they needed for animal husbandry, feeding and weighing the calves.
"They drink an awful lot of milk," Ms Blackshaw said. "Our junior students were involved in feeding, which they loved. The teams took it in turns to do two feeds a day, and some students got to measure their growth."
Ms Blackshaw said the calves grew about 5cm during their stay, much to the delight of their young carers.
Dairy Australia spokeswoman Sally Roberts said the program shone a light on the different careers within the dairy industry.
"Cows Create Careers allows students to learn about the different skills required for a career in the dairy industry in a fun and hands-on way," Ms Roberts said.
It's the first time the school has taken part in the program, but Ms Blackshaw hopes it's not the last. She had previously been involved with Cows Create Careers when she was teaching at Lake Bolac.
She was unsure whether the students would seek out careers in the dairy industry, but said the whole school had very much enjoyed caring for the two calves during the project.
Cows Create Careers began in Gippsland in 2004, and last year, 14,245 students from 259 schools across Australia took part in raising calves.
"The project's passionate volunteers are vital to the ongoing success of Cows Create Careers. Volunteers speak to the students about their experiences in the industry, they support students in career decision making, and they have important links to education and employment sectors," Ms Roberts said.
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