UWS brings cattle education to local high schools

Date: 18/05/2009

On Tuesday 19 May 2009, the University of Western Sydney's Hawkesbury campus will host the official opening of the 2009 Unischools Steer Challenge.

Fifteen high schools across Sydney are competing in the challenge, organised by the UWS School of Natural Sciences.

Each participating school has received a Poll Hereford steer which a team of students care for and feed for approximately 100 days. The steers are then presented at a local competition at Hawkesbury Showground and then the Central Coast Prime Beef Show, after which they are sold on the beef market.

Stephen Blunden, from the UWS School of Natural Sciences is organiser of this year's event.

"Students participating in the 100 day project have the opportunity to learn about animal care, agricultural industries and experience first-hand working as a team to achieve a goal," Mr Blunden says.

The students and their steers compete in several categories throughout the event including steer weight gain, best groomed steer and parading.

Students have the opportunity to act as judges - assessing other steers in competition. The "student judges" themselves are assessed on their knowledge, confidence, and presentation skills.

School teams are also assessed on their herdsman skills. This part of the competition is focused on the students' knowledge and care of the animal, its stall environment and the associated parading, grooming, and handling equipment.

"The Unischools Steer Project is a fun way to encourage students to consider pursuing further education in agriculture. It also shows there are rewarding and viable careers for those wishing to work in agricultural related industries," Mr Blunden says.

The 2009 challenge is made possible by the generous sponsorship of Ambos Stockfeeds and Windsor Farm Services.

The schools participating this year include:

Bede Polding College, South Windsor
Caroline Chisholm College, Glenmore Park
Chifley College, Mt Druitt
Colo High, Richmond North
Crestwood High, Baulkham Hills
Elizabeth Macarthur High, Narellan
Hurlstone Agricultural High, Glenfield
Prairiewood High, Fairfield
Richmond High, Richmond
Richmond TAFE, Richmond
Saint Ignatus' College, Riverview
Saint Columba's High School, Springwood
Macarthur Anglican School, Cobbitty
Northholm Grammar School, Arcadia
Oakhill College, Castle Hill

WHAT: Opening Ceremony, Unischools Steer Challenge
WHEN: Tuesday 19 May 2009, 2:00 - 3:00 pm. The loading of steers will take place at the Beef Cattle Yards at the end of Science Rd at 3:30pm.
WHERE: Building G6.G.43, UWS Hawkesbury campus, Bourke Street, Richmond.
MAP: http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/hawkesbury



Media Officer

Danielle Roddick
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