Armidale Office hosts Armidale HS student as part of UNE GRASS program

Tuesday, 22 November, 2016

News Armidale-Office-hosts Tamara Kermode

Our Armidale Office recently provided a High School student with Industry Placement through the University of New England’s Growing Regional and Agricultural Students in Science (GRASS) program.

The University of New England GRASS program leads the development and delivery of education programs that inspire students towards science careers, and helps create high-calibre science graduates who are business-ready for Australia’s primary industries.

Click here for more information and a short film about the University of New England GRASS Program.

We asked Tamara some questions of our own about how she found the experience:

1. Why were you selected for the GRASS Industry Placement Scholarship?

Hard question to answer, but I would say because I showed a keen interest in Science and the environment. Also over the past years I have participated in various Science activities at the University of New England. It has been an amazing experience to complete the scholarship, so I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity.

2. What are you most passionate about in the area of science and agriculture?

I really enjoy being outdoors and being able to observe different fauna. Science is a good way of further studying habitat, behavior, adaptations, and many other study areas and so I thought it was a good way of better seeing the greater picture. From the agricultural side, I have been able to grow up for part of my life on farms, and have often in my spare time helped on my grandparents’ property.

3. What where you expecting industry placement to be like and how did the reality match up?

When I first learned that for my placement I would be counting birds, I had the visual image of tracking through tall grass under the sun or waiting for the birds to come to us. However we ended up doing a mixture of both. ‘Standing around’ was actually very engaging as we had Steve Debus and his vast knowledge constantly keeping us on our toes.

4. What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt as part of your experience with Eco Logical Australia?

It’s hard to single out something that was more interesting than everything else, because it was a constant learning experience and completely different from everyday life. A highlight was being able to learn about the various bird species and being able to ask lots of questions. Listening for birds and trying to identify them quickly, particularly when they are flying overhead, is challenging, but it was really fun learning to listen to various bird calls and then asking what they were.

5. You were fortunate participate in field work with people from Eco Logical Australia and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage – what special connections did you make or inspiration did you gain from these people?

Working with both Eco Logical Australia and the Office of Environment and Heritage has been a really valuable experience. Because Eco Logical Australia and the Office of Environment and Heritage are different organisations, the different people have different experiences and it was fun listening to them. Some people specialised in plants, others had more general knowledge and we had bird experts. Being pointed out various new species (to me at least) and learning about them, by people who also once did a degree at university and having gone through different stages in life was inspiring. It’s incredible how much information they can remember and then use.

6. What’s next, what’s your big career aspiration?

My next step is to finish year 12, and then decide what university I want to attend most. As I have done many things through the University of New England, I will most likely go there to study a degree in Bachelor of Environmental Science. After that I want to see where the degree takes me, and hopefully I can make a difference in the future.