Sixty-five students, teachers and assistants from regional NSW seized the opportunity to put their agricultural skills into practice at the Brisbane Ekka this week.
The cohort from four regional high schools – Inverell High School, Holy Trinity School, Macintyre High School and Glenn Innes High – made the long trip thanks to sponsorship from Sapphire Wind Farm, NSW’s largest operational wind farm.
The group was also treated to a show at Outback Spectacular and dinner at the Breakfast Creek Hotel after students put their ag-studies into practice at the Ekka parades and on steer and stud judging panels.
Deb Snaith, head teacher of agriculture at Macintyre High School, said the experience was invaluable.
“The students get so much out of experiencing the Ekka and Outback spectacular,” she said.
“It gives them a chance to put their (agriculture) skills in to practice, while enjoying a fun week away with friends and family.”
Sapphire Wind Farm, owned by Squadron Energy, has two sponsorship funds in place to support its local regional community, an aspect of the company its operations manager David Williamson said is “very important” for the success of its wind farms.
“We’re going through a time of change where there is a lot of new (technological advancements) happening and on the horizon that people aren’t necessarily used to as part of the community engagement,” Mr Williamson said.
He said wind farm’s community outreach extended beyond immediate stakeholders like landholders and neighbours, with an annual allocation of $187,500 to its community benefit fund.
Squadron Energy is also constructing the Clarke Creek Wind Farm in Queensland.
This project’s first stage, 150km northwest of Rockhampton and 150km south of Mackay, will have 100 turbines that are projected to power about 330,000 Qld homes.
Squadron reported the project created 350 jobs and $110 million in regional invests and estimates it will avoid 738,000 tonnes of carbon emissions a year.
Originally published as Country skills shine: wind farm backs NSW agriculture students at the Brisbane Ekka
https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/bush-summit/country-skills-shine-wind-farm-backs-nsw-agriculture-students-at-the-brisbane-ekka/news-story/3099256325a66618b491c58de261e3b4 Squadron Energy’s Sapphire Wind Farm benefits community, sending rural students to Brisbane Ekka