School program awarded

MONITORING: Cowell Area School farm manager Ettiene Posthumus and aquaculture teacher Michael Barker with the new data monitoring probe in Franklin Harbour.
MONITORING: Cowell Area School farm manager Ettiene Posthumus and aquaculture teacher Michael Barker with the new data monitoring probe in Franklin Harbour.

Cowell Area School’s Aquaculture program was awarded the Credit Union Best Practice Award at the South Australian Area School Conference last week.

Cowell Area School was one of eight schools that nominated for the award, which recognises outstanding achievement in demonstrating best learning practice, linking each other and the whole community.

With the award, the school also received $1000, which will go back into the aquaculture program.

Principal Julie-Anne Byrnes said the school could choose from a number of categories.

“We went with innovation and engagement with the community in our application and related it to our data loggers,” Mrs Byrnes said.

The school implemented an Aquamonix estuary data logger in its oyster lease earlier this year, thanks to  funding obtained from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and Natural Resource Management Eyre Peninsula.

The logger takes in data and information about the water in the oyster lease that is then used as part of the aquaculture program and will be passed onto the local oyster industry and other environmental organisations.

The school will be implementing a second data logger with a weather station, owned by Aquamonix, in deeper water in the future.

“We’re trying to work out the best way to secure it into the water, as we have to make sure we get it in far enough,” Mrs Byrnes said.

“We had some difficulty getting the logger secured in our lease, and putting it in deeper water will be different again.”

The school’s aquaculture program has recently had interest from other area schools.

“We have had a lot of interest come from other schools,” Mrs Byrnes said.

“We have Cleve and Orroroo schools coming to visit our facilities in the next few weeks.

“Port Augusta Secondary School is also looking at having some of their students participate in the program externally as well.”