City girls meet the bush at research facility

LEFT, Elizabeth Graham and Emily Slack take samples on their excursion to the Hermitage.
LEFT, Elizabeth Graham and Emily Slack take samples on their excursion to the Hermitage. Georja Ryan

THE Hermitage Research Facility was bustling with young inquisitive minds when 70 Year 12 girls from Somerville House in Brisbane came to visit.

On Tuesday last week, the girls piled into the labs and were granted a taste of what went on in the world of agricultural science.

Hermitage administration officer Kerrie Rubie was glad they could accommodate the girls and the feedback from students was that they were just as happy to be there.

"I have definitely learnt a lot about agriculture in Australia," Year 12 student Kate Maclaverty said.

"I never realised how much background work goes into things like this and the effort that is behind it all."

The girls were exposed to the expertise of plant breeders, research scientists, farm hands and plant pathologists as they participated in DNA extractions, maize, barley and sorghum breeding presentations.

"My assignment (this semester) is based on how breeders use a lot of different working people, like molecular scientists and so on, and so I have learnt how they all work together," Kate said.

Somerville House biology teacher Kelley Rogers said the excursion had been invaluable to the students.

"Last year we were made aware of the fantastic, wonderful, real-life application of science and wanted to expose our students to it," Miss Rogers said.

"It's an opportunity for the girls to realise and appreciate that there is research outside of medicine."

Miss Rogers was thankful the Hermitage allowed the school to visit.

"We are just grateful there is a science facility that allows them to share their knowledge and gives us the opportunity to be here," she said.

"Sometimes research stays in a lab but they've let us be a part of their research."

Topics:  hermitage research station, rural lifestyle, somerville house



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