Thirty Environmental Science students from the Australian National University visited Mulloon Creek Natural Farms in September 2018 on their annual Environmental Field School visit, with Dr David Freudenberger (ANU) and TMI Research Coordinator Luke Peel.
Day One was devoted to practical field educational and training activities, including Landscape Function Analysis and Ephemeral Drainage-line Assessments. Day Two involved soil sampling, profiles, infiltration, and morphological processes, and on Day Three students installed brush packs on scalded and eroded areas, with LFA monitoring conducted before and after installation.
The Mulloon Institute is proud to have an ongoing relationship with the ANU that stretches back over 30 years, with students visiting each year or undertaking studies, under the supervision of Dr John Field, Emeritus Professor Stephen Dovers and Dr David Freudenberger who all serve on our Science Advisory Council.
Selected quotes from participating students
“Seeing the way the Mulloon Institute has educated farmers about their land reminded me that engaging the broader community with sustainability is possible.” – Field School participant
“I think the work of Luke Peel and The Mulloon Institute is amazing and exactly what the agriculture industry needs: a holistic farming approach which supports the land it works on rather than destroys it.” – Field School participant
“One of the key skills I gained from this course was the ability to ‘read’ a landscape, on both a larger ‘landscape’ scale as well as on a finer micro-scale in looking at things such as soil and invertebrates… we were able to identify features such as alluvial fans and old creek beds, something which previous to the course I would never have considered being able to do. I think having the ability to look at a landscape in this way is very valuable, and I have noticed myself looking at very familiar landscapes such as my family’s property in the NSW Hunter Valley through this lens.” – Field School participant
“I found our time spent at Mulloon home farm speaking to people such as Luke Peel very inspiring in terms of my desire to learn more about sustainable agriculture and soil and land restoration practices. To see the effects of overgrazing so explicitly, in particular in context to the current drought, was quite shocking and demonstrated the need for more sustainable practices quite clearly.” – Field School participant
“Learning about and performing the brush pile technique was very motivating and enjoyable… I enjoyed the practicality of it, and the direct engagement with and contribution to long term land management, this not being something that is often accessible in a university course. It also encouraged me to learn more about sustainable land management and soil restoration practices that I hope to implement ideas from on my family’s farm.” – Field School participant
“As someone interested in sustainable agriculture research, Mulloon Institute was eye opening. Being on a working farm that doubled as an open air research and development project was amazing!... I think this tied in perfectly with the role of The Mulloon Institute- not only as a centre for innovative practices but as a working farm that leads by example, and is all about giving others the knowledge and ability to take on these restorative and sustainable projects themselves. I think this is a foundation of any research process, but is especially important in environmental research.” – Field School participant