Room with a view provides the perfect ‘plot’ for students’ success story

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Hartpury students will have learning opportunities at their ‘green’ fingertips as a new classroom delivers the great outdoors to their doorstep. Their new learning space offers stunning views to May Hill and beyond, while a decking area will lead out to demonstration crop plots, making it much easier for degree students to take what they learn in the classroom out into ‘the field’.

It will be officially opened on January 26th, 2015, by Dr. Julian Little, the Communications and Government Affairs Manager for Bayer Crop Science – one of the world's leading innovative crop science companies in the areas of seeds, crop protection and non-agricultural pest control. Dr. Little will then deliver a lecture to staff and students.

The first planting will take place this Spring, but Agriculture, Conservation and Sustainable Management students and Animal Science students are already reaping the benefits of their modern new classroom. They previously had lessons in the Farm Common Room portakabin and travelled much further to access outdoor learning.

Patrick Tandy, Lecturer in Agriculture (Higher Education), said: “We felt it was really important for our students to be able to access a classroom space in the heart of the Farm environment, where they could bring their learning to life.

“Everyone is thrilled with the new facilities. The 12 new plots will really enhance the students’ understanding of crop management and production, giving them the opportunity to pop their wellies on and take what they have learned in their lecture and apply it immediately in a practical setting, without having to trek out to the arable fields. “We’re delighted to be welcoming Dr. Julian Little for the opening and to deliver a guest lecture, reflecting our commitment to building even stronger links with industry.

The new classroom and the opportunities it offers will play a key role in ensuring we produce graduates with the most up-to-date knowledge and skills who can hit the ground running and become leaders in the agricultural arena.”

The first crops to be planted in the plots will be wheat, barley, oilseed rape and a variety of grasses. They will be trial plots, with the crops being treated differently to enable the students to learn about optimum growing conditions. The proximity of the crops will enable them to be monitored on a much more regular basis than is currently possible.

“We’ll still visit other farms to enable our students to experience larger scale operations but it will be fantastic for them to produce and manage their own crops over time, rather than just getting a snapshot of them on one day,” added Patrick.

“It will also mean we have the rest of the farm on our doorstep, so students can see how the theory they are learning relates to industry and to animal production. We can take the students out to watch milking for example. Having a classroom in the middle of a fully working commercial farm really sets Hartpury apart and enables teaching to be much more flexible.”

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