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    Mark Fisher wins 2015 John Winter-Irving Bequest

    Mark FisherDuring December 2016, Southern New England Landcare congratulated Agricultural Science teacher Mr Mark Fisher, of New England Girls School, on winning the 2015 John Winter-Irving Memorial Bequest.

    The John Winter-Irving Memorial Bequest is for use as a study grant in the field of sustainable agriculture, natural resource management, or rural development and leadership.

    The $1250 bequest is kindly donated by Mrs Ona Winter-Irving and family, and was awarded at Southern New England Landcare’s Christmas function in Armidale.

    Steve Harvey, President of Southern New England Landcare said, “Mark Fisher has a high regard for Landcare and is an innovative educator with a passion for sustainable land management.”

    Mr Fisher was surprised and honoured to receive the bequest, saying, “I already have an idea that I would like to scope out and see if I can start to implement over the coming 12 months.”

    Sara Schmude, Southern New England Landcare's Urban and Youth Coordinator and past student of NEGS, has been working with Mr Fisher on project ideas during the last few months, and nominated him for the bequest based on how inspired she had become.

    “Agriculture is a key part of NEGS, with programs that offer students from diverse urban and rural backgrounds the opportunity to experience agriculture and show them what a wonderfully interesting, dynamic and progressive industry it is,” said Sara.

    The school’s agricultural facilities include a Charolais cattle stud and show steer feedlot, Dohne and White Suffolk sheep, Berkshire pigs, poultry, fruit orchard and an organic vegetable enterprise.

    “It is hoped that the produce grown and reared by Mark’s students will be utilised in the school kitchen with excess produce sold to the broader community,” said Sara.

    “Mark is dedicated to a program that reflects sustainable practices,” she said.

    “Just recently, he was successful in obtaining funding for a sustainable watering system for the agriculture plot, and he has plans to develop a large-scale composting system to utilise kitchen waste, equestrian centre manure and garden waste and to use this resource to improve the schools soil health,” she said.

    Mr Fisher is also expanding opportunities for his students by providing pathways to agriculture and natural resource management degrees at the University of New England.

    Southern New England Landcare congratulates Mr Mark Fisher, and looks forward to hearing about his work over the coming 12 months.

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