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Pilbara mob goes coastal

Pilbara mob goes coastal

LEARNING about salt production, space technology and camping in the bush were just some of the highlights for students who took part in a recent Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation’s Follow the Dream program.

The students from the inland Pilbara town of Tom Price travelled to the Ningaloo Coast for a week long educational, cultural, and adventure camp, known locally as Garnjurri Mirnumurri Ngurr-unga, where they explored Carnarvon, Exmouth, and the Cape Range National Park.

Follow the Dream Program coordinator Joe Manning said one of the highlights of the camp was an excursion to the Rio Tinto Dampier Salt operations at Lake MacLeod, which gave students exposure to a wide array of future training and employment opportunities. For this part of the camp, the Tom Price group was joined by students from the Carnarvon Follow the Dream program for a tour of the operations.

During the Dampier Salt tour, students learned about the various stages of the salt production process, visited the Salt Quality Lab, explored the Salt Field and Wash Plant, and walked along the jetty to see where the salt is loaded onto ships. A number of students are now interested in working in the salt industry once they finish school.

Clinton Cooke, a Year 8 student in the Tom Price Follow the Dream Program, said he found the excursion at Lake MacLeod really engaging. “It was interesting to learn about how the salt was made and to walk along the jetty. It was a fantastic experience,” he said.

While visiting Carnarvon, the Tom Price students had the opportunity to spend time with students from the Carnarvon Follow the Dream program who hosted an afternoon cook-up and served some delicious kangaroo tail, stews and damper.

For some students, the visit to Carnarvon was a poignant moment as they met cousins and other family members they didn’t even know they had. Carnarvon Program coordinator Mimi Fong said it’s valuable for Follow the Dream students to travel to meet other ambitious, motivated students who are working hard to reach their goals.

The Tom Price students also visited the Space and Technology Museum in Carnarvon, where they learned about the little known role the town played in NASA’s manned space mission to the moon, experienced a re-creation of the moon landing, and took part in a range of interactive STEM activities.

Towards the end of the week-long camp, the students travelled to Coral Bay and Exmouth, where they went snorkelling, coral viewing, kayaking, and ocean swimming. For some students, this was the first time they had the opportunity to learn how to snorkel and the first time they had visited these iconic coastal locations.

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