Veterinary Students Go Batty in Centennial Park

4 March 2015

On 20 February, DVM1 students ventured to Centennial Parklands for an immersive learning experience aimed at increasing student understanding of the interconnectedness between human, animal and environmental health (One Health One Welfare).

Veterinary Science Students Visit Centennial Parklands
Veterinary Science Students Visit Centennial Parklands

During the day students rotated through 5 stations, all strategically located within the Parklands:

  1. Equestrian Centre (actual site of equine influenza outbreak in 2007/08) - students discussed the response to an emergency animal disease and the responsibility of veterinarians in reporting unusual cases of disease
  2. Centennial Parklands Dining (hub of human activity in the Park) - students listened to pre-recorded audios of different cultural attitudes towards animals (Australian farmer, indigenous Australian, Chinese Australian) and reflected on their own motivations for working with animals
  3. Federation Pavilion (dog off-leash area) - students discussed the meaning of responsible pet ownership, the benefits of walking dogs in public spaces and the behavioural, clinical, and legislative basis of dog bites within the context of societal impacts and the small animal veterinarian's role in One Health [links to Bluey bites pillar case]
  4. Lachlan Swamp (roosting site for thousands of bats) - students took on the role of jury in the legal case that led to the relocation of flying foxes from the Royal Botanic Gardens. Students also reflected on the broader chain of events that led a threatened wildlife species to seek refuge in urban areas, potentially bringing new risks to human and companion animal health
  5. Vernon Pavilion (adjacent pond filled with birdlife) - students compared the clinical presentation of a disease (botulism) that affects different species (dogs, waterfowl, humans). They considered how the approach to clinical history might offer insights into environmental exposures that have consequences to both animal and human health Following the experiential learning activity, students participated in a debriefing exercise where they developed wikis on the roles and responsibilities of veterinarians in society, the benefits and risks of human-animal and animal-animal interaction and the multi-disciplinary collaborations needed to safeguard the health and welfare of animals, humans and the environment.

Student feedback was highly positive, with more than 97% of students agreeing or strongly agreeing that the Centennial Parklands field trip helped to improve their understanding of One Health One Welfare.

The Centennial Parklands teaching team comprised of: Siobhan Mor (lead), Susan Matthew, Sanaa Zaki, Peter White, Jenny-Ann Toribio, Meg Vost, Jaime Gongora, Peter Higgins, Paul McGreevy, Jacqui Norris and Kate Bosward.

For more information please contact Siobhan Mor: