Former staff and students joined staff at The Walled Gardens of Cannington recently to celebrate the incredible milestone of 100 Years of Land-based studies in Cannington.
In the Autumn of 1921, the College opened its doors for the first time as Somerset Farm Institute at a time when all rural counties were encouraged to establish education in agriculture following the first World War. During the past century, the College has had a number of name changes, however, it has always remained a thriving Land-based College with a national reputation within the industry.
Guest speaker, Caroline Woolley, a former student at the College in 1961/62 and former member of the Cannington Old Students Association, reminisced about her memories of the College and the courses that were on offer at that time. She discussed the life of a land-based student and how the curriculum was set out in the 60s.
Jason Gunningham, Assistant Principal for Land-based Studies at Bridgwater & Taunton College, said,
It was wonderful to meet with Alumni and hear about their time at the College. It struck me, that past and present students have the same thing in common; the motivation to make a difference in our environment and the lives of animals by creating sustainable practices that enrich the lives of every living thing that inhabits the earth.
It seems to me that over the last 100 years, this motivation hasn’t changed, however, the drive for environmental sustainability is being seen as increasingly important. It is the College’s vision to become a world class leader of education so we aim to ensure we are always at the forefront of innovation, best practice and teaching and learning. At BTC we are exploring and adopting technological advances within the industry. 100 years ago, no one had thought of GPS tracking or water enhancing technology, yet today our students are learning to use state-of-the-art tractors with GPS tracking to maximise the sowing of crops and using the latest water enhancing technology to support the measurement of hydration in our dairy herd.
There are so many technological advances, next term we are starting a project funded by the regional LEP which will see satellite imagery technology and drones being used to map land and support soil analysis.
I won’t be around to see it, but I wonder what the next 100 years will bring, I feel sure that there will still be a thriving college at Cannington.
If you would like more information or would like to study Land-based courses at Bridgwater & Taunton College, please contact our Information and Advice team on 01278 441234 or visit the course search page. Find our more about the current site on the Cannington Campus page.