Sustainability: Maryanne Gabbani’s Farm: Cairo, Egypt

The Outdoor Science Excursion to Maryanne Stroud Gabbani’s Horse and Animal Farm would involve learning about the following: The Social Construct of Domesticated Animals, Animal Husbandry, Sustainable Agriculture, Environmental Preservation and the Ecological Problems that face rural Egyptians post revolution. To reflect on their Outdoor Science experience, pupils will spend time creating and editing a video, which you can view below. It’s fantastic!Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 2.16.47 PM








What pupils will learn:

The Social Construct of Domesticated Animals

1. Horses

     Pupils will learn about the social construct of horse groupings and how they are highly social herd animals that prefer to live in groups. As in many groupings of animals, there is a social hierarchy in any heard. Contrary to a popular notion that the stallion is the ruler of a harem of females, the actual leader is the dominant mare. They will learn that horses are prey animals with a well developed fight or flight response mechanism. They will also learn about horse physiology, and how horses are well suited to do a number of task such as work and entertaining humans. Pupils will be introduced to the idea of selective breeding of desirable traits. Some horses may be bred for their speed and agility, whilst others are bred for agility.

2. Goats

Pupils will learn that goats are differentiated from most ruminants by the fact that they are browsers and not grazers. Goats have a varied diet, and often are able to consume over 25 different species of plants and will almost always reject any plant that contains the scent of their own species excrement. What’s even more interesting is that it is thought that goats are able to distinguish between bitter, salty and sweet tastes. They have a high propensity towards bitter foods. As with the horses, pupils will learn about the social network and competitive natures of the goat. Lastly pupils will learn about how farmers selectively breed goats for desirable traits.

     B. Animal Husbandry

     1. Horses

Pupils will learn about horse husbandry as well as get to go out on two horse back rides. Horse husbandry includes learning about how to care for a horse (brushing mane, cleaning the horses shoe), and horse nutrition. During this section of the course, pupils will be reminded of horse psychology. They will learn how to approach a horse safely and become more familiar with how their body language speaks to the horse.

     C. Sustainable Agriculture

Pupils will learn about sustainable agriculture and medicinal plants and herbs. The simplest form of sustainable agriculture is the production of food (small garden) using farming techniques that protect the environment. Students will be taught the methods employed on the farm, and will be able to pick cabbage and other herbs to create their own personalized sustainable salad and tea for lunch.

     D. Environmental Preservation

Pupils will learn that Maryanne’s farm is an example of a sustainable farm that produces food and raises animals ethically without relying on toxic chemicals or pesticides. They will also take a horse back ride, discussing the ecological problems that face the the local Egyptian farmer post revolution.

     E. Outdoor Science Video

On the last day of excursion week, pupils will be expected to work together to create a video of their Outdoor Science Excursion experience. Once completed, the video will be showcased at assembly.


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