The East Kootenay Regional Science Fair took place on Friday, March 9 and Saturday, March 10 at the College of the Rockies gym. Grades 6 to 12 students from school districts five and six gathered displayed dozens upon dozens of projects all centred around the theme of “Human Impact on the Environment Moving Forward.”
“So we’re going to show the positive things that are going on with humans in the environment as well as some of the things that we’ve done otherwise,” said Ann Rice of the East Kootenay Regional Science Fair Committee.
As well as all of the students’ projects, the hall leading to the gymnasium was lined with displays from local science-based businesses.
“We’ve got a community celebration of science where we’ve invited exhibitors to come up to talk about and show us the science that goes on in this community,” said Rice. “So we have the hatchery and we have the engineers and we have the hospital lab and we have a whole bunch of other people. The kids can circulate around and the public can up and visit and see what kind of science is happening around here.”
They also had Jed Cochrane from Parks Canada host a presentation called “Fire in the Forest,” in which he discussed the challenges and rewards associated with fire management, particularly in Canada’s national parks.
Many different awards were given out on Friday, with prizes given out in specific categories as well as medals distributed to each individual grade. Cash prizes and books were some of the awards to be had.
The grand prize was awarded to four students, who were given the opportunity to go to the Canada-wide Science Fair which this year is held in Ottawa.
“So they get pretty much a very inexpensive trip to the Canada-wide fair that is full of all kinds of activities, it’s not just a science fair,” said Rice.
Kootenay-Columbia MP Wayne Stetski presented the grand prize to Rory Smith of Mount Baker Secondary, Tanner Eckersley and Paul Alexander Chong of Parkland Middle School and Isaac Meulenbeld of Kootenay Discovery School.
Smith’s project was called “Targeted Oxidation: A New Method for Local Chemotherapeutic Medicine,” the Parkland students project was “The Affects of Forest Fires on Soil,” and Meulenbeld’s was on The Search for Juvenile Hormone III in a Variety of Plants by Searching for and Comparing the insect Protein, Methyl Farnesoate Epoxidase: An in-silico based research project.
Stetski thanked all the students for their inquiring minds, and said, “at some point in your lives you probably drove your parents crazy asking why and how things work. And that’s exactly the kind of minds that we need to move Canada forward.”
He also encouraged them that, should they choose to pursue a career in science, they will find that their job brings them satisfaction every day. He then asked the students if they have heard the words, “fake news.”
“”There’s way too much fake news going on these days and sometimes coming from people pretty high up and some countries, not too far to the south of us here, the best way to counter fake news is through science, absolutely. Science is the one thing that can take care of fake news. So again, by being interested in science, being interested in the facts, you can make a big difference in terms of what becomes truth here in our society.”
He then mentioned that the Liberal Government’s recent budget is putting $1.7 billion over the next five years to go towards helping research and science and technology at colleges and universities and another $1.3 billion over the next five years to help build equipment and labs and improve the working conditions for people working in science.
And, as the Canada-wide Science Fair is being held in Ottawa, where Stetski spends half the year, he offered the four winners his business card, and told them to call him when they arrived so that he could take them on a tour of parliament, and buy them all lunch.