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Environmental science judged better than fair

August 26, 2014


Environmental science judged better than fair

Students participating in the 2014 Canterbury-Westland Schools Science and Technology Fair presented their projects for judging on Sunday, with Environment Canterbury again sponsoring an award for those with an environmental theme relevant to the region.

This year the judges noted a continuing trend where there were fewer entries submitted that could be considered for the Environment Canterbury awards, but those that did qualify were extremely strong and well thought through.

Ben Wagstaff, a year 8 student from Ladbrooks School won the junior prize with his study The Ladbrooks’ Commute where he looked at the forms of transport used by his fellow students and the effect that had on the environment.

He says his school is in a rural area so thought the students would mostly travel by car, which proved to be correct. Ben’s calculations and research showed that from the 105 students and the several thousand kilometers they all travelled, there would be 1,182,240kg of CO2 emissions which would need 56,297 trees planted each year to neutralise its effects.

“I could’ve gone on for months with all the research if I’d wanted to,” says Ben, who determined that after all the barriers such as busy roads and financial constraints were taken into account, carpooling was his first suggested travel option to be kinder on the environment.

Second place in the junior division went to Moe Gath from Cobham Intermediate with his entry about developing a resetting trap for rats and mice to help prevent these predators attacking native wildlife. Third equal place was awarded to Sam Anderson and Sarah Lawrence both of Cobham Intermediate. Their respective entries were: Be bright – Use light and Engineering vs Ecology (a follow on to her award-winning study from last year).

Tim Logan, a year 9 student from Darfield High School, won the senior prize this year with his biodiversity themed study, “To graze or not to graze?” He looked at the McLeans Island grasslands and investigated the effects of grazing on the small native plants found there.

“My study showed that grazing is beneficial for these native species,” says Tim. “I also think it proves that farming and ecological conservation can be sustainable together.”

Furthering his investigations is a goal for Tim as well, saying he wants to continue on with similar study as he believes it has a huge importance to Canterbury and the rest of New Zealand.

Lincoln High School’s Amy Burney with her entry The Natural Solution, which looked at the environmental benefits of using soap nuts as an alternative to regular detergents, placed second. Lorna Pairman and Thomas Hickford from Cashmere High School came third with their look into sources of urban water pollution, Do Cows pee on lampposts?

Environment Canterbury Commissioner David Caygill presented the prizes at the official prize giving on Sunday evening, with the two winners each receiving $400 for their work; five hundred dollars was also awarded to their school. The opportunity of work experience arranged by Environment Canterbury is also available to the senior winner.


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