School students from across Queensland were yesterday presented with a range of awards as part of a national annual Hermitage Schools Plant Science Competition, which this year celebrated native foods.
The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries competition attracted more than 3,600 Prep to Year 12 students from 137 schools nationwide, who experienced first hand how to prepare native food plants to learn about the role of science and agriculture, and traditional, native foods and food production systems in sustaining people today and for the past 60,000 years.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner said the science and art entries in this year’s competition were exceptional and gave great hope for the future of science and agriculture.
“These aspiring young scientists have learned about plant science, food technology and native foods, and how this applies to developing nutritious and delicious fresh produce,” Mr Furner said.
“Students also created native food plant herbariums, carried out a marketing activity, cooked with bush tucker, researched the science behind using native plants for food production across the world and used a mobile gaming app to spot and identify pests that impact our precious native plant life and interfere with agricultural production.”
Major science award prize winners:
Paul Johnston Memorial Senior Science Award Winner: Michelle Springolo, year 12, Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba Runner-up: Cameron Colless, year 11, Atherton State High School
Crawford Fund International Agricultural Science Award Winners: Michelle Springolo, year 12, Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba Daniel Kuhn, year 7, Scots PGC College, Warwick Sebastian Sharples-Dawson, year 5, Dalby State School Runners-up: Ruby Pettingill, year 10, Glasshouse Christian College, Sunshine Coast Bonnie Petersen, year 7, Scots PGC College, Warwick
QUT Most Outstanding Poster Awards Michelle Springolo, year 12, Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba Ciara McRae, Belle Sweedman & Bridie Hutchinson, year 7, Scots PGC College, Warwick Year 5/6 class, Glennie Heights State School, Warwick Year P-2 class, Freestone State School, Warwick
Ag Institute of Australia Junior Science Achievement Award Winner: Yasmine Brockhurst, year 8, Brigidine College, Brisbane Runner-up: Daniel Kuhn, year 7, Scots PGC College, Warwick
Joe Baker Outstanding Achievement Awards
Sebastian Sharples-Dawson, year 5, Dalby State School Dominic Walker, year 2, Freestone State School, Warwick
John and Chris Purdie Young Science Investigator Award Winner: Violet Trigg, year P, Freestone State School, Warwick Runner-up: Hayley Johnson, year 1, Pilton State School
The competition’s Art in Agriculture section linked to the Hermitage Research Facility’s 125th anniversary theme ‘agriculture through the ages’, which saw students create a mosaic depicting a native food or food system that has sustained First Nations people for thousands of years, or one that could enrich our diets today.
Students from Freestone State School near Warwick took out the top art prize of ‘Most Outstanding School’ and Pilton State School students were awarded a host of individual awards for their beautiful creations.
Students participated in private mosaicking workshops with local Warwick artist, Christopher Hulme, for the chance to have their entries recreated and installed in the larger mosaic piece created by Chris earlier in the year.
Three budding young artists, Michelle Springolo of Toowoomba, William Boddington of Cambooya and Charlye Maher of Freestone were selected to have their mosaic entries incorporated into the new mosaic art installation at the Hermitage Research Facility.
A third component of the competition involved students from across the globe participating in a citizen science, biosecurity-themed adventure about the environment and the animals and organisms that invade plants.
The 2022 ‘Pest Invaders’ BioQuest attracted 33 teams with 3,650 sightings, 6,132 identifications and 1,719 species mapped, via a mobile gaming app. Students from across Australia were among the prize winners.
The competition’s sponsors include QuestaGame and the Grains Research and Development Corporation.
These Queensland schools were awarded various science, art and QuestaGame prizes:
- Centenary Heights State High School, Toowoomba
- Glasshouse Christian College, Sunshine Coast
- Mareeba State High School
- Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba
- Atherton State High School
- Home Hill State High School
- The Glennie School, Toowoomba
- Scots PGC College, Warwick
- Brigidine College, Brisbane
- Trinity Bay State High School
- Glennie Heights State School, Warwick
- Freestone State School, Warwick
- Pilton State School, Darling Downs
- Dalby State School
- Adams Homeschool, Jimboomba
- Stavrinou Homeschool Jimboomba
- Ambrose Treacy College, Brisbane
- Kurwongbah State School
- Home Hill State High School
- Downlands College, Toowoomba
- Cambooya State School
- Whitfield State School
- Miallo State School
- Edge Hill State School
- Prize winners from other states included:
- Woodleigh School, Victoria
- Broome Senior High School, Western Australia
- O’Connor Catholic College, New South Wales
- Coffs Harbour Christian Community School
- John Forrest Secondary College (Bush Ranger Cadets), Western Australia