Students reap rewards from studying fruit and veggies

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries and Minister for Rural Communities The Honourable Mark Furner

School students from across Queensland were today presented with a range of awards as part of a national science competition celebrating the International Year of Fruit and Vegetables.

Themed ‘Grow it, taste it, don’t waste it!’, the competition attracted more than 3,600 Prep to Year 12 students from 130 schools nationwide. The students took up the challenge to discover the role science and agriculture play in the sustainable production of nutritious and healthy food for people throughout the world.

Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner congratulated prize-winning students from nine Queensland schools in a virtual awards ceremony for the State Government’s annual Hermitage Schools Plant Science Competition.

“The impressive science and art entries in this year’s competition give us great hope for the future of science and agriculture”, Minister Furner said.

“It’s great to see young scientists applying themselves to learn about plant science and food technology and how this applies to developing better and tastier fresh produce that we enjoy as part of a healthy diet.”

Students also researched issues such as global food wastage and explored new ideas—such as anaerobic digesters and vertical farming—to help reduce food losses and wastage throughout the paddock to plate process.

Major individual science award prize winners are:

Paul Johnston Memorial Senior Science Award (years 10-12) Michelle Springolo, Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba

Conference Awards (years 10-12) Jeslyn Federico and Jessica Cuanico, Chinchilla Christian College Adrian Coleman, Glasshouse Christian College

UQ FEAST Scholarships (years 10-12) Cameron Colless, Atherton State High School Adrian Coleman, Glasshouse Christian College Dayna Linton, Home Hill State High School

Crawford Fund International Agricultural Science Award Years 10-12: Michelle Springolo, Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba Years 7-9: Thomas Johnson, Faith Christian School of Distance Education, Rockhampton Years 3-6: Year 3/4W, Rockhampton Grammar School Years P-2: Year P-1, Pilton State School

QUT Most Outstanding Poster Awards (years 10-12) Ebony King, Glasshouse Christian College

Ag Institute of Australia Junior Science Achievement Award (years 7-9) Thomas Johnson, Faith Christian School of Distance Education, Rockhampton

Joe Baker Outstanding Achievement Awards

Years 3-6: May Turkington, Pilton State School, Darling Downs

Years P-2: Jesse Campbell, Pilton State School, Darling Downs

The competition’s Art in Agriculture section linked to the National Science Week theme for students ‘Food: Different by Design”, which saw students create a superhero character to help promote a new ‘super’ fruit or vegetable developed in a science lab.

Students from Pilton State School on the Darling Downs took out the top art prize of ‘Most Outstanding School’ and secured numerous individual awards with their fantastic fruit and veg superhero creations.

A third component of the competition involved students from across the globe partaking in a citizen science, biosecurity-themed adventure about the environment and the animals and organisms that invade plants.

The 2021 ‘Pest Invaders’ BioQuest attracted 33 teams with 2,492 sightings, 4,227 identifications and 595 species mapped, via a mobile gaming app. Students from across Australia and even a team from the USA were among the prize winners.

Mr Furner thanked the competition’s supporters including gold sponsors the Plant Biosecurity Science Foundation and the Grains Research and Development Corporation, and silver sponsors the Paul Johnston Memorial Trust, The Crawford Fund and the University of Queensland.

The following Queensland schools won individual and class science and art prizes:

  • Centenary Heights State High School, Toowoomba
  • Glasshouse Christian College, Sunshine Coast
  • Chinchilla Christian College
  • Mareeba State High School
  • Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba
  • Atherton State High School
  • Home Hill State High School
  • Highfields State Secondary College, Toowoomba
  • Bowen State High School
  • Fairholme College, Toowoomba
  • Faith Christian School of Distance Education
  • Narangba Valley State High School
  • Pimlico State High School
  • Brigidine College Indooroopilly
  • Rockhampton Grammar School
  • Pilton State School
  • Mareeba State School
  • Cambooya State School
  • Cecil Plains State School
  • Minimbah State School
  • Trinity Bay State High School
  • St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Brisbane
  • Gilhooly Homeschool, Brisbane

Other prize winners included:

  • St Gregory’s College, New South Wales
  • Coffs Harbour Christian Community School
  • John Forrest Secondary College (Bush Ranger Cadets), Western Australia
  • Frederick Irwin Anglican School (Halls Head), Western Australia
  • Merri Creek Primary School, Victoria
  • Forsyth County (Sharon Forks Library), Georgia, USA

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