Schools plant science competition

16 Aug 2017

Queensland and New South Wales students converged on Warwick for the results of the 2017 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition.

Hermitage Centre Leader and UQ Principal Research Fellow, Dr Andrew Borrell, said this year’s competition theme was ‘The dirt on soils’, focussing on the value of this natural resource and the importance of healthy soils in producing healthy plants that provide our food and fibre.

"This competition promotes rewarding and exciting careers in science and agriculture industries,” Dr Borrell said.

“National interest continues to grow each year, with more than 175 schools registered this year, including around 200 science and art entries.

“Students were asked to perform a series of experiments and activities that show how our food system depends on a healthy ecosystem.”

Entries this year focused on experimenting with different soil types in growing healthy plants; researching the global importance of soils for food security; acting out the role of soil organisms in a card game; building soils mind maps, dioramas and food webs; and depicting what ‘future agriculture’ will look like in an art activity.

Dr Borrell said the high-quality entries have come from near and far and there was particular interest in learning about soil health.

Costa Georgiadis, host of ABC’s Gardening Australia and Professor Neal Menzies, Head of UQ’s School of Agriculture and Food Sciences were amongst the special guests and supporters who presented awards to prize winners.

Prizes include education scholarships, gift vouchers, trophies, science equipment, books, gardening materials and grants to attend the 2017 TropAg Conference in Brisbane in November.

Click here to see more from the day.