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Schools plant science competition winners announced

News release | 15-Aug-2017

Queensland and New South Wales students converged in Warwick today 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.

Major science and art prizes were won by the following Queensland schools:

  • Calvary Christian College
  • Centenary Heights State High School
  • Glasshouse Christian College
  • Faith Christian School of Distance Education
  • Clifton State High School
  • Groves Christian College of Distance Education
  • Kenmore State High School
  • Windaroo Valley State High School
  • St Aidan’s Anglican School
  • Millchester State School
  • Grand Avenue State School
  • Pullenvale State School
  • Warwick Central State School
  • Kurwongbah State School
  • Pilton State School
  • Biddeston State School
  • Cecil Plains State School
  • Calliope State School
  • Lockyer District State High School
Chevalier College in New South Wales and Westbourne Grammar School in Victoria were also prize winners.

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.

The 2017 competition was proudly supported by:

  • Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
  • Advance Queensland Initiative, Queensland Government
  • Grains Research & Development Corporation
  • Emerald Agricultural College and Longreach Pastoral College
  • Paul Johnston Memorial Trust
  • The University of Queensland
  • Pioneer Seeds
  • Grains Research Foundation Ltd
  • Warwick Art Gallery
  • Susan Cruickshank Tutoring
  • Ag Institute of Australia
  • Blue Ribbon Seed and Pulse Exporters
  • NuSeed
  • The Crawford Fund
  • Selected Seeds
  • Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia Primezone
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Professor and Mrs Joe Baker
  • John and Chris Purdie
For details of all the winners, contact the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries on 13 25 23 or visit daf.qld.gov.au/hermitage-competition

Media contact: Samantha Allen (07) 3087 8567, Andrea Corby (07) 3330 4551 (Wednesday)