Cameron Dundas, Kass Reece, Sebastian Bolton, Justin Clifton, Floyd Dundas, Alexa Bolton and Sami Pardy, are seven students from Hartley Bay who recently experienced the full impact of science and exploration. While breaking out of their comfort zones at the Pacific Northwest Regional Science Fair, these students discovered much more than the fair itself. “We believe that it is very important for our students to have a chance to socialize and learn outside of the village”, says teacher Ryan Saunders.
The community travels mostly by ferry, however, it is only in service twice a week and the schedule did not coincide with the Fair. Fortunately, the students were able to make the 3-4 hour trip using a boat owned by the Band to make their way to the event. However, this involved some difficulty as the travel schedule had to be altered to avoid rain. Instead of returning home on Sunday the group needed to wait until Monday to return.
The topics of their projects ranged from shellfish stress tests - something judges haven’t seen in 25 years of judging- to sleep deprivation and toxin growth in clam beds. All of the students focused on issues that impact their community directly. After their teacher suggested the science fair, some found a new love for science, while others who previously struggled in school excelled.
Despite being the students’ first time at an out-of-school fair, they all placed impressively with Bronze medals. Several won additional awards. Cameron and Kass won the Engineers and Geoscientists of BC Award and Women in Engineering and Geosciences Award and Alexa and Sami won a Bulkley Valley Research Centre Special Effort Award.
This new enthusiasm for education and science motivated them to come to the fair, and although they may have been shy at first, they interacted, presented and participated well. “They’re just beginning on their path to learning about science—but they’ve made big strides already”, says Karen Price, who judged all three projects. The Youth Science Canada community is excited that the Hartley Bay students plan to return next year and build on their experiences! We look forward to seeing what creative projects they develop in the future.
Photo credit: Gareth Millroy | The Northern View