Young scientist wins trip to Ottawa

A Pender Island student has won a trip to Ottawa to take part in the Canada-Wide Science Fair after placing fourth in the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair on April 9.

Lauren Ohnona, a Grade 8 student, was one of 14 prize winners from Pender Island. Students were invited to attend the event in Victoria after the Pender school science fair was held in March. Steve Dunsmuir, a teacher at Pender Islands School, also won the Science Educators Award at the event for his support of the students.

Dunsmuir started the science fair three years ago on Pender and it has grown each year since.

The students from Pender focused on the environment for their projects, studying light pollution, air pressure, green roofs, e-waste, recycling and agriculture.

“We tried to focus a lot on environmental issues that are real world issues. That tends to be what does well at the regionals and what moves on to the nationals,” said Dunsmuir. “They want the kids involved in solving real problems instead of just copying what their parents did or finding something on the internet.”

This was Ohnona’s second year participating in the science fair. She has studied micro-plastics for the last two years. Her first work was on how micro-plastics enter wastewater through laundry and how the laundry can introduce the plastics into the ecosystem. This year, she went on to study the amount of micro-plastics in clams found on Pender beaches. Her work was named fourth overall for the entire fair and she has received a free trip to Ottawa to take part in the Canada-Wide science fair in May.

For more on this story, see the April 18, 2018 issue of the Gulf Islands Driftwood newspaper, or subscribe online.

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