CASTLEGAR — The West Kootenay & Boundary Regional Science Fair gives the top young scientific minds in our communities a chance to showcase their scientific research, innovation and experimentation while participating in a celebration of science.
There are more than 100 youth from four school districts participating in this year’s science fair and over the past few weeks, West Kootenay Science Fair Committee Co-chair Ann McDonnell has been visiting schools to assess the projects students are vying to enter into the regional competition.
“Students have done some amazing projects this year,” says McDonnell. “Encouraging students to discover the magic of science can deliver some incredible results.”
McDonnell has seen her fair share of science projects in her 28 years as a teacher in Nelson, over 25 years of which she was connected to the West Kootenay Science Fair.
“Science fair fits every criteria of learnin — fully,” she says. “Kids have a real passion for finding things out. Completing an independent study that invites them to explore their creativity in answering a science-based question is instrumental. Science fair project work provides an opportunity to extend science beyond the classroom and to take an in-depth look at topics that are of interest to them personally.”
The regional science fair will be held at Selkirk College’s Castlegar Campus on April 14 as an opportunity for select students to showcase their exemplary work. “On the day of the event, that excitement grows tenfold,” says McDonnell. “Youth fill the venue, their science projects in tow, and find themselves surrounded by like-minded peers. They feel appreciated and supported in their interests and that builds pride and a sense of reinforcement in their pursuits.”
Further adding to the excitement of the event this year is Science World returning to the region for the first time since 2012. Making rural outreach part of their mandate in 2015/16, Science World brings their Community Science Celebration around the province.
“The focus of Community Science Celebrations is on the positive impact that science, technology and innovation have on a region’s economy, and Science World aims to foster relationships with community organizations and to build community capacity for ongoing science-related activities,” says Science World Director of Community Outreach Jo-Ann Coggan. “We aim to expose STEAM subjects [science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics] for what they really are—creative, imaginative, fun, and crucial for our science and technological challenges of the future.”
Fun and entertaining science experiments, displays and demos and science experts on the scene will make this a fun event for the entire family. Science World will be taking to the main stage for shows at 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Selkirk College is delighted to be on board for this year’s event. Eager to connect with young people passionate about the sciences, instructors from programs like Engineering, Math, Chemistry and Geology will be on hand to share their experiences working in the sciences while engaging in hands-on activities from their discipline. Matt Martin, Selkirk College recruiter and GLOWs coordinator, has been busy working on this year’s regional science fair. While doing so he reminisced about winning a science fair gold medal for his taste bud project. “Truthfully, I won gold because I was matched up with an ideal partner,” he says. “But the greater experience of attending that science fair has stuck with me. I was wide-eyed and full of questions and this instilled in me the value of always asking them.”
Learn more about the West Kootenay & Boundary Regional Science Fair at selkirk.ca/science-fair