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Cape Breton participants praise Canada-Wide Science Fair experience


MABOU, N.S. — The love of science must be a genetic trait in the Munro household. 

Sisters Elise, 13, and Nila, 17, were both chosen to compete in the 2022 Canada-Wide Science Fair, held virtually from May 16-20 from host city Fredericton.

Hosted by the University of New Brunswick, the Canada-Wide Science Fair usually involves campus tours and science-themed events for hundreds of participants. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the national science fair kept a virtual format for presenting and other events. 

It was the second year Nila was chosen to compete and the first for Elise, who took home a bronze excellence award for her project Lymeon: A Novel Way To Test Lyme Disease in Minutes.

Two Cape Breton students qualify for prestigious award

Bronze win

Grade 7 student Elise, who attends Dalbrae Academy in Mabou, found inspiration for the project while hiking with her family. Elise said she was thinking about the higher number of ticks she’d seen on their lawn and on her rabbit. 

“My pet rabbit came in one day with over 50 ticks on her,” said Elise, of West Mabou. “I know about Lyme disease…it can be horrible.” 

To develop her idea, Elise has to learn how to code and did so in about a month and although she didn’t get to test it in time for the science fair, hopes to in the future. 

“I really liked (doing the project) because it was a way of my ideas to work and try them out,” said Elise, who hopes to make it to the Canada-Wide Science Fair in the future.

Nila’s project was entered into the senior division. It looked at weather temperatures and how it affects the number of mice inside homes, an idea triggered by seeing an increased number of the rodents around their West Mabou home. 

Inspiring experience

While the project didn’t garner Nila an award, there wasn’t any disappointment because of how much she enjoyed the experience. 

“I found it pretty incredible, like last year,” said the Grade 11 Bayview Education Centre student. 

“When I did science fair before, I always did it as a fun, side thing to do. I didn’t really aim to win. Then I went to Canada-Wide last year and you realize all of the potential a science fair has. You see kids and science’s ability to help people and solve problems. 

There were 371 students competing in the 2022 Canada-Wide Science Fair in three levels: junior (Grades 7-8), intermediate (Grades 9-10) and senior (Grades 11-12). 

The top 10 people in each division receive gold awards, the next 20 receive silver and the following 30 are bronze winners. 

Elise was the only student in Cape Breton to win a Canada-Wide Science Fair medal this year. However, she wasn’t the only Strait Regional Centre for Education student to take home bronze. 

Isla Corkum stands with the display for her science project, What Light is Right. The Grade 8 student won a bronze medal for the project at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May. CONTRIBUTEDIsla Corkum stands with the display for her science project, What Light is Right. The Grade 8 student won a bronze medal for the project at the Canada-Wide Science Fair in May. CONTRIBUTED


Antigonish winner

St. Andrew Junior High School Grade 8 student Isla Corkum won a bronze medal for her project called What Light is Right.

Wanting to determine which light would be best for growing, Corkum used three different lights and three bean plants for her experiment. 

For the most consistent plant growth, Corkum’s experiment indicated the best light was a 5,000-watt kelvin light bulb — which is the closest to direct sunlight. 

“I’ve been getting so many articles on my phone and reading so many articles about rising food costs, food insecurity, Canada’s short growing season and food being recalled due to outbreaks of viruses,” Corkum said. 

“I thought to myself, ‘wouldn’t it be easier to just grow vegetables at home?’ My mind just kept branching off into more questions: What plants would be best to grow indoors? Would it be best to grow indoors? What light colour or conditions would grow the best plants?” 

It was the first time Corkum participated in the Canada-Wide Science Fair and she hopes it’s not her last. 

“It was honestly amazing. I was a little disappointed it was virtual and I didn’t get to go to Fredericton,” she said. 

“But they did an amazing job … (bringing everything) that would happen in person online. It was an amazing experience.” 

Nicole Sullivan is an immigration/diversity and education reporter for the Cape Breton Post. 

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