Ohio University

Middle school students shine at OHIO’s virtual science fair, showcase local watershed research

Published: June 24, 2020 Author: Staff reports

Three area middle school students won Ohio University’s Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs Watershed Science Award at the 2020 virtual Ohio Academy of Science District 12 Science Day. The event drew 55 entries from students in grades 5 through 12 in Athens, Hocking, Jackson, Meigs, Morgan, Ross and Vinton counties.

OHIO Appalachian Watershed Research Group selected the winning projects that addressed local watershed research. Each of the winners received a certificate, medal and $100 gift card. The award was funded by the Voinovich School and a grant from American Electric Power Foundation to introduce middle and high school students to Ohio University’s science and watershed research.

“The award recognizes the hard work each student put in their project and reinforces learning with the help of a monetary award, which will encourage future projects in environmental science and water,” Jen Bowman, director of environmental programs at the Voinovich School and a lead member on the Appalachian Watershed Research Group, said.

The awards were presented to:

  • Miles Makosky of Athens Middle School, whose project, “The Effect of AMD on Plant Life,” researched how plants grown in acid mine drainage had altered growth compared to plants grown with clean water, high pH water and low pH water.
Watershed Science Fair Miles
  • Reiley Whittington, a student from Zane Trace Middle School, tested the safety and cleanliness of various drinking water sources such as bottled, tap and well for her project, “Safe Water.” This is Whittington’s second year winning this award.
Watershed Science Fair Reiley
  • Emerson Crowl from Athens Middle School investigated the rate of degradation of compostable materials that can be used for take-out food. The project, “The Biodegradation Race,” aimed to find a solution for trash.
Watershed Science Fair Emerson

Amid coronavirus concerns, this year’s science fair was held online. Students had the first half of April to record and upload videos and photos of their project. Selected students with superior ratings at the district fair were invited to compete at the Ohio Academy of Science’s State Science Fair, which was held virtually at the end of May.

“Science fairs are important because they foster a sense of curiosity for learning and knowing how things work,” Natalie Kruse, associate professor and director of the Environmental Studies program, said. “I’m glad we were still able to hold the fair this year to continue fostering the same.”

For more information, visit ohio.edu/scifair and watersheddata.com.