Schools competition inspires pulse interest

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Image of Joel Johnson and Stephanie Ferris

The winners of the 2016 Hermitage Schools Plant Science Competition, Joel Johnson and Stephanie Ferris.

PHOTO: Liz Wells

Queensland high-school students Joel Johnson and Stephanie Ferris were winner and runner-up respectively in the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries Food 2016 Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition.

Joel and Stephanie’s submissions to the Plant Science Project Awards category were selected from 250 entries invited from schools across Australia. Their achievement secured them a grant to attend the 2016 Australian Pulse Conference. The pair were presented with their awards during the conference dinner in Tamworth. Joel and Stephanie were also invited to give a poster presentation, explaining their pulse project entry, during a lunchtime session at the conference.

Joel lives in Mount Morgan, near Rockhampton, and is a Year 12 student at Faith Christian School of Distance Education, while Stephanie is a Year 10 student at Glasshouse Christian College at Beerwah, north of Brisbane.

“It was my ag science teacher who got us thinking about entering the competition, and we’ve learnt so much,” Stephanie said.

The competition is now in its 20th year. It was themed ‘My Pulse Rules!’ to align with the 2016 International Year of Pulses.

Individual entrants were required to conduct a pulse planting experiment and write up the results, as well as design a poster explaining the benefits of growing pulse crops.

Entrants also had to make a card or board game with a pulse theme, map the location of pulse end-products in a local supermarket, or create a pulse dish and film it being cooked.

The Art4Agriculture Award allowed students to work together to create a mandala made of pulses. This award was given to the school with the most outstanding art entries overall and was won by Freestone State School, near Warwick, Queensland.

The competition is an initiative of the Queensland DAF; its sponsors include the GRDC.


Honour for precision agriculture researcher


Crop Camp for real-world agriculture

GRDC Project Code PYA00002

Region North