Students’ winning ideas clean up watershed and prizes

St. Augustine School science students take stewardship and preservation seriously.

St. Augustine School science students take stewardship and preservation seriously.

Students participated in Agrium’s central Alberta Caring For Our Watersheds (CFOW) program, a proposal writing contest for students in grades 7 to12 that asks students to answer the question, “What can you do to improve your watershed?”

“Your school did excellent in our Caring For Our Watersheds program,” program co-ordinator Erin Murphy-Thompson told St. Augustine School students recently.

Either individually or as a team, students were to research their local watershed, identify an environmental concern and come up with a realistic solution. Students competed for $6,500 cash rewards and participating schools were eligible for $11,500 cash rewards.

“There is funding to actually make these ideas happen,” Murphy-Thompson said. “You had one of the most entries of any school and you definitely had the most fun with them of any school that entered this year.”

Proud teacher Daniella Perillat said St. Augustine placed 14 students in the top 20 places overall, with high school students sweeping the top five placings.

Perillat said students submitted proposals of approximately 1,000 words describing their solution. More than 100 submissions were received from more than 200 central Alberta students. From these entries, finalists were chosen in two categories: grades 7 to 9 and grades 10 to12.

“It was a pretty tough competition,” Murphy-Thompson said. “I encourage you to compete again next year and refine your ideas or come up with new ones.

“You were one of the most competitive schools we’ve ever seen.”

Finalists were asked to prepare a five-minute presentation for the verbal competition that took place on June 5. Twenty groups presented their creative solutions for a panel of judges, as well as parents, peers, and supporters of the Caring For Our Watersheds program. The cumulative score from the written and verbal proposals was used to determine a winner.

Ponoka students earned cash prices for themselves and their prizes were matched by Agrium and donated to the school.

“We have that amount in our science budget,” Perillat said. “It ends up being $4,250.

“The plan is to do some field trips in the fall with that money.”