Competition sheds light on agricultural science

School students around the country will be learning some important lessons on photosynthesis with this year’s Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition theme – No light…no life!

Now in its nineteenth year, the Queensland 2015 Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) competition aims to stimulate an interest in agriculture and science in young Australians.

DAF competition organiser Kerrie Rubie said the competition was a great learning venture for students of all ages.

“The competition allows the opportunity for students from years prep to 12 to undertake a series of hands-on experiments in the classroom to learn more about plant and agricultural science,” Ms Rubie said.

“The main goal of the competition is to express to students that science is a great, long-term, rewarding career choice.

“The competition helps encourage the creative and uninhibited minds of young people to explore the wonderful world of science.”

This year, Ms Rubie said students would be having fun with photosynthesis by growing and performing experiments on various crop and vegetable plants.

“Participating students will be able to see for themselves how plants defy gravity in their search for light and react to different light wavelengths,” she said.

“This year’s theme will also help students understand that everything we eat comes from plants and teach them the valuable lesson that, with no light, there’s no life.

“The competition’s activities link to the Australian school curriculum, making it easy for teachers to incorporate into their students learning program.”

Ms Rubie said the competition was for everyone as students with artistic flair could enter the Art in AgRiculTure Awards section of the competition.

“Students can enter a 3D model, drawing or landscape photograph depicting plants with bright, colourful leaves catching sunlight,” she said.

“Some competition artwork will also be showcased at the Warwick ‘Jumpers and Jazz in July’ festival.”

The competition boasts some great prizes including $1000 towards resources for tertiary education, a 12 month subscription to a science journal worth $500, a $250 gift voucher to purchase educational/scientific materials, a TASTE (rural camp) Scholarship valued at $495, a cheque prize valued at $150 plus a range of medallions, trophies, science/educational prizes, art materials and certificates.

Prizes are awarded at the annual Awards Day held at Hermitage Research Facility in August.

Winners may also be eligible to enter their photosynthesis project in their relevant state Science Teachers Association Science Contests and the national BHP Billiton Science Awards.

The 2015 competition is proudly sponsored by:
• ARC Centre of Excellence for Translational Photosynthesis
• Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC)
• Paul Johnston Memorial Trust
• The University of Queensland
• Education Queensland
• Pioneer Seeds
• Grains Research Foundation Ltd
• Emerald Agricultural College and Longreach Pastoral College (QATC)
• Warwick Art Gallery
• Ag Institute of Australia
• Susan Cruickshank Tutoring
• Blue Ribbon Seed and Pulse Exporters
• NuSeed
• The Crawford Fund
• Selected Seeds
• Professor and Mrs Joe Baker
• John and Chris Purdie
• Terranova Seeds

Entries for the 2015 DAF Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition close on Friday, June 26 and you can register your interest in participating at any time.

For more information, visit DAF at or phone the Customer Service Centre on 13 25 23.

DAF can be followed on Facebook Queensland Agriculture and Twitter @QldAgriculture.

Posted 19 March 2015