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Canada's Top Student Science Award E-mail
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Wednesday, 20 June 2007
Canada's Top Student Science Award



Calgary, Canada

A breakthrough project targeting stem cells in adults that account for the recurrence of cancer won the EnCana Best in Fair and the EnCana Platinum for Best Senior project at the 46th Canada-Wide Science Fair. Emily Cooley, an 18-year-old grade 12 student from Queen Elizabeth Junior Senior High School in Calgary, won the prestigious award which comes with a $10,000 cash award.

The fair, a national competition bringing together Canada's most promising scientific talent, wrapped up Saturday in Truro, Nova Scotia. EnCana Corporation is a major supporter of science fairs in Canada.

While the EnCana Best in Fair went to a technologically sophisticated, lab-based project, the other two top awards were awarded to projects that bypassed technological solutions for more nature-based approaches.

Josh Segeren's experiment on soybean seeds took the EnCana Platinum for Best Intermediate project. The 15-year-old, Grade 9 native of Chatham, Ontario demonstrated that simply maintaining sufficient moisture levels in soybeans allows them to resist hydration and chilling damage - and significantly increase crop yield. Segeren's work suggests that current high-tech methods of storing seeds could be replaced by low-cost approaches that simply regulate they be stored at standardized moisture levels.

Rounding out the top award was Ben Underwood, who won the EnCana Platinum for Best Junior project. Twelve-year-old Ben, a Grade 7 student in Wingham, Ontario, studied the current renaissance in no-till farming and demonstrated that cattle manure attracts increased populations of earthworms, which are vital to the effectiveness of this agricultural approach. No-till farming replaces conventional methods: new crops are planted over old stocks and relies on the natural action of earthworms to cultivate and till the soil, as well as preventing the run-off of manure.

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