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Nathan Kuehne medals at the Canada-Wide Science Fair

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Asked recently of his impressive silver medal at the Canada-Wide Science Fair, GNS’s Nathan Kuehne characterized his achievement in this way: “I just followed where there wasn’t anything known.” Most impressive was that this was Nathan’s first-ever Science Fair project. Nathan just returned from Lethbridge, where he and Ms. Erin Dallin—his Grade 9 science teacher—spent the week at the CWSF. His project focused upon ‘Biochar Optimization for Plant Growth’, which determined just how much charcoal one should mix into the soil when growing plants. Each province and territory in Canada sends finalists representative of their population. In total, there were 481 finalists—all representing the top science projects in the country. Nathan was one of seven finalists representing the Lower Island (there were 73, overall, from BC). The projects are grouped by Junior, Intermediate, and Senior categories—all based upon grade. ”What’s impressive about Nathan’s achievement,” said Ms. Dallin, “is that this was his first time at the CWSF. Winning a medal as a first-time finalist is an amazing achievement! I hope that this has lit a fire in him to continue with science fair work, as he is very talented.” It seems that will be the case, as Nathan said, “I want to do more science projects; there is so much potential. There are so many unknowns in science that one can put an effort into solving.” Nathan said he particularly enjoyed the presentation and judging aspect of the experience. He was amused by the fact that each judge would, typically, announce who they were and what they did professionally before he was even able to present. “But that was an opportunity for me to tailor my presentation according to their specific areas of interest,” said our very astute Grade 9 scientist. Ms. Dallin echoed this by saying that “To be clear: there were a huge number of great projects there [the eventual winner had a project attempting to find the cure for cancer by using nanoparticles], but it all comes down to the presentation. Nathan did a superb job throughout.” Nathan hopes to—one day—pursue engineering with a focus in aerospace or astrophysics, but for now he is a proud and happy Grade 9 boy who has just enjoyed a tremendous experience. ”Mentoring Nathan throughout this process and seeing the look on his face when he won the silver medal…those are moments I will never forget,” said Ms. Dallin. “A big thanks goes out to all of our sponsors of the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair, and in particular to GNS for supporting Nathan and me. I…we can’t wait to do this again!”