Date: April 08, 2011
Regional Science Fair Celebrates Its 50th Year
Can plants grown in buildings save lives in Haiti? Is there life on Jupiter’s moons? “Dude…is your cell phone frying your brain?” These are some of the many questions being asked this weekend by approximately 150 Vancouver Island school children from Grades 4 through 12 who will converge on the University of Victoria to show off inventions and unveil their scientific discoveries.
The annual Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair (VIRSF), now in its 50th year, is organized by the Society for the Advancement of Young Scientists (SAYS), a volunteer non-profit group. VIRSF chairperson Dr. Roswitha (“Rossi”) Marx of UVic’s Department of Biology helps coordinate the annual event with assistance from SAYS colleagues and other UVic faculty.
“I love the whole process of science fairs,” says Dr. Randy Enkin, president of SAYS. “Ordinary kids look around and notice something that needs an answer, they develop the tools to try to arrive at an answer, and then they design artistic ways to display their work. They learn, and they get a chance to experience how science and technology really advance. And then we hand out amazing prizes.”
VIRSF is one of 12 founding regional science fairs in Canada. UVic has played host to the fair since 1976, the year that the university hosted the Canada Wide Science Fair.
“These students are our future scientists,” says Marx. “They’ll be researchers, and teachers and physicians, and we want to give them every opportunity to engage in science and have fun doing it. The long-term commitment from UVic emphasizes the importance of exposing science at very early stages.”
This year is not only a VIRSF milestone, but is also the Year of Science in BC. In September 2010, the provincial government proclaimed the 2010-2011 school year as the Year of Science. More info: www.yearofsciencebc.ca
On Sunday, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development Ida Chong, MLA, Oak Bay-Gordon Head, will visit the fair starting at 2:30 p.m. to view the projects and speak with the students.
On Monday, up to seven VIRSF projects will qualify to compete at the nation-wide science fair in Toronto from May 14 to 21, 2011. This weekend’s fair is open to the public (donations are always welcome) during specific viewing hours.
“Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair”
Sunday, April 10, with public viewing from noon to 3:30 p.m.
Monday, April 11, with public viewing from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
UVic Elliott Lecture Wing (both floors, some classrooms)
Awards ceremony will take place Mon., April 11 from 1:30 to 3 p.m.
UVic MacLaurin building, room A144
Parking info and maps are available at www.uvic.ca/visitors/explore/maps/
Travel Green: UVic is accessible by many modes of sustainable transportation including regional transit, cycling, walking and taxi. For those who choose to drive, pay parking is in effect including an evening rate of $2. Parking info and maps are available at www.uvic.ca/maps.
Media advisory: Some parents have requested that photos not be taken of their children. Please observe the on-site signage or check with officials listed below for details.
Dr. Roswitha Marx (2011 VIRSF Chair, UVic Biology) by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 250-472-4047 for on-site officials’ phone (during the event)
Dr. Randy Enkin (SAYS President) by cell at 250-588-4904 or RandyEnkinScienceFair@gmail.com
Tara Sharpe (UVic Communications) at 250-721-6248 or email@example.com
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