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SAEON rewards top environmental monitoring projects at science fair

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SAEON’s Sibongile Mokoena (left) with Michaela Steele, a Grade 7 learner from Egerton Primary School, who won a SAEON Special Award for her project Acid Mine Drainage - There is a solution.

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Aletia Basson, a Grade 8 learner from Vanrhynsdorp High School won the SAEON Award for her project entitled Sand mines: The impact on the Troe Troe River.

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Lee-Ann Cloete and Mischa Carsten, Grade 11 learners from Diazville Secondary School in Stellenbosch won a SAEON Special Award for their project Ants: Our neighbours.

By Sibongile Mokoena, Education Outreach Coordinator, SAEON

 

The SAEON Special Awards for Best Project in Environmental Monitoring were prominent at the 2012 national finals of the Eskom Expo for Young Scientists. The Expo was held at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre in Boksburg in October.

For over thirty years, the Eskom Expo - which is endorsed by the Department of Science and Technology - has provided a platform for learners to share their bright ideas with peers and judges. The projects are assessed according to internationally accepted ethics and standards.

The standard of entries into the Expo was high. The projects covered a wide variety of topics with great depth, demonstrating scientific knowledge and skills. This year saw 566 projects on display, with 69 gold, 156 silver and 202 bronze medals awarded to the top projects.

SAEON Special Awards

This year’s SAEON awards consisted of a pair of binoculars, a framed certificate and a book, Observing Environmental Change in South Africa.

The SAEON Award in the junior category went to Michaela Steele, a Grade 7 learner from Egerton Primary School in Northern KwaZulu-Natal for her project Acid Mine Drainage - There is a solution. Michaela ran trials to demonstrate that through the method of electrocoagulation, combined with precipitation and sand filtration it is possible to convert Acid Mine Drainage polluted water to potable water. Michaela received at least two other special awards from other organisations for her project.

Aletia Basson, a Grade 8 learner from Vanrhynsdorp High School won the SAEON Award for her project entitled Sand mines: The impact on the Troe Troe River. She investigated the environmental damage to the Troe Troe River as a result of sand mining. Her argument was balanced because she acknowledged that sand mining is the economic backbone of the little town of Vanrhynsdorp, however the negative impact the mining has on the environment is irreversible.

Lee-Ann Cloete and Mischa Carsten, Grade 11 learners from Diazville Secondary School in Stellenbosch won a SAEON Special Award for their project Ants: Our neighbours. Their work formed part of the Iimbovane Project, an ants monitoring project, which is a science education outreach programme of the Centre for Invasive Biology, an NRF Centre of Excellence based at Stellenbosch University.

Congratulations to all the SAEON Special Award winners. SAEON is proud to be associated with this prestigious event and as always, it is rewarding to see the joy in the faces of the winners when they receive the awards.

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