Queensland school students have won a host of major awards in a national science competition to celebrate the International Year of Plant Health.

Department of Agriculture and Fisheries’ Competition Coordinator Kerrie Rubie congratulated students from nine Queensland schools who won prizes in the Queensland Government’s annual Hermitage Schools Plant Science Competition.

More than 1800 Prep to Year 12 students from 100 schools across Australia took up the challenge to uncover why plant health is the key to the survival of life on Earth.

“The high quality of science and art entries in this year’s competition shows that the future of science and agriculture is in good hands,” Ms Rubie said.

“The students showed great interest learning about the importance of plant health in an agricultural setting.

“I commend Queensland students who shone in the 24th annual competition which promotes careers in science and agriculture.”

The major prize winners from Queensland schools were:

Senior Science Award (Years 10-12)
Michelle Springolo, Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba

Junior Science Achievement Award (Years 7-9)
Thomas Johnson, Faith Christian School of Distance Education, Rockhampton

Outstanding Achievement Award (Years Prep-6)
Ezra Johnston, Faith Christian School of Distance Education, Gailes
Liam Brockhurst, St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Brisbane

As part of the competition, students had to research three constraints to the plant health of a field crop in a developing country, with plant and ocean health the focus of the Art in Agriculture section.

Students from across the globe took part in a fun, citizen science adventure to open their eyes about the environment and the animals and organisms that invade plants.

The 2020 ‘Pest Invaders’ BioQuest attracted 20 teams with 3,850 sightings, 3,413 identifications and 694 species mapped, via a mobile gaming app.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries thanked the competition’s supporters including major sponsors the Plant Biosecurity Science Foundation, Grains Research and Development Corporation, QuestaGame and associate sponsor the University of Queensland, the Paul Johnston Memorial Trust and The Crawford Fund.

The following Queensland schools won major science and art prizes:

  • Glasshouse Christian College, Sunshine Coast
  • Centenary Heights State High School, Toowoomba
  • Groves Christian College of Distance Education, Toowoomba
  • Faith Christian School of Distance Education
  • Bowen State High School
  • Scots PGC College, Warwick
  • Kurwongbah State School
  • St Joseph’s Catholic Primary School, Brisbane
  • Gilhooly Homeschool, Brisbane

Prize winners from other States included:

  • O’Connor Catholic College and Wagga Wagga Public School, New South Wales
  • Good Shepherd College and Timboon P-12 School, Victoria
  • Millicent High School and Renmark North Primary School, South Australia
  • Driver Primary School, Northern Territory

For more information about the competition and the full list of winners, visit www.daf.qld.gov.au/hermitage-competition or call 13 25 23.


Acknowledgement: this article was reproduced from a media release by the Queensland Government Department of Agriculture and Fisheries.