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Water warrior . . . St Joseph's School Timaru year 8 pupil Louisa Stuart (12) spent time looking at the best container in which to distil saltwater for her science fair project

by Greta Yeoman

South Canterbury will demonstrate their skills at the Sanford Science and Technology Fair this week.

The top projects from each school are selected for the regional competition, which begins on Tuesday.

Those selected will set up their displays on Tuesday, before judging commences on Wednesday.

The science fair is for school pupils in years 7-13, and open to both teams and individuals.

Among those bound for the event next week were four St Joseph’s Timaru pupils who talked to The Courier last week.

Year 8 pupil Sam Fauth had been figuring out whether native plants were the best way of stopping nitrates from fertilisers getting into rivers around the country.

Science smart St Joseph’s School Timaru pupil Sam Fauth (12) shows off his science fair project about testing a variety of natural resources to stop nitrates getting into waterways. PHOTOS: GRETA YEOMAN

He tested sand, dirt, native plants and grass in the process and found while plants worked well, sand was actually the best at absorbing nitrates.

His dad, who is a scientist at Fonterra, gave him the nitrate testing sticks; otherwise he did the rest of the project himself.

He was inspired to take on the project after hearing a lot about runoff into rivers in the news.

“Political people are talking lots about it.”

Meanwhile, schoolmate Louisa Stuart had been taking on another environmental issue – the decreasing amount of fresh water around the globe.

She had been testing what colour container worked the best for distilling salt water into freshwater, which would create more drinkable water around the world.

She said the water would evaporate inside the container but when it hit the lid of the container it would drip down as fresh water, enabling people around the world to use salt water distillation as their water source.

Teaming up . . . St Joseph’s School Timaru year 7 pupils Thomas Lysaght (left) and Carter West (both 12) researched lead levels in Timaru soils for their science fair project.

“Fresh water is running out.”

Alongside the fresh water and nitrates projects, two other St Joseph’s pupils had been looking at lead levels in several sites around Timaru.

Year 7 pupils Thomas Lysaght and Carter West had tested soil in Spring Rd, Caroline Bay, the band rotunda at the Timaru Botanic Gardens and Seddon St as part of their experiment.

Carter said the pair had been pleased to find very low levels of lead around town.

“[We] thought it would have been a bit higher.”

The four pupils will join others from around South Canterbury and Ashburton for the Sanford Science and Technology Fair this week. The public is welcome to view the exhibits at the Caroline Bay Hall between 4pm-6pm on Wednesday and 9am to 6.30pm on Thursday next week.