Santa Cruz County Science Fair - Mar 12, 2011

Another great opportunity to work with some friends and meet some enthusiastic young scientists. This year, I judged in the Environmental Science section. It was great to again work with Miguel and with Jay, and see some fine projects from bright young minds. With 12 judges in ES, each of us got just a few students to interview in detail. I snapped some photos of my young scientists.

Juniors (Grades 4-5)

Excellent scientific ingenuity, independence, and attitude won the day here

Lead in local schools' tap water? Thank goodness, she found "no".

Some sharp calculations showed that her school alone could have saved $50,000/yr in gasoline with more widely used carpooling

Claire's project measured air quality indoors vs outdoors. Dog hairs dogged the indoor measures!

How best to put out a fire? Water!

This team tried different methods of removing oil from bird wings. Detergent seemed best.


This SLV high school student studied using ponds to clean the outflow from her school.

Intertidal biodiversity vs mussel density was this interesting project. "Guys with Mussels" great title is half the competitive battle!

This team did a great job on searching for bacterial sources in beach environments. I was impressed with their determination in the face of unexpected results and gave them high marks

This project tested how well plants enjoyed diesel oil. The conclusion - they didn't.

These young scientists correlated beach profiles with salinity and oxygen measures at Moran Lake

This project extended to Zayante Creek earlier studies surveying the logs surrounding local steelhead habitat

Our Environmental Sciences judging crew debates the merits of each project in each of the age groups. We focused on rewarding the brightest students with the most independent and innovative work, and not quite so much on the look of the posters themselves. As of the moment, the results are still TOP....SECRET!