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And the Winner is….

March 30, 2015

On Saturday, March 28th, I had the great fun of being a judge at the NC Science and Engineering Fair held at Meredith College in Raleigh.  Every year, the Museum selects one elementary school student to receive the Young Naturalist Award.  This award recognizes outstanding work in using the process of science to study the natural world and enhance people’s appreciation and knowledge of our environment.  This year’s winner is Alex Haiss for his poster “How Does Elevation Affect Micro-Metazoa”.  Alex is a student at Swain West Elementary School in Bryson City, NC.

2015 NC Science and Engineering Fair Elementary Award Winners

2015 NC Science and Engineering Fair Elementary Award Winners

Alex said his inspiration for the project came on a school field trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park where he learned about the micro-organisms living on foliose lichen.  For his poster, Alex asked the question: “would increases in elevation affect the numbers of micro-metazoan such as tardigrades, nematodes and rotifers?”.  The results of his project did show a decrease in micro-metazoan at higher elevations along Wesser Bald Trail near the border between Macon and Swain Counties.  Alex suggests that this decrease may be due to harsher climate and more pronounced effects of acid rain at higher elevations.

Winning poster by Alex Haiss on display in the Naturalist Center.

Winning poster by Alex Haiss on display in the Naturalist Center.

The winning poster will be on display in the Naturalist Center until May.  Alex has never been to the Museum, but hopes to fit it in when he’s in Raleigh for a soccer tournament.

Congratulations to Alex and all the winners at this year’s NC Science and Engineering Festival!

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