UVic hosts 50th annual Regional Science Fair Sunday

For half a century, educators have fostered growth and creativity through a tradition known as the Vancouver Island Regional Science Fair.

This weekend, 165 students in Grades 4 through 12 will attend the University of Victoria for the 50th annual science event.

“When I was a student (at UVic), I used to be a judge because I just loved it,” said fair chair and senior laboratory instructor with the department of biology, Roswitha Marx. “Kids are so enthusiastic and so knowledgeable and so well-spoken.”

Five years into her role, the excitement of the fair hasn’t faded for Marx. She fundraises, along with members of the Society for the Advancement of Young Scientists, to send several regional fair participants to the Canada-Wide Science Fair. This year’s national fair is slated for May 14-21 in Toronto.

The Island region tends to do very well at the national competition. Some students, including Glenlyon-Norfolk grad Michael Peters, have then moved onto to participate in sciences fairs at an international level.

Last year, Peters demonstrated a memorable project for Marx. He crafted a wheelchair designed to keep the rider’s legs in motion to prevent blood clots – an idea that earned him international science fair attention, and one he ended up patenting.

Participating students are eligible to win scholarships and educational prizes at the growing event.

“It’s going to be a zoo because there are so many kids and so many projects – and I’m really happy about it.”

The public is invited to celebrate 2011: the Year of Science, as proclaimed by the provincial government, Sunday, April 10  from 12-3:30 p.m. and April 11 from 10-11:30 a.m., in the lobby of UVic’s Elliot Lecture Wing and surrounding classrooms.

nnorth@saanichnews.com