(Freshwater, CA) — Amalia Baugh, an 8th-grade student from Freshwater Charter Middle School, has made waves in the science community by winning several awards for her outstanding project in Earth and Environmental Science. She not only won 1st place in the state qualifier at the California Science and Engineering Fair (CSEF), but she also received the Science Achievement Award from the California Association of Professional Scientists (CAPS).
Si Talty, Superintendent of Freshwater School District, praised Amalia’s accomplishment, saying, “We are incredibly proud of Amalia’s hard work and dedication to science. Her project is the only one eligible in our region to compete in CAPS Outstanding Young Scientist program, and she will receive recognition, a certificate, and a check for $100. This is also a testament to the infusion of NGSS strategies and inquiry-based learning opportunities that her Science Teacher, Mr. Haller, and Freshwater School are so dedicated to.”
Her project also was given 1st place honors by the Northern Group of the Sierra Club and was recognized by the California Association of Professional Scientists, North Coast Unified Air Quality Management District, and the California Native Plants Society.
As a result of her 1st place win as the state qualifier, Amalia is eligible to submit her project application for consideration to move on to the National Competition. She has been named as one of CSEF’s nominees to the Thermo-Fisher Scientific Junior Innovators Challenge (JIC), a national competition involving students in grades 6-8 from hundreds of fairs spread throughout the nation.
The project sought to determine the impact of reduced fog and climate change on the Northern California Redwood Forest ecosystem. Amalia’s question involved looking at how transpiration and foliar uptake in redwood forest species are affected by the amount of fog. Baseline data was collected to determine which redwood plants have the greatest ability to take in fog through their leaves. Transpiration data was collected spraying sword ferns, redwood sorrel, evergreen huckleberry and coast redwood in 5 different fog treatments. The change in mass was taken daily to determine overall transpiration rate. Foliar uptake was then measured for all plants in the transpiration/fog treatments.
The Top 300 finalists will be announced on September 6, with each receiving a cash award of $125 and other prizes. From this set, 30 finalists will be announced on September 20, with each being invited to an all-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C., to showcase their research.
Finals week will be held on October 28 – November 2, where the finalists will engage in a variety of scientific and engineering activities, in addition to presenting their own research. The week will end with more prizes and awards, including the top prize of $25,000 for the Thermo-Fisher Scientific ASCEND Award.
“We congratulate Amalia on her impressive achievements and wish her the best of luck as she moves on to the national competition,” said David Haller, Amalia’s science teacher. “Her passion for science and dedication to her project is truly inspiring.”
Other Freshwater students who received recognition for their science projects included Sankara Momo Carnahan, Sadie Barrett, Kaya Scofield, Eliot Block, Dylan Scofield, Sylvia Celli, Wren Hall, Ellie White, Meghan Reiske, Noah O’Neill, Layla Rasmussen and Naomi Rush Copple.