Alliston student continues love of science at national STEM event

A Grade 12 student from Banting Memorial High School in Alliston is participating in the country's largest annual youth science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) event next month.

Emily Goodson will attend the Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF) from May 16-20, which is being done virtually out of Fredericton, NB.

"It's pretty exciting. This is my fifth time attending CWSF, and the last year I can attend. So, I'm really happy I get to go again," Goodson said.

Goodson focused on finding a more efficient way to rehabilitate damaged freshwater ecosystems at a recent science fair, which she will showcase at CWSF.

"I studied how wetlands filter contaminated water," Goodson said.

"Using that, I tested different plant species and their ability to filter different nutrients because common nutrients like nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, in high amounts, can be damaging and detrimental to freshwater ecosystems.

"So, I took those plants and experimented over a five-month period to see how they affected contaminated water."

She also designed a floatation system prototype to implement these plants into contaminated freshwater bodies to filter excessive nutrient levels.

"I started doing science fairs in the fourth grade, so science is a really big passion of mine," Goodson said. "This year, I decided to focus on rehabilitating freshwater ecosystems because Canada has one of the largest supplies of natural freshwater bodies in the world.

"It's really important we respect it and make sure that it's being taken care of properly."

She said the result from her experiment was quite surprising.

"I discovered that duckweed is an effective plant for filtering different nutrient levels. I tested duckweed, watercress, a freshwater seaweed, and some agricultural plants," Goodson said.

"Long-term, this could be an efficient system to help rehabilitate damaged freshwater ecosystems across the country. You could implement this – a low-maintenance system."

Goodson has already won several awards for work her in science, including a Barrie Mayor's Award and a County of Simcoe Award.

She will continue her love for science in the fall when she begins the pursuit of a university degree in environmental sciences.