Ezekeal Bodie, a Year 8 student from Somerville Intermediate, took home the Ballance Agri-Nutrients (Ballance) Sustainable Agricultural Award for his science fair project, Nature vs. Nurture, in the 2023 NIWA South and East Auckland STEM Fair.
The Sustainable Agricultural Award acknowledges students who showcase a strong understanding of current and potential sustainability concerns impacting the country’s primary industries.
Regional Ballance representative Jai Prakash, hort and arable specialist, says the calibre of projects entered into this year’s agri-science category was very impressive.
“It was really encouraging to see students present projects that were both well presented and thoroughly researched. The winner of our Ballance-sponsored award, Ezekeal Bodie, was well deserving of the recognition.
“We typically look for students who develop projects that utilise scientific methods and problem-solving skills to tackle real-life sustainable agricultural challenges.
“Ezekeal sought a solution to preserve produce due to natural pollinators dying off. It was a clever idea that was executed well,” says Prakash.
Ballance participates in an annual nationwide sponsorship programme that nurtures and celebrates scientific and innovative thinking among primary and secondary school students.
Aligned with its commitment to sustainability and agriculture, Ballance takes on the role of judging science fair projects that delve into subjects like reducing greenhouse gas emissions, agricultural chemical usage, nutrient runoff into waterways, and other environmental issues.
This sponsorship initiative is an extension of Ballance’s $25 million Future Ready Farms programme, launched in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFF Futures) Fund.
Ballance’s SFF Futures Ready Farms Lead Hannah Stewart, says Ballance is proud to support students with a strong passion for addressing the environmental hurdles confronting New Zealand’s agricultural sector.
“Every year we feel a real sense of pride in sponsoring these nationwide science fairs, to support young Kiwi kids to engage with sustainability through science.
“We hope that by encouraging these students to participate in science fairs, we can help ignite their future ambitions to embark on a career in science or innovation,” shares Stewart.