Poole student wins national environment competition

Posted on Thursday, September 20 2012

A student from Poole Grammar School has won a national competition looking at improving quality of life and the environment through water, with help from Bournemouth University academics.

Sam Cook won a trip to Stockholm, Sweden where he represented the UK at the international Stockholm Junior Water Prize and was congratulated on his win by Crowned Princess Victoria of Sweden.

Aimed at pre–university students, the competition encouraged educational projects focused towards improving quality of life and the environment through topical water issues. Sam’s project investigated populations of diatoms in freshwater habitats and their importance as indicators of water quality.

Diatoms are single–celled organisms invisible to the naked eye but very important because they can photosynthesise like plants and produce useful energy from sunlight in order to survive.

Sam worked with Bournemouth University academics Dr. Genoveva Esteban and Dr. Andréa Galotti from the School of Applied Sciences to win the Tomorrow’s Water competition organized by the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM).

Sam said: “I entered my project into the Tomorrow’s Water competition, which was an invaluable experience. I was able to present my work to people in the water industry and was thrilled when they chose my project to represent the UK at the Stockholm Junior Water Prize.”

“The international finals were amazing. I even shook hands with the Crowned Princess of Sweden! The week was made extra special by the people I met; I’ve made lots of new friends with people from right across the planet.”

Sam’s project was funded by the Nuffield Foundation. The Nuffield placement was arranged via biology teacher Jo Barnes at Poole Grammar, and Judith Wardlaw, Industry Partnership Development Manager at The Thomas Hardye School in Dorchester who facilitated the arrangements for the placement, and competition entry on behalf of the Nuffield Foundation and Wessex Setpoint.