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KAST/FortisBC Kootenay Contraption Contest winners

The Nelson Daily Staff
By The Nelson Daily Staff
January 18th, 2022

Girl Guides from the Nelson area earned top marks in the recent 2021 Kootenay Contraption Contest, bringing home the Grand Prize Educator’s category.

The contest, hosted by Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST), its youth program, GLOWS (Growing & Learning Opportunities With STEAM) and sponsor FortisBC, turned to the minds of students and educators in to think about the very real demand for climate change adaptation faced during the past year.

More than 100 youth from across the Kootenay region contributed their ideas about what Climate Change Adaptation in 2050 will require and the winners and their contraptions are highlighted over on the KAST blog.

The Grand Prize Educator’s category winner from the Kootenay Area Girl Guides in Nelson is Anne Simonen with her contraption The Convertible Play Yard.

The grand prize winner and Grade 6 Classroom winner is JP Delos Santos of A. Laird Elementary School in Invermere with his with his contraption Temperature Clothes.

The 2021 Kootenay Contraption Contest encouraged youth in Kindergarten to grade 8 to contribute innovative enhancements to Climate Change adaptation by using science and technology.

GLOWS challenged homeschoolers and entire classes to come up with the most creative, imaginative “contraption” they can dream up to solve the challenge.

The year is 2050. The climate plan to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by now was unsuccessful. The global temperature has increased and more frequent and intense droughts, storms, heat waves, rising sea levels, melting glaciers and warming oceans are impacting animals, changing the places they live, and challenging people’s health, livelihoods and communities. What contraption will you create to help improve your life in this new warmer climate?

Elementary and middle school students across the Kootenays are still adjusting to COVID-19 student life in the very resilient and adaptable nature we expect from Generation Alpha.

This generation is considered to be the most technological-infused demographic to date – there is no doubt with these tech savvy kids comes innovation and adaptability.

“We deliberately put forward a very challenging question. As a company, we’re focused on reducing emissions from our customers but know that some climate change mitigation actions will take time to have an effect on rising temperatures,” said Blair Weston, Community & Indigenous relations manager at FortisBC, contest sponsor.

“Now is the time for hard conversations. Asking youth to think ahead into 2050 helps us highlight that climate change adaptation and mitigation are both important and time-sensitive."

The Grand Prize Educator’s category winner from the Kootenay Area Girl Guides in Nelson is Anne Simonen with her contraption The Convertible Play Yard. — Submitted photo

Simonen's The Convertible Play Yard building, made of clear plastic that will not damage or break, would allow anyone the opportunity to continue to find play time even during hot or smoke-filled conditions as the area can be completely contained by closing doors and turning on air purifiers and heat pumps to cool the inside.

This allows schools to have a grassy, sunny play area.

And when weather permits, the rolling, overhead doors can be opened to extend play space.

The 2021 Kootenay Contraption Contest question came at a time when we were simultaneously experiencing the impacts and facing the fact that we must be prepared to adapt now to the change that is already upon us — and will continue to affect us in the foreseeable future. Who better to impress this upon than our youth.

“There is a powerful opportunity through youth STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) programs, to elevate children’s voices and give them the space to design the creations of their limitless imaginations.” said Tanya Malcolm, GLOWS Program Manager.

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