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Top marks: Fernie teens blaze trails in science

Aislinn Dressler and Ariana Davidson of The Fernie Academy were selected to participate in the 2021 Canada-Wide Science Fair
Aislinn Dressler’s science project was selected as one of the top 0.1 percent projects across Canada for the 2021 Canada-Wide Science Fair. (Submitted)

Two Fernie teenagers had the opportunity to participate in the Canada-Wide Science Fair last week, with the two of them selected as among the top 0.1 percent of all youth science projects in Canada.

The Canada-Wide Science Fair is Canada’s largest annual youth science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) event, and in 2021 was held virtually.

The two students from The Fernie Academy - Aislinn Dressler in Grade 12 and Ariana Davidson in Grade 11 - submitted highly technical projects, with Dressler focusing on virus transmission.

“My project is an innovation called the Viral UVC Furnace Filter that proposes the addition of ultraviolet C lighting into the return passageways of forced air furnaces to reduce indoor transmission of airborne viruses,” said Dressler.

“The best part about designing my project is that I got to learn more about ways to reduce transmission of viruses and create an innovation that would help reduce the risk of contracting an airborne virus indoors.”

Davidson’s project was on waste and the environment.

“My project was about using mushroom mycelium to replace e-plastics to reduce the environmental impact of the electronics industry,” she said, adding that for her the best part of the project was observing the oyster mushroom life cycle.

Both Dressler and Davidson said that participating online was very different, but said it was a fun experience.

“The CWSF made the experience special with a virtual STEM expo, lots of science fair merch for finalists, daily CWSF tv and lots of opportunities to compete in fun STEM-themed activities! Of course, it would have been so cool to have a week in Ottawa, but it was still an amazing experience,” said Dressler.

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