Agricultural projects scoop awards in the BT young scientist
Colaiste Treasa secondary school Cork claimed this year’s school of the year award at the BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. Two girls who attend the award-winning school certainly played a huge role in their school’s success as they claimed a special award and a group category award for their project about a farm app that helps rural farmers interact with one another more. Maeve O’Connor and Aoidhe Sheill created the Friendly Farmer app after they surveyed people living in rural Ireland and realised how secluded some farmers can be as they go about their daily duties.
The prototype of the app allows farmers to communicate in local and national discussion groups, access mart updates and get contact numbers for farm services in their area. A dating profile also features in the app. The girls conducted research which led them to believe that "farmers are happier when they are married". They are seeking sponsorship to finalise their hope of launching the app on to the market. This ambition should be much more achievable after claiming the Hewlet Packard enterprise award and the first-place rosette for the Junior group in the Social and Behavioural category.
The ABP-sponsored farm safety award was awarded to Jack Nagle of Killorglin Community College, Kerry. His Tractor Safe Lock initiative helped reduce danger on a farm as the handbrake on a tractor would automatically be put in place even if a farmer forgot to do so. The enthusiastic junior student hopes that this sudden engagement of the hand break will save lives on farms throughout Ireland. Farm safety was featured throughout many projects in this year’s event in the RDS and there’s a hope that the welcomed trend will see the figure of farm deaths reduce across the nation.
Twins Mary and Sarah Murphy from Jesus and Mary Secondary School, Mayo, claimed the senior group third place rosette for the technology category during the awards ceremony. The sisters combined their passion for farming and technology to "get rid of the mess when marking sheep". Instead of opening tins or spraying paint, the girls created a single-handed gun that proves extremely convenient when putting fluid onto the back of sheep to brand them.
The product is on the market for €60 and available to purchase but the girls intend on broadening their marketing abilities and making their product more accessible nationwide. A bright future in marketing seems imaginable for the determined Murphy sisters.
Third year student Ian McDonagh from Merlin College, Co Galway, had a unique junior individual project in the social and behavioural sciences category of this year’s BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. The charming junior student, who is also a very proud member of the travelling community, created a project on the cures and folkways of the travelling community. This scientific investigation saw McDonagh communicate and record historic traditions that are associated with the travelling community.
His findings were that the cures in question are not being passed on from one generation to the next and therefore they are becoming less popular and used within Ireland. This caused great concern with Ian and he plans to write a book in the near future to preserve the precious folkways of his people. The cures that featured in McDonagh's project include those that are in association with holy wells, mountains such as Croagh Patrick, people such as the "seventh son of the seventh son", herbs such as the St Patrick leaf and religious artefacts. Ian captured the imagination of the public with his eye-catching display. His visual efforts also impressed the judges as he was awarded the Jack Restan Displays Award during the awards ceremony.