St. Clair student wins statewide MDC Discover Nature Schools Science Fair competition

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St. Clair, Mo. — Congratulations to Hannah Krouper, a junior at St. Clair High School in St. Clair. Hannah was recently honored as first place winner of the Missouri Department of Conservation’s (MDC) Discover Nature Science Fair competition. She took the first place award in the high school division. The purpose behind the statewide challenge is to recognize outstanding science fair projects created by students throughout Missouri.

MDC Education Consultant Sam Faith presented the award May 27 at St. Clair High School. In addition to a state and an individual plaque, plus an award medal and ribbon, Hannah has also earned $250 worth of Discover Nature equipment for her school.

The title of Hannah’s winning science fair project was The Allelopathic Effect of Common Missouri Plants. The allelopathic effect is when certain plants produce substances, called allelochemicals, that affect or inhibit the growth of other competing plants.

Hannah prepared root extracts from 10 common Missouri plants she collected. She tested their allelopathic effect against lettuce seed. Hannah also prepared extracts from Japanese honeysuckle berries she obtained from MDC’s Caldwell Memorial Wildlife Area, tested them chemically, and discovered that they contained two known allelopathic chemicals.

The purposes of the project were to determine whether an effective, natural herbicide could be created from allelochemicals and to determine if certain allelochemicals could be used as antibacterial agents.

The Discover Nature Schools program is designed to provide hands-on experiences in nature and help Missouri's K-12 students become life-long conservationists. The program offers teacher training, instructional units, and funding for equipment and field trips. Each full-color Discover Nature Schools instructional unit meets Missouri grade-level expectations and includes a teacher guide. The four units include:

  • Grades K-2—Nature Unfolds
  • Grades 3-5—Nature Unleashed
  • Grades 6-8—Aquatic Ecosystems
  • Grades 9-12—Nature Unbound

Educators interested in launching a Discover Nature Schools program in their school or class, should contact a local MDC education consultant. He or she can provide information on units, register teachers for training and help get the program started. A regional listing of education consultants and more information about Discover Nature Schools can be found at