GJHS students hope to win a national science competition

By: Cecile Juliette Email
By: Cecile Juliette Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - Grand Junction High School junior Rebecca Roskowski and sophomore Daniel Lionberger both say they love science.

They recently entered a national science competition called the "Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge," in which high school students from all over the country entered their science experiements ranging from reusing batteries dumped in landfills to testing potential sound damage to marine life.

Roskowski and Lionberger were wondering what would happen to one of their favorite hiking spots near Cameo after the energy industry proposed using the local oil shale for exploration. They imagined they would be looking at a hill covered in black rock. Roskowski says, "Oil shale is in the newspapers alot. It's a big political topic. I got interested in what are they going to do once the oil has left the oil shale."

So they decided to test an experiment in which they regrew native grasses in the spent shale. Their experiment was successful, but they say they had to use too much water to get the vegetation to grow. Roskowski says, "We proved that it was successful but it requires a lot of water. And in this area of Colorado, the water is a bit of a problem. So it was successful but not feasible."

They've been in touch with an environmental organization to try to continue their project, hoping to grow vegetation within the shale using less water.

Lionberger says he didn't expect to make the final cut in the challenge. He says, "I was actually really suprised because there's pretty big odd against us. There's a thousand projects and we're one of the last 22."
He thinks they have a shot at winning. "It's an excellent project, and we went about it the right way."

Stay with 11 News, and we'll let you know the results Wednesday morning.

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