Country rocks plant world

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

Tucumcari High School senior Nikki Harman found southwestern folks aren’t the only ones who thrive on country music. Plants like it, too, she said, as her award-winning science experiment found bushy bean plants subjected to the twangy tunes grew better than those that listened to other types of music.

Harman’s other choices were Christian, hard rock and classical, and hers was just one of 272 projects entered in the recent Tucumcari Schools Science Fair.

Students from Tucumcari’s high school, middle school and elementary were welcome to compete, many of whom spent hours, days – and even weeks – laboring over things that beeped, clanged or, like Harman, grew.

Harman’s project, which took about two weeks to complete, nabbed first place honors for the plant experiment, a second place award for the paper she wrote about it and a placing in the best of show. Her winnings gave her recognition in addition to a scholarship towards a course at Mesalands Community College.

She may not take a course on botany, however, as she said her true love is music. But this singer and flute player did say she usually ends up doing experiments with plants.

“I care about the environment and what happens to it,” she said.
Another environmentally-friendly project in the science fair was Chase Waters’ experiment entitled Passive Solar Heat Material for Building Homes.

This middle school student said he put brick, wood, paper and adobe in jars, then monitored them in a water bath to see which best retained heat. Waters said he spent about five days on his project and came up with it because of the high gas prices in New Mexico.

His findings produced the answer of adobe – as well as a first place in the eighth grade category. He also got best of show, an honor he shared with seventh grader Cameron Montano.
“I was really excited,” Waters said of his honors, as well as the $20 he’ll get towards Summer Adventure Camp at Mesalands Community College.

“I’ve been there before,” he said. “We get to do a lot of different activities.”

Yes, some of them involve science, he said, a subject Waters ranks as his favorite along with history. He also has high hopes of a notable career in the future. Perhaps even, he said, as a rocket scientist.

Tucumcari Schools Science Fair

High school
Best of show: Nikki Harman
Papers: 1. Donnie Price; 2. Nikki Harman; 3. Anna Romero.
Projects: 1. Nikka Harman; 2. Kenton Perkins, David Atwood; 3. Misty McKinney; D.J. Martinez.

Middle school
Best of show: Chase Waters, Cameron Montano
Eighth grade projects: 1. Chase Waters; 2. Dustan Hight; 3. Zack Phillips.
Seventh grade projects: 1. Cameron Montano; 2. Rhea Jaynes; 3. Adam Lopez.
Sixth grade projects: 1. Anna Grady; 2. Bianca Chavarria; 3. Kirsten Dunlap.

Elementary school
Best of show: Corey Manning
Fifth grade projects: 1. Corey Manning; 2. Kathryn Bowen; 3. Brook Dow.
Fourth grade projects: 1. A.J. Chavez; 2. Amber Aragon; 3. Vincent Grap.