Year 9 student, James Barrett has been recognised in the 2021 STANSW Young Scientists Awards. The awards were announced over Facebook live, as the event was not able to be held in person.

James received equal first for the AARnet Technology award alongside Year 12 student Max Zhao.

Many of the awards are received by Year 12 students, who have spent extensive hours on their major works however, James took this on as a lockdown project, working hard throughout the holidays and in the time he found during online learning.

His project is entitled Wireless Drone Scanner for Detecting Animal Burrows in Farms.

“My project is designed to locate animal burrows on larger scale farms due to the large economic impact that those animals have on the land. For example, rabbits in Australia contribute to $200 million in loss of production due to numerous factors. Farm owners can then use pre-established techniques to relocate/destroy the burrow. It achieves this by using an ultrasonic sensor attached to a drone which measures the grounds distance and if that quickly becomes larger then smaller then it sends that information to the user”, James stated.

Oliver Nicholls (Class of 2018) assisted James throughout the project and acted as a Mentor.
“He helped me in structuring my document in a way that provided a balance of new information on the improvements I made and important information including the concept of my project or the materials needed”, James said.

With the process done online, James recognises there is always room to grow, “There is even more potential to improve, as during the lockdown I didn’t have access to equipment which would enhance my project, or in-person meetings with my mentor”.

Completing the extra tasks throughout lockdown has enabled James to grow and refine skills in the STEM aspect especially with reports and time management.

“Compared to last year I learnt to have better time management leading up to the submission of the project. This made it much more enjoyable because of the lower amount of pressure on getting everything completed on time.”