Cove FFA member qualifies for national contest

Special to Leader-Press

Natural disasters proved to be a natural path for one Copperas Cove High School FFA member to land a trip to the national convention. 
CCHS junior Abbie Wardlow competed at the Texas FFA AgriScience Fair in Environmental Services/Natural Resource Systems public speaking competition for high school juniors and seniors.
Wardlow’s project, Soil permeability: What a disaster, captured first place in Division 5, earning her a $1,000 scholarship and the opportunity to compete at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo October 24- 27 in Indianapolis. Wardlow is one of only 12 competitors selected for the national contest. 
“I can’t wait to show the judges my show board and present at the national convention,” Wardlow said.
Wardlow ensured she presented in front of multiple audiences, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the San Antonio Livestock Show, placing fifth, before competing at the state level. It took her approximately 45 days to prepare her presentation which consists of the effects of three natural disasters; an oil spill, a land slide, and a wild fire, to show the rate of soil permeability in a medium soil. 
“I chose this project to help aid agriculturalists in determining the risk and recovery aspects of choosing a geographical location for soil dependent activities such as growing and producing crops,” Wardlow said. “As I tested the three disasters, a wild fire essentially depletes the soil by decreasing the amount of nutrients. When the soil is contaminated with the oil, the Ph levels significantly increase and the phosphorus is reduced within the soil. Finally, a landslide causes the soil to move and break apart.” 
In her conclusion, Wardlow’s testing resulted that wild fires cause the most damage with land needing the most attention to restore the soil back to its original form. 
The FFA Agriscience Fair is for middle school and high school students that conduct a scientific research experiment that must be relevant to agriculture and the food science industries. There are six different categories including animal systems, environmental services/ natural resource systems, food products and processing systems, plant systems, power, structural, and technical systems, and social sciences. 

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