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Sixth year student wins SciFest 2023 with peatland restoration project

Photo by Lauri Poldre via Pexels

Jack Shannon secures SciFest STEM champion 2023 for his innovative project on peatland restoration using remote sensing techniques



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7 December 2023

Jack Shannon, a Clongowes Wood College sixth-year student, was named SciFest STEM champion 2023 for his project on monitoring peatland restoration using remote sensing. He will represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles next year.

SciFest, backed by Intel Ireland, Boston Scientific, and EirGrid, is Ireland’s largest and most inclusive STEM fair for second-level students. Open to all on the island, SciFest prioritises student participation and aims to foster STEM interest in an enjoyable and engaging manner.

Jack employed remote sensing techniques to monitor peatland restoration in Ireland, focusing on Clara bog and Keelbanada bog. His study evaluated the efficacy of multispectral, LiDAR, SAR, and InSAR analyses in tracking restoration progress and degradation. These methods provide accurate and regular data, improving restoration planning and management.

His project highlights the potential of remote sensing for monitoring peatland restoration or degradation on various scales. This contributes to Ireland’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Climate and Energy Framework by facilitating comprehensive assessments of progress toward restoration and carbon sequestration targets.

Other award winners at the SciFest 2023 National Final were Ciara Cannon, Mya Doocey, Mia Galligan, Kamaya Gogna, Rebecca Cullen, Freyja Cleary, Clementine van Steenberge, Emma Greaney, Madison Brouder, Meabh O Sullivan and Sarah Harte.

This year marks the 18th year of the SciFest programme, with over 100,000 students participating since 2006, reflecting an average annual increase of almost 20%. Jack is one of nearly 12,000 students involved in SciFest this year.

Sheila Porter, chief executive officer, SciFest, said: “On behalf of SciFest, I extend my heartiest congratulations to Jack, SciFest STEM champion 2023. Your accomplishment is not just a testament to your individual brilliance and dedication, but also a shining example of how young minds like yours are crucial in shaping our understanding of the world and paving the way for future innovations. As you prepare to compete at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles, California, know that you will provide inspiration for your peers who may be future scientists and innovators themselves. It is imperative to acknowledge and thank your parents and the teachers who have played a pivotal role in your journey so far. Their unwavering support, guidance, and belief in your potential have been instrumental in this success. Once again, congratulations on this remarkable achievement!”

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