Last spring, Blountstown High School reinstated an annual science fair for all students enrolled in a science class. Everyone who attended the BHS science fair was quite impressed by the displays the students had designed and excited to see BHS’s science department increasing the rigor of its courses. For J.P. Leonard, son of Mike and Sue Leonard, the assignment issued to him in Mr. Bart Nichols’ Earth Space Science class turned into a national award winning project!
J.P. partnered with Tripp Taylor, Son of Darrell Jr. and Tracy Taylor. They chose to center their project around J.P.’s Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) that he had started as a FFA member earlier in the year. For his FFA SAE, J.P. manages land for native wildlife. A threat to native wildlife and agricultural commodities, are wild hogs. J.P. and Tripp saw this problem and took the science fair as an opportunity to find a solution.
They tested three different common attractants for wild hogs and found that corn soured with water was the best attractant in the trails they ran.
Once they had gathered data, written the formal report, and finished their display board, it was time for the BHS Science Fair where J.P. and Tripp won the Earth Space Science Division and J.P. won the Animal Systems I division of the Blountstown FFA Agriscience Fair, which was only for students enrolled in an agriculture class.
J.P.’s next step was the Florida FFA State Agriscience Fair. He, along with several fellow Blountstown FFA members, took his project to the Florida State FFA Convention to see how they measured up to other FFA members from Florida. Caitlyn Stewart and Trent Smith were named state winners in the Power, Structural, and Technical division IV and J.P. won the Animal Systems Division I category!
Both Blountstown projects were submitted to National FFA to see if they qualified for the national competition. A committee judged all state winners’ written papers and selected the top fifteen in each category to go to National FFA Convention. Among those finalists, was J.P. Leonard.
The 85th National FFA Convention was held in Indianapolis, Indiana. After a rigorous interview and scoring of his display board, J.P. was awarded 5th place in the national competition! This earned him a gold award pin.
J.P. and Tripp are currently working on their next project, expanding from their prior findings and preparing to win more titles in the future.