Jacob Gibbs, an 8th grader in the 2015-2016 school year at Fairmont Private School Historic Anaheim Campus, was the first place winner for Environmental Science of the Junior Division in the OC Science and Engineering Fair. His project, titled “The Most Superior Way to Conserve Water when Growing Grass”, investigates the different methods of watering plants to conserve water and have healthy plants.


When creating this project, Jacob had to research a variety of topics that interested him, but in the end, he selected this one because “by tackling this problem, [he could] definitely alleviate the long term issue” of the “California drought.” This way, he could potentially help mitigate the effect of the drought on “agriculture and residential lawns” by using “a variety of solutions… to determine which method works [with] different environments.”


In the process of his experiment, Jacob faced many problems, one of which was the rain. The rain would interfere with the experiment by introducing a variable that could not be accounted for by his experiment. In order to eliminate this variable, Jacob “solved this [problem] by covering the grass with a clear plastic tarp.” In doing so, Jacob ensured that rain did not interfere with his experiment and that “the grass would receive an even amount of sunlight.”


Jacob was forced out of his comfort zone when creating his project because he needed to “go outside every night for three months to take measurements. This was a hard task that [he] was not accustomed to.” However, he learned from this experience and it “taught a lot about self control and keeping a routine.”