Grade 9 student Nia Smith lives on her family's hobby farm just south of Brandon and has recently achieved a significant milestone with her local 4-H club! 

Nia Smith is one of two finalists from the 4-H Canada Science Fair to be selected to participate in the prestigious 2024 Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), this being her debut at the national event.  Her project “Seed Starting for a Home Hydroponic System” delves into the science of hydroponics.  Her project compared four different mediums for starting seeds, and provided findings on which medium works best for a hydroponic system to achieve the highest germination rate.

"I was really shocked at first because it was my first time and there were so many great projects," shares 15-year-old Nia Smith. "But I'm really excited to represent 4-H Canada and meet new people and see what Carleton University has to offer!"

"Members, leaders, volunteers and staff at 4-H Manitoba would like to congratulate Nia Smith on her win at the 4-H Canada Science Fair in Olds Alberta, you will find Nia’s project intriguing and exciting," shares Shannon Carvey, Executive Director for Manitoba 4-H Council Inc.  "We look forward to hearing how the results of her findings have positively impacted her own hydroponic garden system and how they might help others looking to grow self-sustainable food at home.   We wish Nia luck as she moves on the Canada Wide Science Fair."

Following an initial virtual round in January 2024, the second round of the 4-H Canada Science Fair was hosted by Olds College of Agriculture and Technology in Olds, AB from Feb. 28 to March 3. Eight participants presented their projects in the hopes of moving on to the CWSF, which is the country’s largest annual youth science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) event.

Balzac, AB student Mark Norregaard also earned his way to the prestigious 2024 Canada-Wide Science Fair (CWSF), with 2024 marking his fifth time as a finalist. This year, Mark 'focused on comparing the response between vaccinated and non-vaccinated calves prior to grass and weaning time. His project was inspired by the desire to help decrease outbreaks of Bovine Respiratory Disease in calf populations.'

“I’d like to extend sincere congratulations to Mark and Nia on advancing to the CWSF,” said 4-H Canada Interim CEO, Hugh Maynard. “It’s always exciting to see the innovation and creativity youth apply to real-life challenges in the world of STEM, and we’re very proud to offer opportunities where our 4-H youth leaders can effect positive change in the world around them. Thank you to Olds College for hosting, and to our partner and longstanding supporter of the 4-H Canada Science Fair, Bayer CropScience Canada.”

The 4-H program has been inspiring young people in their development and educational opportunities for 111 years, being one of the most respected and positive youth development organizations in Canada.  With 17,434 members and close to 7,000 volunteers across the country, participating in 45,000 projects that help young Canadians to 'learn to do by doing' in a safe, inclusive and fun environment.

Please listen to more with Nia Smith, and her mother Sandra Smith, below!

Photos below submitted by 4-H Canada

For more information on the 4-H Canada Science Fair, visit