Princess presents PRYNSA awards
By Grace Jiu

The royal patron of the Princess Rashidah Young Nature Scientist Award (PRYNSA), HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah Sa'adatul Bolkiah, yesterday graced an award ceremony to hand out prizes to winners of the eighth edition.

Also present was HRH Princess Hjh Majeedah Nuurul Bulqiah.

The event also saw presentations by the top five finalists - Menglait Secondary School, Perdana Wazir Secondary School, Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School, Sultan Hassan Secondary School, and Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam Secondary School.

Emerging as the overall winner was Sayyidina Hasan Secondary School with their project entitled "Invasion of exotic species: The study on Acacia spp. in Berakas Forest Reserve".

Second place went to Sultan Hassan Secondary School for their project "An investigation into secondary forest succession at abandoned quarry sites", while Sultan Muhammad Jamalul Alam Secondary School came in third with their project "Lichen species as bio-indicator of air pollution: Monitoring of air pollution by means of comparing lichen cover and lead content in lichen tissues in industrial and non-industrial areas".

HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah presented prizes to the winning teams.

Later, HRH Princess Hjh Rashidah and HRH Princess Hjh Majeedah toured a mini exhibition set up by the five finalists and had group pictures taken.

Also in attendance were the Acting Minister of Industry and Primary Resources, Dato Awg Hj Hamdilah bin Hj Abdul Wahab, Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resources, and others.

In his welcoming speech, Chairman of the organising committee, Hj Shahrill bin Hj Shahbuddin, Acting Director of Forestry, said the main objective of PRYNSA is to provide a platform to nurture and inspire the younger generation to become nature scientists and professionals who will eventually shoulder the responsibility of ensuring sustainable development of limited resources.

PRYNSA, organised by the Forestry Department for the past eight years, has become the most prestigious science award in the country. Through PRYNSA, participants are exposed to scientific research culture while learning about teamwork skills, dedication, committment and self-confidence, which would serve them further in their education and future career advancements.

This year, 23 secondary schools participated in PRYNSA, the highest number since it began in 1998. The format of the competition includes research study sites, which are any forest types in the country. After conducting yearlong research, participants would submit their final report to be assessed and judged after a formal verbal presentation. The written reports are judged by the appointed panel of judges led by the Forestry Department, including local and overseas experts in various fields of natural sciences.

The winning team received a cash prize of $3,000 and the challenge trophy, while the first and second runners-up received $2,000 and $1,000 respectively.

PRYNSA 8 was organised by the Forestry Department and sponsored by Brunei Shell Petroleum Company Sdn Bhd. - Borneo Bulletin (14th Apr 2006)