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Alyson Bell

Location: Peterborough, ON

Award: Young Canadians


Year: 2010


Another Tale My Grandfather Told Me

News Release

Oregano Water Filter in Limelight at National Science Fair
Warsaw Student's Spicy Project Wins Manning Innovation Awards

PETERBOROUGH, ON - (May 25, 2010) Warsaw, Ontario's Alyson Bell garnered a prestigious Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award at the 2010 Canada-Wide Science Fair for her oregano water filter. The filter uses oregano to clean bacteria out of contaminated water. Bell was among nearly 500 finalists at the national fair, held at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, May 15th to 23rd.

"Canada needs innovation to compete and prosper, and that means we need to encourage and celebrate our innovative youth," says Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director of the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation. The Foundation's Young Canadian Program recognizes innovative youth competing at the national science fair.

Bell came up with the idea to use oregano to filter water from "the Italian secret in my Grandfather's spaghetti sauce." Bell always wondered how her Grandfather's spaghetti sauce could last over three weeks in the fridge without spoiling. They thought it might be due to all the oregano in the sauce, and so Bell put the spice to the test, showing that it stopped bacteria from growing in a Petri plate.

The high school senior then took her idea one innovative step further, and built a simple water filter with a layer of fresh oregano between sandy gravel and charcoal. Contaminated water poured through the oregano filter came out clean and potable.

The inexpensive yet effective approach could be a boon in developing nations, such as Haiti, where people struggle to obtain potable water.

Bell's intention to pursue a degree in environmental science at university is just around the corner and her talents are already getting a lot of attention. As well as a $500 Manning Innovation Achievement Award and $4000 Manning Young Canadian Innovation Award, Bell won a gold medal at the science fair. In addition, four universities have offered her entrance scholarships. Bell will be recognized in person at the Foundation's 29th Annual Awards Gala, with honourary Co-Chairs Senator Pamela Wallin, OC, and Preston Manning, CC, this September 17th in Ottawa.

The Young Canadian Innovation Awards are sponsored by Suncor (two), the Jim McEwen Family and the Dave Mitchell Family.

For more information or to interview Amy-Jayne, please contact Bruce Fenwick, Executive Director of the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation: 403-645-8288 or bruce.fenwick@encana.com

The spokesperson for Youth Science Canada/Sciences jeunesse Canada is Reni Barlow, Executive Director: communications@ysf-fsj.ca


The Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation recognizes the importance of Canadian innovation in strengthening our nation's capacity to compete in the global economy. The Foundation supports and celebrates Canadians with the imagination to innovate and the stamina to succeed. Visit www.manningawards.ca for more information.