October 8 2020

Burlington Science Center's Cucumber Challenge 2020

By: Tad Stephanak

The Burlington Science Center announced the winners of their 2020 Cucumber Challenge this week during their Wild Wednesday live stream with Burlington elementary students. 

Back in early May, among the pandemic lockdown and the Science Center announced its Cucumber Challenge for grades K through 5. Students were offered a coconut husk pot with soil and two seeds with an information packet and entry form with the challenge to grow the heaviest or longest cucumber. 

The Science Center was pleasantly surprised by the long line of cars that patiently waited to pick up their cucumber seeds at Burlington High School during the peak of quarantine. 

Over the summer many students were in touch with the Science Center’s Wendy Pavlicek via email.

“I did have a lot of students emailing me over the summer break to ask for tips and to let me know how their cucumber was doing,” Pavlicek said.

Entry forms were due October 2nd and participants were required to send a picture of themselves with their cucumber and the plant and have the cucumber officially measured and weighed by the United States Post Office. A community partner on the project the Burlington Post Office gave an official stamp of approval on the student’s entry forms. If parents were uncomfortable going to the post office with the COVID situation the students were allowed to do their weights and measures at home as long they provided a picture of the scale and the measurement.

Wednesday is Wild Wednesday for the Science Center’s virtual science lessons.

“Every Wednesday we do either live animal programs or physical science demonstrations,” said Pavlichek.

Wednesday, October 7th following a 20 minute “Cockroach, Creepy, Crawly” animal lesson Pavlicek announced the top winners of the Cucumber Challenge.

First Place for Cucumber Length: Erin & Duncan Foster (twins) of Fox Hill whose cucumber came in at 15 inches.

First Place for Cucumber Weight: Sophia Negron of Fox Hill whose cucumber weighed in at 2 lbs. 7.3 oz. 

The first place winners joined Pavlicek in the live stream and chatted about their favorite parts of the challenge.

This Friday, October 9th Pavlicek will be visiting the classrooms to award metals and mini trophies to the winners in all the grades. Pavlicek will be joined by a reporter from the Daily Time Chronicle to take pictures on the top first place winners for the front page of the newspaper. There will also be ‘Honorable Gardener’ awards and goodie bags of science prizes for all the students who participated. 

It’s also worth noting this marks the first time the Science Center’s own Wendy Pavlicek participated in the Cucumber Challenge - she did not place.

“Educationally it teaches them about the science of plants and gardening and what a plant needs to grow and survive”, Pavlicek continued “It also has a generational connection between the parents and the grandparents of the child who would help them grow. It teaches them to respect the environment, it gets their hands dirty and an understanding of where our food comes from,” Pavlicek stated.

BCAT congratulates the Cucumber Challenge winners and everyone who participated in this community-wide science event. See picture of the winner cucumber and other participants by Clicking Here.


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