THEY might be a long way from the Southern Downs but that didn't stop students from Gin Gin State High School winning the Hermitage Research Station 2012 Plant Science Competition.
The Central Queensland school won the major gong for the second consecutive year.
Agriculture Minister John McVeigh presented the awards and described the Warwick competition as vital for sparking an interest in science and agriculture for young people.
"We want to promote agriculture as a career of choice for young Queenslanders with an interest in farming life," Mr McVeigh said.
Competition topics related to research carried out at the research facility, with Education Queensland ensuring the topics and tasks matched the national curriculum.
This year's theme was "what makes a weed a weed".
Competition organiser Kerrie Rubie said tasks included performing a soil weed seed bank experiment, undertaking a weeds survey in the school grounds or local area, making a weed herbarium and taking a look at how weed seeds were dispersed.
"Primary school students created their own weeds from pressed plant parts in the art competition section, while older students designed a weed themed trumps card game," Ms Rubie said.
"Senior students presented their weeds research and outcomes in a scientific poster."
Gin Gin State High, Kepnock State High, Townsville Central State School, Westside Christian College, Freestone State School, Cooroy State School, Pilton State School, Biddeston State School and Murray's Bridge State School were awarded major prizes.
The top prize was the Paul Johnston Memorial Senior Science Award, won by Year 12 student Ella Wherritt (Gin Gin) for the second year.
Ella received another $1000 from the Paul Johnston Memorial Trust to buy reference materials for her first year of tertiary education.
Year 2 student Tanya Sinha, from Westside Christian College, Brisbane, secured the Joe Baker Outstanding Achievement Award for the second year.