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2022 Contest Results

From January 10 through March 6th, 2022, Selkirk Alliance for Science hosted a weekly online science trivia contest to test the scientific knowledge and information search skills by participants.  They were allowed to use Internet search engines or reference materials to find the answer.  We thank all participants who entered the contest, and hope that a new awareness about science will bring informed decisions in daily life.

Our purpose is to increase personal understanding of the nature, value, and integrity of science that can benefit all communities.  
No purchase was necessary for anyone to enter or win the contest, and the rewards could be entertaining, educational, and free science prizes.

Contest prize winners were from Washington (Newport, Ione, Elk), Idaho (Oldtown), and Colorado (Aurora, Denver).
Answers to the 2022 questions are provided below, so feel free to share with family, friends, and neighbors.



What NOAA/NWS category of cloud type is a high-elevation, thin, cloudy veil covering the whole sky, sometimes with a halo around the sun or moon as in this picture?

Answer: Cirrostratus H7 is one of 27 cloud types categorized by weather scientists. It is described as transparent, whitish veil clouds with a fibrous (hair-like) or smooth appearance. A sheet of cirrostratus which is very extensive, nearly always ends by covering the whole sky. During the day, when the sun is sufficiently high above the horizon, the sheet is never thick enough to prevent shadows of objects on the ground. A milky veil of fog (or thin Stratus) is distinguished from a veil of Cirrostratus of a similar appearance by the halo phenomena which the sun or the moon nearly always produces in a layer of Cirrostratus. 

Source: and

 For the 335 mines recorded by the USGS in Pend Oreille County, what commodity is most common?

 Lead is known in 297 of recorded mines. Gold is reported in 98 mines, silica (7), nickel (4), and manganese (2). Zinc, silver, and copper are less common than lead but more than gold, nickel, and manganese. Source:



To observe the Crab Nebula, where should you point your optical device?

Skyward to the heavens and constellation Taurus, about 6,500 light-years from earth. This “star” is actually the remnant of a violent supernova explosion, and the visible filaments are thought to be composed mostly of hydrogen, neutral oxygen, double-ionized oxygen, or ionized sulfur.

Name two other citizen science project-finders besides 

 1. identifies about 475 active projects focusing on various disciplines and agencies. 

2. lists approximately 75 active projects involving all disciplines. Source: and



What Pend Oreille County landmark was scientifically studied to determine the history of vegetative development since the end of the last ice age?

Answer: Due to less-than-perfect wording in the question, two answers are accepted.
d. Big Meadow was studied to identify the kind of plant pollens contained in soil layers down to 33 feet below the present surface. At least 5 pollen zones spanned the last 12,500 years since glacier ice receded northward. The initial vegetation slowly developed to mostly sagebrush and grasses until about 9,700 years ago. Then the zone transitioned to more grasses with tree species of pine (genus Pinus) that adapted to periodic wildfires up until 3,300 years ago. At that point, a short reversal of climatic conditions favored spruce and fir trees (genus Picea and Abies). Approximately 2,400 years ago, western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla) became the dominant climax tree of the area. The scientific term for using pollen to estimate vegetative history is Palynology.
b. Bunchgrass Meadow is a USDA Forest Service designated Research Natural Area established in 2008 to represent for long-term study a high elevation mountain meadow and associated bog, marsh area, subalpine permanent bog, subalpine fir/Cascades azalea plant community, masked shrew, and northern bog lemming lifeform types. Source:, and, and

What is the medical term for night blindness, the inability to see in dim light or at night?

 Answer: e.

Nyctalopia (night blindness) is a symptom of an underlying eye condition such as a retina problem. It is often associated with the inability to quickly adapt from a well-lit to poorly-lit environment, and is common for people with myopic vision.




What native Pend Oreille County tree species is the most widely distributed in North America?    ​

​Answer: d. Quaking aspen grows in diverse regions, environments, and communities across Canada, United States, and to Mexico. It is commonly found at 5,000–12,000 feet elevation, but occurs in Pend Oreille County down to about 2,200’. Aspen stands across the western landscape are not recovering from disturbance nor naturally regenerating the way they did in the past. The mystery of “sudden aspen decline” may start from warm, drought conditions that predispose aspen to fatal pathogens, and insects. The problem is serious because aspen stands are highly valuable as wildlife habitat. Source:

How long does it take for light to travel from the sun to planet Earth?

 Answer: a. 8.3 minutes to Earth, with light speeding along at 186,287 miles per second. Mars takes 12.6 minutes, Jupiter 43.2 minutes, Saturn is 79.3 minutes, and Uranus takes 159.6 minutes. Source:


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