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It's Not Just Ant Farms and Volcanoes

Across the US, science fairs are running into financial difficulties as states trim their budgets and private donations dry up, reports The New York Times. "The donations are down dramatically this year," says Jill Malcom, who runs the Mastodon Art and Science Regional Fair in St. Louis. "We are doing whatever it takes to keep the fair going." That fair has seen its budget fall from $250,000 in 2010 to $118,000 for 2011. That's not the only fair in trouble; the Times notes that other fairs in Missouri as well as in Louisiana and California are struggling. Paula Golden from the Broadcom Foundation, a group that finances a national fair for middle-school students, says that science fairs are needed now more than ever. "Without a body of young people who are innovators and scientists and engineers, we cannot sustain any kind of growth economically," she says. "It is a national crisis."