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Henry-1

Tracking Baboons’ Behavior Wins Student Young Naturalist Award

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Henry always loved to observe. “Walking through parks,” he would later reflect, “I have watched squirrels, birds and other animals, always curious to know what their actions meant.”

So when given the chance to monitor the behavior ofhamadryas baboons at Brooklyn’s Prospect Park Zoo, 15-year-old Henry grabbed his journal and found a comfortable seat by their glass enclosure. He wanted to know how captive baboons differed from their relatives in the wild and which activities baboons performed most frequently in the zoo. Profiled in a recent New York Times article, Henry’s project, which he describes in the essay Hamadryas Baboons, Papio hamadryas: Captive vs. Wild, earned him a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

hemlock

Battling Bugs Organically Earns Student Young Naturalist Award

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As she helped her family grow produce each year, Kalia learned how to protect her home garden from weeds, rabbits, and deer. But no amount of weed-whacking or fence-building could keep the insects away.

To try to solve this problem, 13-year-old Kalia embarked on a project to find out whether it was possible to avoid synthetic insecticides—and associated environmental and health risks—without compromising the harvest. For her investigation into green gardening, Kalia received a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

abby

Young Naturalist Award Winner Investigates How Dirty Dogs’ Mouths Really Are

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Thirteen-year-old Abby and her mother always disagreed on one point: should Abby let their dog lick her when she returned from school? “Abby! Don’t let the dog lick you,” her mother would scold. “Her tongue is full of bacteria!”

Determined to learn the truth about the level of bacteria in her dog’s mouth, Abby applied for a research grant at the State Hygienic Lab at the University of Iowa. When the lab accepted her proposal and paired her with researcher Gabriella Gerken, Abby began collecting dog and human saliva samples for her investigation. Her findings, detailed in the essay Are Dogs’ Tongues Really Cleaner Than Humans’?, received a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

aidan

Linking Trees’ Fibonacci Sequence to Solar Power Wins Student A Young Naturalist Award

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When 13-year-old Aidan took a winter hike through the Catskill Mountains, he noticed something spectacular about the bare trees. “I thought trees were a mess of tangled branches,” he would later recall, “But [then] I saw a pattern in the way the tree branches grew.”

Armed with a protractor, Aidan measured the angles of the branches and discovered they grew in a Fibonacci sequence—a mathematical pattern that can be observed throughout nature, from the curve of nautilus shells to the spirals of galaxies. In this famous sequence, each number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, continuing infinitely. Could this branch pattern help trees absorb more sunlight? Aidan’s pursuit of that question in his essay The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees earned him a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

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