Grades 9-12

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Effects of DEET on Bioluminescent Dinoflagellates, Pyrocystis fusiformis

Puerto Rico is home to three bioluminescent bays, protected inlets that hold millions of marine bioluminescent dinoflagellates. These bays are huge tourist attractions, and swimming in them, when permitted, is popular. Often the visitors have sprayed themselves with insect repellants containing the active ingredient DEET. The purpose of this paper is to examine the effects of DEET on the ability of the dinoflagellates to emit light.

Helpful Hints for Field Sketching

Article

Helpful Hints for Field Sketching

People often assume that drawing skills are something you're born with. But the truth is, like any other skill, drawing is something you can learn. Start sketching with these helpful hints.

How to Press and Preserve Plants

Activity

How to Press and Preserve Plants

Autumn leaves, flawless fronds, prickly grasses, and perfect petals—all are great specimens to be noted and preserved. Find out how to press like a pro.

Leaf Arrangement

Diagram

Leaf Arrangement

Leaves are attached to stem nodes in three different arrangements: alternate, opposite, and whorled. Learn how to spot these leaf arrangements before venturing out on your next field study. 

Leaf Type

Diagram

Leaf Type

Compound or single? Knowing this fundamental difference in leaf type is key to identifying plant specimens. This illustrated guide shows you what both look like. 

Tips to Identify Poison Ivy

Article

Tips to Identify Poison Ivy

Did you know that the first time you come in contact with poison ivy, you probably won't get a rash? Every time after that, though, is a different story. Learn how to spot different varieties.

Leaf Margins

Diagram

Leaf Margins

Entire or toothed? Being able to distinguish between these two types of leaf margins will help you identify a plant specimen. This illustrated guide shows you what both look like.

Describing and Understanding Organisms

Activity

Describing and Understanding Organisms

At a loss for words when it comes to explaining your biodiversity findings in the classroom, field, or lab? Increase your vocabulary—and observation skills—with this guide to gathering clues.

Reading the Rocks at Cornwall, Pennsylvania

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Reading the Rocks at Cornwall, Pennsylvania

See how a day of collecting rocks on the north shore of Long Island turned into an exploration of the Earth's history for this eighth-grader from New York.

Fiddler on the Marsh

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Fiddler on the Marsh

Fiddler crabs never stray far from their burrow. That's why they will do anything to avoid getting caught and measured, as this ninth-grader from Virginia found out.

Genetics: An Increasingly Important Field of Science

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Genetics: An Increasingly Important Field of Science

The work of Gregor Mendel—today known as the "Father of Genetics"—was disregarded by his fellow scientists. Learn how it was rediscovered decades later in this winning essay by a California teen.

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