2. Read The Rules
Rules and Regulations
Please read the following rules and regulations before beginning your project. Review them with your parent, teacher, or mentor. Follow the rules and complete the forms as required. Failure to do so may disqualify your entry.
Participants are expected to conduct their investigations with honesty and integrity. The presentation of another's work as your own, plagiarism, or the fabrication or use of false data will disqualify a student from this and future Young Naturalist Awards competitions.
- If you are a student in grades seven through twelve and are currently enrolled in a public, private, parochial, or home school in the United States, Canada, the U.S. territories, or if you are a citizen in a U.S.-sponsored school abroad, you are eligible to enter.
- Sons and daughters of American Museum of Natural History employees or consultants are not eligible to enter the Young Naturalist Awards.
- Each student may submit only one entry.
- The essay must be the work of a single student. Students who work with a partner or with a group may enter, but the essay must be their own individual work. Group essays are ineligible.
- Essays based on studies conducted by a class, a summer institute, summer camp, pre-college student research program, or environmental program are eligible as long as the student demonstrates his or her independence and creativity.
Essay length must fall within the following limits:
- Grades 7-8: 500-2,000 words
- Grades 9-10: 1,000-2,500 words
- Grades 11-12: 1,500-3,500 words
Essays may not exceed the word limit--Data tables, charts, graphs, bibliographies, and acknowledgements are not included in the word count. In addition, each essay, including all appendices, tables, charts, drawings, etc., may not exceed 20 pages. All parts of the essay must be submitted on 8.5" x 11" single-sided white paper. All pages must be numbered. Essays should have at least a one-inch margin and must be typed double-spaced in an easily legible font of 12 point or larger. Essays submitted in plastic binders, on disc, or on video will not be accepted. Important note: Keep all original artwork and photos. If you are chosen as a winner, we will need these originals.
- All essays MUST include photographs. All photographs must be taken by the student (except in the case where the student is in the photo). All artwork must be done by the student. If you have any questions regarding photos please contact the YNA administrator.
- Each essay must include a completed YNA entry form. Part II must me signed by a parent, guardian, teacher, or mentor. A student who attended a summer institute, pre-college student research program, or worked in an environmental program or on a class investigation, and who based his or her essay on that experience, must have the teacher or supervisor of that program fill out Part III, giving descriptive evidence of the student's independence and creativity.
- All investigations must be conducted according to state and national laws and regulations. For example, the collecting of specimens, even fallen leaves, in many state and national parks is prohibited. Students are allowed to observe plants and animals in their natural habitats so long as they do not cause them harm, stress, discomfort, or pain.
- Projects involving live vertebrate and invertebrate experimentation must be conducted in an ethical manner. Deliberately exposing an animal to poison or a toxic material, harming an animal or causing it stress (for example, trampling an ants' nest, putting an animal in a tank with a predator, or putting butterfly pupae in a refrigerator) is not permitted. If you want clarification of this rule, please contact the Young Naturalist Awards administrator.
- Projects involving human subjects are ineligible.
- Entries for the 2013 Young Naturalist Awards may be submitted as early as December 1, 2012. Mailed entries must be received at the American Museum of Natural History no later than March 1, 2013. Digital entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. EST, March 1, 2013. Late and/or incomplete entries will not be accepted.
Twelve cash awards, two for each grade level, will be awarded to the authors of the winning essays. Cash awards are as follows: :
- 7th grade: $500
- 8th grade: $750
- 9th grade: $1,000
- 10th grade: $1,500
- 11th grade: $2,000
- 12th grade: $2,500
- The winning entries will be published on the Museum's website.
- Up to 36 finalists will receive a cash award of $50 and a certificate of recognition. Up to 200 semifinalists will receive a non-cash award and a certificate of recognition.
- The teachers of the top twelve winners will receive classroom resources and a free Seminars on Science course. (learn.amnh.org)
- The first name and project title of the finalists and semifinalists will be posted on our website the week of March 18, 2013. The winners will be notified shortly after that. Their names will also be posted on our website.
How Will My Entry Be Judged?
Your essay will be judged alongside the essays submitted by other students in your grade. Judges will use a rubric to evaluate 13 categories. Each category will be scored from 4 (excellent) to 1 (poor) and the scores totaled. Please refer to the YNA Judging Rubric 2013 to see how your entry will be judged.
Each essay submitted to the Young Naturalist Awards contest must include a list of references. See How to Write a Reference List below:
How to Avoid Plagiarism
Plagiarism, or the fabrication or use of false data will disqualify a student from this and future Young Naturalist Awards competitions. See How to Avoid Plagiarism below: