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Biodiversity-themed Essays

1998 Winning Essays

Twelve winning essays from the 1998 contest year of the Young Naturalist Awards by students from grade 7 - 12. In honor of the opening of the Hall of Biodiversity, student essays focused on the biodiversity they discovered in a variety of local habitats.

paige_shell_spurling1

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Invincible Cockroach

When this 12-year-old from New York came face to face with a house full of cockroaches, he didn't run away. Instead, he got the bug to learn more about these virtually indestructible creatures.

hawk eats rabbit eats grass eats decomposed hawk

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Bacteria

Bacteria—the oldest, simplest, and most numerous forms of life—can reproduce as often as every 20 minutes. Learn more about their significant role in ecosystems from this 13-year-old from Ohio.

Bees pollinate flowers

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Bees in the Ecosystem

This 13-year-old from Ohio didn't have a great opinion of bees after one caused her to lose a ball game. That changed, though, when she realized how important bees are to the planet.

Millipede

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Biodiversity in Arizona

It can seem that the desert ecosystem is devoid of much life. But this Arizona teen found biodiversity just by turning over a few ironwood tree trunks she found in the sand.

Red Frog

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Poison-Dart Frogs: Nature's Touch-Me-Nots

For centuries, Latin America's poison-dart frogs have helped hunters capture their prey. Today, they're also helping scientists combat disease. Take a close (safe!) look at these vividly colored frogs with this 15-year-old student.

susan_moonjellyfish

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

No One Sings the Praises of the Dreaded Jelly Fish

Jellyfish have existed for more than 650 million years—longer than the earliest dinosaurs. Dive in with this Maryland teen for a look at an animal that ranges in size from 1.5 inches to 200 feet wide.

Slug anatomy

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Slimy, Yet Special Slug

What is it about a slug's body that allows it to live in a variety of environments but makes salt a deadly substance? Take a closer look at these nocturnal critters with a 15-year-old from Maryland.

Southern Redback Vole

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Aspen: A Keystone Species

By keeping a nature journal, this 16-year-old from Colorado quickly saw how aspens support and sustain biodiversity. Learn more about the most widely distributed tree species in North America.

Slug

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Nature's Slimy Friends

Did you know that all slugs eat the equivalent of their own body weight each night? Or that some slugs are cannibalistic? Let this 17-year-old from Washington State introduce you (literally) to a banana slug.

Killdeer

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Habitat Variety and Bird Abundance

The one constant in this world is change. Watch Lake Wildwood cycle from man-made lake to lakebed mudflats to marsh and finally back to lake with this 18-year-old from Georgia.

paige_shell_spurling1

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Feared, the Pest, the Cockroach

Did you that that only about 1 percent of cockroach species are household pests? Or that cockroach blood is usually green? This 17-year-old from Oregon examines these fascinating creatures.

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