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Thirteen winning essays from the YNA 2002 contest year

2002 Winning Essays

Thirteen winning essays from the 2002 contest year of the Young Naturalist Awards by students from grade 7 - 12. Students explored the natural world through expeditions that took them as close to home as a backyard in Kansas to as far away as a rainforest in Hawaii.


Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Deformed Frogs: The Big Mystery

Frogs with a single hind leg were not the most surprising discovery this seventh-grader from New York made. Read what he learned about the nationwide increase in frog deformities.

Figure 10: Brrr! It was cold in th cave! Note the crevices in the sides and the fallen boulders

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

My Expedition to the Lava River Cave

To gain a better understanding of volcanoes, this eighth-grader from Arizona decided to go spelunking. Take her tour of the Lava River Cave, formed by a volcanic eruption 675,000 years ago.

Figure 10: Orange Wingate Sandstone

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

A Beach Walk in New Mexico

While planting strawberries in her backyard, this freshman from New Mexico discovered a fossilized seashell. Follow along as she searches for evidence of her state's watery past.

Red-eared slider

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Turtle Basking in New York City

With so many rocks to choose from, why were the turtles sticking to this group of three, some piling on top of one another? Follow along as this ninth-grader from New York investigates basking behavior.

Pillsbug walking and on defense

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Pillbugs: Little Creatures in My Backyard

This junior from Kansas found a swarm of "roly-polies" wreaking havoc in her family's garden. Learn about her successful search for peaceful cohabitation.

Norway maple leaves on the verge of turning to autumn color

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Alien Plant Invaders

Armed with mug shots of New York's top 20 plant invaders, this junior began an expedition in her backyard. How many of these non-native invasive plants had already gained a foothold?

At the fresh age of ten, I became apprenticed to my father to learn the precise techniques of bird banding. I am pictured here with a red phalarope.

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Growing Up at Espenberg: Eggstatic About Foxes

This Alaskan senior wanted more from her summers than being her parents' research assistant. Travel north of the Arctic Circle, and take a close look at her hands-on—and hand-off—research on foxes.

Figure 10: A sketch of the outside and inside of a Douglas fir cone.

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Salmon Creek: A Search for the Missing Salmon

One hundred years ago, salmon were so plentiful that children could stack them along the banks like firewood. This seventh-grader wanted to know what happened to all the salmon in Salmon Creek.

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