2004 Winning Essays

Twelve winning essays from the 2004 contest year of the Young Naturalist Awards by students from grade 7 - 12. Winning essays ranged from the an investigation of the divergence of marine iguana species in the Galapagos archipelago, to life in a Vernal pool, to a comparison of copper ore deposits in two Arizona copper mines.

Gopher Tortoises: My Endangered Fellow Floridians

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Gopher Tortoises: My Endangered Fellow Floridians

Saddle up for a visit to the Circle F Dude Ranch, where this 7th-grader from Florida will introduce you to ... gopher tortoises. These burrowing reptiles have shovel-like forelimbs.

The Growth Patterns of Aspens

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Growth Patterns of Aspens

Is an aspen's diameter affected by its distance from the center of the grove? The search for the answer to this question sent this 8th-grader from Colorado on a two-year-plus expedition.

Life in a Vernal Pool

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Life in a Vernal Pool

Come exploring with this 9th-grader from Texas as she watches a thriving vernal pool habitat rise up from an area of dried-up muddy earth—and then disappear once again.

Morphologic Variation in the Common Periwinkle

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

Morphologic Variation in the Common Periwinkle

The common periwinkle, now one of the most abundant marine gastropods on the North Atlantic coast, was introduced accidentally to Nova Scotia around 1857. Investigate it with an 11th-grader from Maine.

¡Que Vivan las Serpientes Muertas!

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

¡Que Vivan las Serpientes Muertas!

"What can I do for a decent science fair project?" See how this 12th-grader from Ohio turned his answer to this common question—a road mortality survey of snakes—into a four-year study and a published paper. 

The Mysterious Peregrine Falcon

Young Naturalist Awards Essay

The Mysterious Peregrine Falcon

On a hiking trip, this 12th-grader from New Brunswick spied a peregrine falcon. A second trip brought the discovery of another falcon—a rare breeding pair. But then the mystery began ...