2012 Winning Essays
Thirteen winning essays from the 2012 contest year of the Young Naturalist Awards by students from grade 7 - 12. Winning essays ranged from an investigation of a parrolet’s seed preference, to the effect of wildfires on the biodiversity of Arizona wildlife, to a study of a parasite infecting western monarch butterflies.
The landfill dump near his home had been closed for years, but was their still a risk of chemicals lingering in the groundwater? See what this young naturalist's experiments determined.
A visit to her best friend's house inspired this young naturalist to learn more about parrotlets and to design an experiment to determine their favorite seeds. See her findings.
The gift of a game camera led this young naturalist to discover wildlife in his own backyard. Find out what he discovered when he focused in on the gray fox.
Living Waters: A Study of the Effects of Elevation on Water Quality and Biota in Great Smoky Mountains National Park
Water quality can be difficult to measure, especially in areas such as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. But that didn't stop this young naturalist from embarking on a 25 stream study. Find out what he learned.
Laundry detergent cleans our clothes but at what cost to the environment? This ecologically minded young naturalist tested the effectiveness of plant-based filters at removing key pollutants.
Wildfires burned more than one million acres of Arizona forest and grassland during the summer of 2011. This young naturalist set out to determine which wildlife species were most affected. See her findings.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 was devastating to the ecology of the Gulf. Not only did the oil significantly threaten the survival of most aquatic species in the area surrounding the spill, it also spurred potentially destructive relief efforts. These efforts included the use of dispersants with potentially unforeseen effects.
Biochar Carbon Sequestration: The Effect of Feedstock and Particle Size on Physical and Chemical Stability
Biochar is naturally present in soils as a result of forest fires and the ancient soil-enrichment practice of making terra preta. Learn more about its multiple benefits and what this young naturalist learned when she decided to investigate it.
The Effect of Coprophagous Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Geotrupidae, and Hydrophilidae) on Methane Emission Rates and a Six-Month Species Comp...
Cattle and farming practices are a growing source of methane emissions. This young naturalist hit the pasture to see firsthand if dung-eating beetles could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Because heavy metals enter water through many sources, scientists are motivated to develop purification and extraction methods. Some of these techniques have been successful, but at great cost or with detrimental effects to the environment. The purpose of this experiment was to determine if the agricultural by-product Curcurbita (pumpkin) could be used to remove metal ions from an aqueous solution.