2009 Winning Essays

Part of the Young Naturalist Awards Curriculum Collection.

Twelve winning essays from the 2009 contest year of the Young Naturalist Awards by students from grade 7 - 12. Many of the winning essays focused on threats to the environment, from invasive plant species to the degradation of our fresh and saltwater systems. Other winning essays ranged from an exploration of nightly moth activity in Tennessee, to facial and gestural communications among lowland gorillas, to the feeding habits of the birds in northern Illinois.

Article Native Chesapeake Bay Grasses: A Solution to Nutrient Pollution? Can grasses that are native to the Chesapeake Bay reduce nitrate and nitrate concentrations? See what this Maryland young naturalist... Article You're Fired: The Use of Fire to Eliminate Non-Native Plants in a Prairie Restoration I went on a class field trip to Fernwood Botanic Garden in southwest Michigan when I was in sixth grade. When we toured the restored... Article Effects of Herbicide Application Following Mechanical Site Preparation on Long-term Forest Development: An Experiment with Picea glauca Seeing the forests around him exploited for commercial use prompted this young naturalist to student the long-term effects of herbicides... Article Night visitors: A Study of the Hourly Distribution of Moth Activity at a Light Station Long fascinated with phototropism in night-flying insects, this young naturalist hypothesized that moths would be active in greater... Article Facial Expression and its Relationship to Gesture in Western Lowland Gorillas Nonverbal communication plays an important role in primates’ social interactions. This young naturalists set out to study how gorillas... Article A Behavioral Test to Examine the Evolution of Color Vision in Vertebrates Did you know birds have better color vision than humans? But what about sheep? This young naturalist used a behavioral assay to compare... Article Superabsorbant Hydrogels: A Study of the Most Effective Application of Cross-linked Polyacrylamide Polymers Superabsorbent hydrogels are used quite effectively in diapers and contact lenses. Can their properties be used to help conserve... Article An Analysis of the Microbial Community Associated with the Mucus of Ringed Coral (Montipora patula) A recent snorkeling visit to a favorite childhood beach raised this young naturalist’s concerns about degradation of marine ecosystems,... Article Fishing Pressure on Brown Trout Populations in Northern New Mexico Streams This young naturalist hypothesized that limited fishing would decrease the average age of fish found in a stream and increase the... Article Marching Hazard This young naturalist decided to test the field where she practiced with marching band after it was designated as an EPA site. See... Article Feeding Habits of Aves of Northern Illinois This young naturalist worked with a local nature center to help them collect data about which types of seeds and feeders best attracted... Article The Effectiveness of Botanical Extracts as Repellents Against Aedes aegypti Mosquitoes Beyond the nuisance factor, mosquitoes can pose real threats to human health. This young naturalist set out to test the effectiveness...