2012 Winning Essays

Part of the Young Naturalist Awards Curriculum Collection.

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.

Article Testing Water Quality Near a Public Landfill A landfill dump near his home had been closed for years, but was there still a risk of chemicals lingering in the groundwater? Article Comparison of a Parrotlet’s Seed Preference A visit to her best friend's house inspired this young naturalist to learn more about parrotlets. Article Selective Territoriality Among Foxes The gift of a game camera led this young naturalist to discover wildlife in his own backyard. Article 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, but that didn't stop this young naturalist from embarking on a 25 stream study. Article Using Plant-Based Biofilters to Purify Household Wastewater This ecologically minded young naturalist tested the effectiveness of plant-based filters at removing key pollutants from wastewater. Article An Analysis of the Effects of a Wildfire on the Biodiversity of Wildlife in Southern Arizona This young naturalist set out to determine which species were most affected after wildfires consumed a million acres of Arizona forest. Article The Effect of Oil and Its Dispersants on the Eastern Oyster, Crassostrea virginica The Deepwater Horizon oil spill devastated to the ecology of the Gulf and spurred potentially destructive relief efforts, including... Article Biochar Carbon Sequestration: The Effect of Feedstock and Particle Size on Physical and Chemical Stability Learn about its multiple benefits of biochar, and what this young naturalist learned when she decided to investigate it. Article The Effect of Coprophagous Beetles (Coleoptera: Scarabaeidae, Geotrupidae, and Hydrophilidae) on Methane Emission Rates and a Six-Month Species Com... This young naturalist hit the farm pasture to see firsthand if dung-eating beetles could help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Article Pumpkin Purifier: Removal of Toxic Metals from Water Using Curcurbita Agricultural Waste This young naturalist wanted to develop an environmentally-friendly way to purify agricultural wastewater—using pumpkins. Article Genetic Analysis of the Brown, Brook, and Tiger Trout Populations in the Lake Champlain Basin This young naturalist wanted to know if declining populations of native brook trout were due in part to mating with non-native species. Article The Prevalence of Ophryocystis elektroscirrha Infections in the Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus): A Study of the Protozoan Parasite in a Wild P... This young naturalist wanted to know if parasitic infection rates in wild, garden-dwelling monarchs were higher than migrating monarchs. Article Effects of Urbanization on Cutaneous Bacteria as Inhibitors of the Amphibian Fungal Pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis Intrigued by Eastern Redback salamanders, this young naturalist was inspired to research the worldwide amphibian decline.