2013 Winning Essays

Part of the Young Naturalist Awards Curriculum Collection.

The  Young  Naturalist Awards essays, by students in grades 7 through 12, ranged from a study of mammalian species in an urban, fragmented area, to the investigation of a river’s health, to studies centered on methods for  improving biofuel yield.

Article A Study of the Effectiveness of Deer Repellents on the Eating Habits of White-tailed Deer Deer grazing on the family’s plants and shrubs motivated this young naturalist to find a solution. Article Urban Birds in Central Park Spotting a red-tailed hawk near her home lead this young naturalist to investigate how birds live in a city environment. Article Weed Warfare: Investigating Allelopathy This ecologically-minded young naturalist tested the effectiveness of using one invasive plant species to control another. Article Bacterial Activity in Different Water Sources: A Sequel Comparative Study This young naturalist wondered if bacteria cultured from a deep aquifer were less harmful than bacteria found in lake water. Article Floating Docks Provide Footing for Exotic Marine Species: Differences in Dock Substrate Types Within a Coastal Pond This young naturalist wondered if the material that floating docks are made of affected the number and density of invasive species. Article Troubled Waters: An Analysis of Water Quality and Biota in the West Prong of the Little Pigeon River Concerned for the health of a river, this young naturalist conducted water quality studies along the river’s route. Article Significantly Increasing the Concentration of Cellulosic Ethanol Using Cedecea davisae Can ethanol, a fuel source made from plant matter, replace fossil fuel? See what this young naturalist’s experiments found. Article Manipulating Mutant Chlamydomonas reinhardtii strains in Hydrogen production: A Novel Source of Renewable Energy Learn what this young naturalist discovered when she created hydrogen fuel using green algae. Article The Effects of Soil Nitrogen Content on the Caloric Investments of the Carnivorous Plant Drosera capenis This young naturalist wanted to know if carnivorous plants capture more insect prey when there are insufficient soil nutrients. Article The Effects of Heat-Shock Therapy on the Immunity of Hard Clams With Quahog Parasite Unknown Disease This young naturalist tested whether heat shock treatments would decrease a parasitic disease in infected New England clams. Article Analysis of the Composition of Mammalian Species in an Urban, Fragmented Area in Southern California A love of animals led this young naturalist to study the effect of urbanization on mammal species in two different habitats. Article Optimizing Algae Biofuels: Applied Natural Selection to Improve Lipid Synthesis This young naturalist wanted to create an algae strain with higher than normal oil content to offset biofuel production costs.