Magazine article Natural History

Young Naturalist Awards

Magazine article Natural History

Young Naturalist Awards

Article excerpt

A research-based essay contest for students in grades 7-12 to promote participation and communication in science

Following in the tradition of scientific expeditions, the American Museum of Natural History's Young Naturalist Awards program, now in its ninth year, encourages students in grades 7 through 12 to hypothesize about the natural world while exploring close to home-in their backyards, nearby ponds, or woodlands. The resulting essays are judged on research methods, analysis, and clarity of writing.

Below are the names of the 2006 winners and the inspiration for their essays, with the titles shown in bold. Full texts, along with the contest guidelines, are available at naturalistawards.

Shocked by a headline in her local newspaper, "Health Menace Lurks in Lakes," 7th grader Rachel Jones wondered about the health of a lake near her Orlando, Florida, home. The result was her paper, Toxic Algae: A Threat to Florida Waters?

Curious why two mockingbirds chose to nest near a busy road, close to his and other homes, 7th grader Ryan Wham of Woodland, Texas, conducted An Analysis of Mockingbird Nesting Behavior in Residential Areas.

In Waterworks: A Purification Process, Kendra Guerrero, an 8th grader in San Angelo, Texas, searched for an inexpensive way to make drinking water safe after reading about contaminated water problems in Haiti.

The smell of oil and "gooey soil" on his shoes when he walked behind a defunct refinery pushed 8th grader Kyle Ressel of Duncan, Oklahoma, to pursue A Study of Claridy Creek: Water Pollution and the Effects of Phytoremediation on Contaminants.

Jeffrey Fan, a 9th grader in Plainsboro, New Jersey, noticed that one section of a local pond was more polluted than another, so he embarked on an Investigation of Water and Soil Quality Upstream and Downstream in a Pond Environment.

After 9th grader Max Schneck learned his little sister was to be tested for lead, he looked into the possible threat posed by the expressway near their Dix Hills, New York, home in Lead Levels in Residential Soil in Proximity to a Superhighway. …

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