Young Naturalist Awards Contest

The Young Naturalist Awards, a program from the American Museum of Natural History and sponsored by Alcoa Foundation is a research-based essay contest for students in grades 7 – 12 to promote participation and communication in science.

Students who enter conduct their own investigations on a topic in the field of biology, ecology, Earth science or astronomy. They plan their own scientific expeditions during which they identify questions, form hypotheses, collect data, make observations, and draw conclusions Students present their findings in narrative essays that include illustrations, photographs, maps, graphs, and bibliographies.

The essays are judged by a panel of Museum scientists, docents, environmentalists, and science teachers. All students who enter will receive a personalized letter from the judges providing constructive feedback that highlights the strong points of their research. Winners of the contest (two from each grade) win cash scholarship awards (from $500 to $2,500), and an expense-paid trip to New York City to meet Museum scientists and attend an award ceremony. Their essays are published on the Museum s Web site.

New updates to the Web site provide strategies and tips that can be used by teachers who want to integrate the Young Naturalist Awards into their science curriculum or by teachers who run science clubs. Student guidelines take them step-by-step through the research process. Complete contest guidelines, entry information, prize categories, and the essays of past winners can be found at:

For more information contact:

Young Naturalist Awards Administrator


American Museum of Natural History

Central Park West at 79th St.

New York, NY 10024-5192

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