Big prize for a young naturalist

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By Roger Snodgrass

Nathan Clements, a thoughtful 15-year old student at Los Alamos High School, was honored with a Young Naturalist Award on May 29 in New York City.


“There’s a lot of competition,” he said Friday, back from an extended trip to the East Coast. “But if you put the effort into it and follow the outline they give you, it’s a very rewarding and exciting contest.”


He was one of 12 students selected in the nation-wide competition for middle and high-school students, presented by the American Museum of Natural History and supported by the Alcoa Foundation.


Clements won for his project, “Fishing Pressure on Brown Trout Populations in Northern New Mexico Streams,” based on his research in the Valles Caldera National Preserve last fall.


The purpose of his project was to try to determine if the fish were healthier in a stream that was fished than in an unfished stream.


His findings were modest, including a conclusion that “Fishing pressure does not appear to affect the length, weight, age, or condition of brown trout in northern New Mexico streams.”


But his meticulous approach, methodology and clarity of expression impressed the judges.


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