The field of environmental science strives to understand the complex systems of the natural world and the effects of human actions upon it. Use the Environmental Science Web Guide
to learn the basics of environmental science and stay up to date on news and developments in the field. Students will find resources for learning about issues in environmental science, and teachers will find sites to help them teach the subject. Educators: Sign up for our education newsletter.
Though environmental issues are in the news, on the world stage and at our grocers, the basic science of it all can be confusing. Use the sites below to explore the basics of environmental science.
- The domain of environmental science is not completely defined, and includes many smaller disciplines. As a result, most related Web sites focus on more specialized areas within environmental science, such as atmospheric science, oceanography, Earth science/geo-sciences, environmental health, environmental biology, environmental chemistry, environmental economics, ecology or environmental law.
- Environmental science is one area of science that is very prone to politicization. As such, you should always try to understand the institutional origins of the information you find online. For more information on evaluating Web sites for credibility and partiality, see the findingDulcinea Guide to Web Search.
For an overview of environmental science …
Earth News and Earth Forum sections keep you up to date with the latest in environmental science. Visit the Encyclopedia of Earth
for an in-depth, user-friendly reference that includes illustrations and wiki-based articles written and peer-reviewed by experts in the field.
Environmental Literacy Council
is a nonprofit that aims to help teachers provide the tools that students need to “develop environmental literacy.” Navigation can sometimes be tricky on this site, so use the categories on the left to explore the different aspects of our environment. You’ll find recommended resources that include links to related sites, maps, laws, “viewpoints” and even classroom resources.
For official government resources and agencies …
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
acts as the U.S. government’s steward of the sea and air. Navigate the site using the graphic icons in the upper-right corner of the page; content is neatly organized by the ecosystems and activities regulated by NOAA. You’ll find NOAA news, research information and links to NOAA organizations
, such as the National Weather Service.
Environmental science is a booming field for young scientists and is taught at the earliest stages of school. There are many sites on environmental science for kids designed to educate and entertain children, introducing basic concepts to young ones and helping older kids with their school projects.
- Many educational sites for kids use plug-ins for multimedia content and games. Visit the sites below before your child does to ensure you have all the software necessary for them to function properly.
- For older children, there are many sites that offer guidance with projects, but they are not substitutes for original work. Environmental science is most often a hands-on endeavor. Impress on your child that online study aides are just that: aides, and not answer centers.
- The sites recommended here are all free but there are also many great science sites for children that charge fees for use, including the popular BrainPOP Jr. Talk to your child’s teacher about setting up discounted school or class accounts.
For young kids …
PBS Kids Go
is the collective site for PBS’s various kids programs, a number of which are focused on environmental science, wildlife or ecology. Help your kids explore the different sites and take advantage of the games and animation, all with the usual PBS quality and energy.
EPA Environmental Kids Club
is the gateway to a number of state and federal government environmental education Web sites for young children. Though most of the sites don’t feature the latest in Internet technology, they are functional, interactive and informative.
For older children and young adults …
The GLOBE Program
(Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) unites students, teachers and scientists on collaborative learning projects. To join the vast number of amateur scientists around the world contributing to our understanding of the environment and earth, start by exploring the pages for students
or take a look at past projects
. You’ll find help with data collection and organization, classroom projects and more.
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
(NIEHS) is a government organization that studies how the environment impacts human health. The student section links to numerous homework-helper sites and activity sites, including full interactive Web pages, downloadable publications and videos, each tagged for its appropriate age range. Don’t miss the Summer Opportunities
section for information on internships and summer jobs in the field of environmental health.
Ask A Scientist
is a Web site of the U.S. Department of Energy. This simple but informative site has been online since the early 1990s. Browse nearly 20 years of archives, or submit your own question. All questions are answered by environmental and earth science experts.
EHP Science Education Program
offers free downloadable lessons on various aspects of environmental health, based on research and articles published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. The lessons integrate the disciplines of environmental science, biology and medicine for high school students. Use the Download
button at the top of the page to get all the lessons.
Environmental science involves many different disciplines, and is very research- and project-based. For these reasons, teaching the subject can be quite a bit of work. Luckily, you’re not alone. There are a number of helpful resources for environmental science teachers online.
- Though there are many free resources for educators online, there is also an equal or greater number of fee-based education aides. Most of these materials have pricing plans that offer discounts to educational institutions, including school districts, individual schools and even homeschoolers.
- When using materials found online for a public purpose, such as in an educational setting, it’s always wise to make sure you understand the requirements of any copyrights the creator holds. For more information on copyright law, see the findingDulcinea Free-use Media Web Guide.
National Environmental Education Foundation
promotes awareness of environmental issues and science to professionals in the field and the public at large. Its Classroom Earth
program highlights the top resources for educators, including home-school and after-school resources. Some of the resources highlighted require a fee.
Environmental Literacy Council
has a large collection of various teaching resources aimed to improve students’ environmental literacy. Visit the “For Teachers
” page for a long list of teaching aides and plans appropriate for a high school course in environmental science.
Rustle the Leaf
is the online home of the environmental activism comic strip of the same name. Go to “Monthly Lesson Plans
” for an extensive archive of environmental and ecology lesson plans for varied age ranges, all downloadable as PDF files. Expect an environmental activist’s perspective and an often biting tone in the comic strip.
For college-level teaching resources …
Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology
is an efficient, peer-reviewed site for undergraduate level ecology faculty. Find each volume of the online publication available in full for free, with articles on teaching issues in the field, complete materials of data set research projects for student assignments, and editorials and reviews.
Green Energy TV
is the YouTube for alternative energy, providing an easy way for teachers to bring professional video clips about green energy technology to the classroom.
Environmental science is a fast-moving field and a hot topic in the news. There are plenty of sites devoted to the latest developments in the science, the politics and the innovations of this booming field. Here we recommend some environmental science news and blogs to keep you up to date.
- Many print publications put article abstracts online for free but require a paid subscription for full access. Ask the librarian at your school or university, or your employer, if they hold an institutional subscription; often this will allow you access for free.
- Not surprisingly, the environmental science blogosphere is dominated by climate science and climate change. But that’s by no means the limit of environmental science. If you’re having trouble finding what you’re looking for, refine your search by focusing on a specific issue or region, as many environmental blogs are specialized and/or locally focused.
- Many bloggers maintain a list of their favorite blogs in a sidebar, called a blogroll, that will lead you to similar or related blogs. This is a great way to further explore the mass of blogs far too big to list here. For more on how to find and evaluate blogs (and start your own), check out the findingDulcinea Blogs Web Guide.
For environmental science news …
brings an immense number of stories to the fore each day. Look for news and feature articles, multimedia and book reviews. The journalism and presentation are both top-notch.
brings you some of the more interesting and engaging science news online. Read the featured stories or scroll down to find more news stories of interest. Visit the site’s Global Warming
section for extensive coverage of the topic.
is a punchy, youthful-looking site with a great range of features and integrated multimedia. Find news and commentary plus special features.
Environmental Health News (EHN)
is a news aggregator. Most of the links go to the original news source or peer-reviewed journals, but EHN also publishes synopses of environmental health articles and research.
For environmental science academic publications and journals …
Environmental Health Perspectives
is a monthly journal published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Its Web site is a bit awkward to navigate but is nonetheless an excellent source of peer-reviewed research and news. The journal is also available in Chinese
Environmental Science & Technology
is a blend of research, news, reviews and analysis. The Web site goes beyond its print version with the “Articles ASAP
” section, bringing you polished but as-yet unpublished (in print) research. Read abstracts of current articles (and in some cases, complete articles) for free, or purchase access to archived articles.
For environmental science blogs …
focuses solely on the latest in climate science, steering clear of politics and policy. This no-nonsense group blog is written by 11 climate scientists. Browse entries using the index
page or scroll down the right side of the homepage to view categories. For background on climate science, click the start here
button at the top.
is penned by two professors of environmental economics with occasional academic guest bloggers. Focusing on the economics of the environment, it takes a somewhat different look into environmental issues than most blogs out there, which tend toward activism. Use the categories (scroll down the left side to find them), or explore further with the rich blogroll and link list. For some background on the field, read Environmental Economics 101
The Natural Patriot
reads like a magazine, and has enough pretty pictures to be one. Written by Emmett Duffy, a topics editor for the Encyclopedia of Earth, this blog covers the full domain of environmental science news with information-rich posts that are highly readable. Check out NP’s essential reading list
for recommended books.
The Oil Drum
addresses the elephant in the environmental room: the problem of oil, specifically that of peak-oil (the point where it starts running out). Written by economics and energy experts from a scientific research perspective, this blog addresses issues in energy science, policy and the future of global energy.
Environmental science is expanding rapidly in both the professional and academic sphere; a number of degrees are available through an even greater variety of university programs, and the opportunities for a career in the field are even more diverse. Use the sites below to find the right environmental science education and career opportunities.
- Though you might think of activism when you imagine the typical environmental job, the bulk of environmental science careers are research-oriented. Environmental scientists are most often employed in the nonprofit, governmental or academic arena.
For an overview of the environmental science field …
Ecological Society of America
is one of the oldest ecological organizations in the country, acting as a vital connection between environmental scientists and students. The site’s student resources page introduces the educational and professional opportunities available in ecology. Find out what it takes to become a certified ecologist
and learn what job opportunities
exist depending on experience and education.
To find a job in environmental science …
is a popular Internet hub and meeting place for socially responsible professionals, companies, activists and enthusiasts, but is primarily known for its quality job listings. Though the jobs listed on this site range well beyond environmental science, you can use the search tool to narrow your results. You’ll also find tools to connect you to events, volunteer opportunities and like-minded people.
Environmental Career Center
is a simple but effective site that aims to help those in environmental fields find jobs and educational programs. Users will find educational program listings, job listings and a résumé builder and management tool. Employers can post open positions and search members’ résumés. Both job seekers and employers must register (for free) to gain full access.
Environmental Protection Agency's
career page has information on academic and professional opportunities with the government in environmental fields. Look for jobs, explore internship opportunities and graduate programs, and more.
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