FACTS ON FILE: SCIENCE ONLINE - A comprehensive, curriculum-oriented overview of a broad range of scientific disciplines, with extensive definitions, essays, diagrams, biographies, and experiments, as well as links and suggested searches to related topics. If you're using SCIENCE ONLINE on your home computer, you'll have to enter your name, library card barcode, and PIN to begin.
GREENFILE - A collection of scholarly, government and general-interest titles covering all aspects of human impact to the environment. Includes content on global warming, green building, pollution, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, recycling, and more. For high school and up. If you're using GREENFILE on your home computer, you'll have to enter your name, library card barcode, and PIN to begin.
Air Quality INTERACTIVE - Animations teach you about ozone and particle pollution, and the 'Smog City' simulation game helps you see how individual choices, environmental factors and land use contribute to air pollution. Includes FAQs and links to more information about ozone, particle pollution, and the Air Quality Index; middle school and up. There is a related site for younger kids INTERACTIVE, from kindergarten through age 10. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
American Indian Responses to Environmental Challenges - Shows how four Native American communities are responding to environmental challenges in their homelands. (2011, National Museum of the American Indian)
AP Environmental Science Online Course - An online text on environmental science concepts; high school and up. (2010, Dr. Peter Saundry, Johns Hopkins University)
BioGraphic VIDEO - 'A multimedia magazine created to showcase both the wonder of nature and the most promising approaches to sustaining life on Earth.' Videos, articles, photos, infographics and opinion pieces on wildlife, places, systems, people, discoveries, and solutions. (California Academy of Sciences, a museum and scientific institution)
Climate Change Links - Selected links on global warming / climate change. (South Plainfield Public Library)
Earth & Environment Classroom Resources - A selection of high quality websites on earth science and environmental science, for teachers and students, K-12; grade level varies for individual resources; expect a few broken links (National Science Foundation).
Environmental Facts VIDEO - Fact sheets, pictures and videos on a wide range of environmental topics, such as wildlife, energy, climate change, water, rainforests, and sustainability, as well as practical advice on what you can do to help the environment. Separate sections for kids and teens. (Young People's Trust for the Environment, UK)
Environmental Health Science Kids Page - Science resources, games, stories, and other fun stuff to help kids in grades K-8 learn about the environment & your health, pollution, recycling, and the world around you. For students in all grades, there is a related Environmental Health Science Education page with links to resources on human health & environment topics (2002 - 2016, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences). See also Tox Mystery INTERACTIVE, an interactive lesson about toxic substances commonly found in and around the house; middle school (U.S. National Library of Medicine). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control website offers several useful Environmental Health Infographics on air pollution, developmental disabilities, children's environmental health, lead poisoning, and more.
EPA Student Center VIDEO - Links to resources on a wide range of environmental issues mostly for middle school. Homework help section covers air, climate change, ecosystems, energy, health, water, and recycling. Also includes games & quizzes, community service project ideas, awards & contests, teacher resources and more. High school and up, see Environmental Topics. (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency)
Extinction AUDIO - This site reviews five past eras in world history when mass extinctions took place, provides information on recently extinct & currently threatened species, and explains why it's so important to protect biodiversity and save endangered species. High school and up (2011, Endangered Species International, non-profit organization). For recent updates on extinction, see Extinction Countdown (Scientific American Blog Network; site includes advertisements).
Garbology INTERACTIVE - An interactive online game that teaches about Garbology and answers the question, ''Where should my waste go?'' Also includes resources for teachers, students and families, including lessons & activities on related topics, from how to pack a waste-less lunch to getting the dirt on composting, and a Trash Talk blog for stories of Garbology in practice (NatureBridge; non-profit environmental education organization). Recycle City INTERACTIVE has an online game and other fun activities to help you find out about how people can recycle, reduce, and reuse waste; middle school and up (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). The History of Trash video VIDEO reviews how waste & trash were handled in the 18th & 19th centuries, more recent systems & laws governing waste disposal in New Jersey, and what you can do to help keep NJ communities clean & beautiful; for middle and high school students (New Jersey Clean Communities).
Global Warming - See Climate Change Links.
Highland Avenue Woods Environmental Education Reserve and Friends of the Woods - See South Plainfield Environmental Commission and related links.
Journey to Planet Earth: Extreme Realities VIDEO - Companion site for the ongoing PBS series that looks at the delicate relationship between people and the world they inhabit, and investigates the link between extreme weather, climate change, and threats to our national security. The Educational Resources include full transcripts of each episode, educator guides & lesson plans, and interviews with experts. Hosted by Matt Damon; high school and up (2014, PBS/Screenscope, Inc. Video clips hosted on YouTube). For more environmental resources, see Climate Change Links.
National Wildlife Foundation: Family Fun - A collection of fun activities for kids of all ages, searchable by age, season, animal, type (craft, outdoor, recipe, song), or subject (camping & hiking, observing wildlife, musical instruments, costumes & masks, science, plants & flowers, etc.). Nature Detectives offers a searchable collection of printable activity sheets to inspire you with outdoor (and some indoor) play ideas for different seasons. Elementary and middle school (Woodland Trust, UK). See also Kids & Nature links on our Parenting & Family page.
Nature VIDEO - Companion to the PBS TV series on natural history. You can view full episodes of NATURE programs and find related online features. (WNET Thirteen; site includes advertisements). Middle school and up.
NOAA Education Resources NEW! - Lesson plans & activities, articles, videos & other media, real world data, career profiles and other learning resources. Covers oceans & coasts, climate, weather & atmosphere, marine life, and freshwater. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
New Jersey Environmental Digital Library VIDEO - An online library of environmental literature and multimedia related to New Jersey; includes documents and reports, scientific studies, photographs, videos, maps, and more. High school and up. (Rutgers)
Recycling - See Garbology and related links, above.
South Plainfield Environmental Commission and related links - Links to the Commission's Facebook page with updates and news about upcoming events at Highland Woods, as well as other environmental news & events for South Plainfield, plus links to other local environment & nature resources.
Sustainability AUDIO - Radio news stories covering a wide range of current topics in environmental sustainability, including energy, water resources, food production, and climate change. High school and up. (American Public Media; site includes advertisements)
Waste Disposal - See Garbology and related links, above.
Web Rangers Nature Activities INTERACTIVE - Learn about having fun and staying safe outdoors. Also includes features on dinosaurs, tree rings, bald eagles, and more. For elementary school through high school (National Park Service). [NOTE: Cookies must be enabled to use this site.]
Your Big Backyard is now part of National Wildlife Foundation: Family Fun, above.
BeachKids [NOTE: Archived page; some media features may not work.] - Explains what a beach is, what kinds of pollution threatens beaches, and what you can do to help protect them. Also includes safety tips, games, and links. Middle school (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). See also Ocean links, below.
Beyond Penguins & Polar Bears - Stories that explore the environment of the polar regions; for grades K-5 (Ohio State University et al.).
Biomes and Ecosystems - Detailed material on biomes and freshwater & marine ecosystems; for middle school and up. Click on a biome or ecosystem, then use the menu at the left to get more information. Click on a picture for an enlarged view; middle school and up (2002, Missouri Botanical Garden). Enchanted Learning Biomes / Habitats provides brief information for upper elementary and middle school students, with descriptions, pictures, and printouts of the animals that live in the biomes; elementary school (2000; site includes advertisements). The World's Biomes describes the major biomes, their importance, and how they are being threatened by human activity. Photos included; high school and up (University of California). World Wildlife Habitats briefly describes a variety of habitats such as grasslands, islands, forests, wetlands, deserts, mountains, & polar regions, and some of the wildlife each one supports; middle school and up (World Wildlife Fund).
The Dirt on Soil INTERACTIVE - Every plant and animal depends on this vast hidden ecosystem. On this site you can 'Dig into this underground universe and meet its tiny but helpful residents.' Middle school and up; expect broken links (2001, DiscoverySchool.com / Eduweb; site includes advertisements). Soil Basics offers a brief overview about soil; click on 'Soils by Subject' to find out about soil formation, biology, chemistry, mineralogy, and more; or select other subjects from the top menu bar. High school and up (2012 - 2017, Soil Science Society of America). See also Dig It! The Secrets of Soil VIDEO INTERACTIVE for middle school and up (2008, Smithsonian), and Adventures of Herman the Worm, below, for younger kids.
Ocean Portal VIDEO - Explores 'everything ocean' - ocean life & ecosystems (marine animals, coral reefs, beaches, mangroves), planet ocean (tides, waves, ocean floor), the ocean through time (ancient seas, fossils, evolution), conservation issues & solutions, and more. Includes videos, blog, and resources for educators (2017, Smithsonian Institution). Ocean Today NEW! VIDEO presents the beauty and mystery of the ocean realm captured on video around the globe; select a tab to choose Danger Zone, Exploration, Fix the Ocean, Go Fish, or Marine Life. See NOAA Education Resources, above, for related resources (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). Ocean Topics offers up-to-date articles on climate change, coastal science, ocean life, marine pollution, polar research, and other subjects (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution). See also Aquatic Animals, below.
Rainforest Resources INTERACTIVE - Articles, stories, interactives, coloring pages, and other resources on rainforest plants, animals, and people; age level varies (Rainforest Alliance).
Rivers - Learn all about the basics of rivers, how they are formed, and how they change over time. For elementary and middle school students. (University of Illinois Extension)
Tides and Water Levels - Explains what tides are, what causes them, tidal frequencies, variations & cycles, measurements & monitoring, and more. High school and up. (2008, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
Water Cycle for Kids INTERACTIVE - An interactive diagram showing how water is cycled through our environment; choose beginner, intermediate, or advanced version, and click on a label to explore any phase of the cycle. See also The Water Cycle UPDATED LINK! for high school and up (2017, U.S. Geological Survey). Thirstin's Water Cycle INTERACTIVE is an animated interactive lesson on the water cycle; for elementary school students (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). For information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and activities, see Water Science School UPDATED LINK!; age level varies (2017, U.S. Geological Survey). What Is a Watershed? UPDATED LINK! explains watershed basics, including the water cycle, groundwater, stormwater, conservation and more (Borough of South Plainfield and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection).
Dogs: Wolf, Myth, Hero & Friend [Link opens a PDF] - This teachers' guide explores domestic dogs and their wild cousins, plus glossary, activities, and recommended reading; most of the links are broken. (2003, San Diego Natural History Museum)
The Horse VIDEO - Online exhibit exploring the history and biology of horses, and the relationship between horses and humans. (2009, American Museum of Natural History)
Pet Care: ASPCA - Advice on caring for common household pets, including dogs, cats, horses, and small pets such as birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and gerbils (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). See also Pets links on our Parenting & Family page.
Working Dogs - Describes different kinds of working dogs, including chemical explosive dogs, narcotic detection dogs, search & rescue dogs, and service & therapy dogs. Click on an item in the picture to choose a topic (Federal Bureau of Investigation). See also CIA K-9s (Central Intelligence Agency) and Service Animals links.
Biomes & Habitats
Autumn Colors UPDATED LINK! [Link opens a PDF] - Explains the chemical reactions that cause leaves to turn colors in the fall. High school and up. (2017, Chemistry Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, University of Wisconsin)
Biology of Plants - Step-by-step explanations of how plants grow, make food, reproduce, and adapt to the world around them. Well illustrated; middle school and up (2006, Missouri Botanical Garden).
Budburst Buddies INTERACTIVE - An outdoor learning activity 'designed to engage elementary school students in making simple observations of how plants change during the growing season... kids can undertake their own scientific investigation that includes making observations and reporting them online.' Older students who want to participate may register online at Project Budburst, a national field campaign for 'citizen scientists' to help collect important climate change data, based on the timing of leafing and flowering of trees and flowers. (University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, The Chicago Botanic Garden, University of Montana, et al.)
Endangered Plants: New Jersey - Information on hundreds of threatened & endangered plants in New Jersey. See All Protected Plants for links lists of threatened & endangered plants for the U.S. and all other states (1995 - 2016, U.S. Department of Agriculture).
Pollinators - 'Pollinators are responsible for assisting over 80% of the world's flowering plants. Without them, humans and wildlife wouldn't have much to eat or look at!' This site provides general background information on pollination, plus facts & photos for individual pollinators such as bats, butterflies, moths, flies, birds, beetles, ants, and bees. Also includes Pollinator News. High school and up. (U.S. Forest Service)
Science of Gardening VIDEO INTERACTIVE - 'Like all great endeavors, gardening is both a science and an art. Whether you're growing carnivorous plants, cash crops, or giant pumpkins - or even if you're just trying to keep a few houseplants alive - see how the plants we tend feed our bodies, our minds, and our senses. Middle school and up (2009 - 2014, Exploratorium Museum). See also Garden-Based Learning and related links.
Soils - See The Dirt on Soil and related links, above.
Tree Planting: Plant a Tree the Right Way [Link opens a PDF document] - Basic instructions for planting a tree (2007, N.J. Department of Environmental Protection).
USDA Plants Database - Basic facts and images for all kinds of plants found in the U.S., with optional searches for threatened / endangered, culturally significant, or invasive / noxious plants. Searchable by common or scientific names; high school and up. (U.S. Department of Agriculture)
Wildflower Information - Pictures, descriptions, and other facts about wildflowers. (Sponsored by a wildflower seed company; site includes advertisements)
Biomes & Habitats
Adventures of Herman the Worm - Learn all about the history, anatomy, habits, and importance of worms in our soil. For elementary and middle school students. (University of Illinois Extension)
Amphibian Q & A - Answers to frequently asked questions about amphibians (frogs, salamanders, caecilians), such as 'Will you get warts if you touch a toad?' and 'Why are frogs slimy?' (2013, Burke Museum, University of Washington).
Animal Communication Project - Information about communication among different types of animals, including cephalopods, insects & spiders, fish & frogs, birds, dolphins & whales, elephants & hippos, cats & dogs, and monkeys & apes; also includes info on research in the field. High school and up (2013, by science writer Stephen Hart).
Animal Diversity Web AUDIO - Type the name of an animal in the 'Search ADW' box for detailed information on geographic range, physical characteristics, food, reproduction, habitat, behavior, economic importance, and conservation information for individual species. Excellent pictures for most species, and audio recordings for some. Click on a small picture for an enlarged image. High school and up (University of Michigan). See also Zoo Animals, below.
Aquatic Animals: Monterey Bay Aquarium VIDEO - Facts, photos, and live web cams of aquarium animals, as well as activities. Wonders of the Seas provides interesting information with good pictures on different kinds of sea life, including sponges, mollusks, echinoderms (starfish), whales, sharks, and more. See also Jonathan Bird's Blue World VIDEO series (2009 - 2017, Oceanic Research Group, non-profit organization and Jonathan Bird Productions). Marine Mammal Center has facts on marine mammals including seals, sea lions, sea otters, whales, dolphins, porpoises, and manatees. Choose Pinnipeds, Cetaceans, or Sea Otter from the lefthand menu (or the links in the article) to find out more about those groups and species. Middle school and up (Non-profit organization). See also Ocean Portal, above.
ARKive VIDEO - High-quality videos, photos, and educational materials to help you 'discover and learn about the world's endangered animals, plants and fungi... what they look like, what makes them special and why we should protect them.' (Non-profit organization)
Bats: Why Bats? VIDEO - An introduction to bats, covering benefits, threats, myths, and fun facts. (2015, Bat Conservation International, non-profit organization).
Bioluminescence: Creatures of Light VIDEO - Animals that can produce light are called bioluminescent. This site explores the world of amazing glow-in-the-dark animals like fireflies, jellyfish, flourescent corals, and others; for middle school and up (2012, American Museum of Natural History).
Bird Guide: All About Birds AUDIO VIDEO offers descriptions, facts, sounds, photos, and distribution maps for each bird, plus bird cams and other information about birds and birding. The related Bird Academy NEW! VIDEO INTERACTIVE website features an interactive Wall of Birds INTERACTIVE to explore the diversity and evolution of birds, with additional videos, interactives, articles and more; online courses are available only to paid subscribers. For middle school and up (Cornell University).
Bugs - See Insects links, below.
Butterflies and Moths of North America UPDATED LINK! - This searchable database of butterflies and moths in the United States and Mexico includes dynamic distribution maps, photographs, and species descriptions, plus links to information on butterflies around the world. For high school and up. There is a related website for younger students, the Children's Butterfly site (Butterfly and Moth Information Network; site includes advertisements). See Butterfly FAQ; use the left-hand menu to find more information about butterfly anatomy, metamorphosis, evolution, ecology and more (2010, American Museum of Natural History).
EEK: Environmental Education for Kids VIDEO - EEK's Critter Corner includes facts and photos of many common and endangered animals, plus fun features. Middle school and up. (1998 - 2015, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources)
Endangered Species: Wild Animal Factsheets - Facts and photos on about 75 of the more well-known wild animals such as polar bears, tigers, whales, gorillas, etc. (Defenders of Wildlife)
Insects: PestWorld for Kids VIDEO INTERACTIVE includes a guide to bugs and other pests, games, and additional learning materials for elementary & middle school students (2014, National Pest Management Association / Eduweb). Bug Review provides basic facts & photos of many common insects (University of Illinois). A related site, Let's Talk About Insects, is designed to help students ages 9-11 learn how insects grow and develop, and learn the importance of insects in our environment (University of Illinois). Invasion of the Bloodsuckers focuses on blood-feeding species such as bedbugs, fleas, lice, mosquitos and ticks (2014, Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History). Featured Creatures provides in-depth profiles of insects, nematodes, arachnids and other organisms; mostly for high school and up, with an educational page for K-6 (University of Florida and Florida Department of Agriculture). See also Pollinators, above.
Journey North VIDEO - A sampling of stories, pictures and video clips about nature, wildlife migration and seasonal change. Covers monarch butterflies, robins, hummingbirds, whooping cranes, gray whales, and more. For all ages. (Annenberg Media)
Macauley Library AUDIO VIDEO - A large collection of recorded wildlife sounds and videos. You can search the site by species name, or browse by animal group. (Cornell University)
Mammals [ARCHIVED SITE] - Explains how mammals differ from other animals, and also describes the different mammal groups, various mammal adaptations, and biomes & niches. For elementary and middle school students (2006, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County). Extreme Mammals VIDEO introduces you to an assortment of amazing and bizarre mammals; middle school and up (2009, American Museum of Natural History). The UCMP Hall of Mammals explores the fossil record, life history & ecology, systematics, and morphology of mammals; high school and up (2009, University of California).
Marine Life - See Aquatic Animals, above.
Respect Wildlife - General advice on observing wildlife (Boy Scouts of America). To get more detailed advice on animal tracking (for advanced trackers), see Princeton University Outdoor Action Program [Links in Table of Contents are broken! Scroll down the page to see the relevant sections, or open the tracking.pdf and trackcard.pdf files linked below 'Guide to Animal Tracking'.] (1996 - 2010, by Rick Curtis). National Wildlife Federation's Family Fun page [Scroll down the page to search for activities by subject and/or age group] offers instructions on observing wildlife, as well as other fun outdoor activities for kids of all ages.
Sea Life - See Aquatic Animals, above.
Spider Myths - Explains all about 'Myths, Misconceptions, and Superstitions About Spiders', plus links to additional resources. (2003-2010; By Rod Crawford, Curator of Arachnids, Burke Museum, University of Washington)
Zoo Animals: San Diego Zoo Animals A - Z AUDIO - Wildlife descriptions, conservation info, fun facts, and photos. See San Diego Zoo Kids VIDEO INTERACTIVE for more info and fun features. National Zoo: Meet the Animals offers facts & photos on a wide variety of animals. Middle school and up (Smithsonian National Zoo). Sea World Animal Information AUDIO VIDEO has in-depth information on selected animals species and issues (not just sea animals); quick information and fun facts about animals; animal sounds & videos; Q & A about animal life, zoological careers, & conservation issues; and more!