May 2015

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Spring is Finally Here in the Northeast
by Roberta

Although much of the rest of the world has been warmer than normal (see NOAA Global Analysis for March 2015), the Northeast has been persistently cool for January-March (5oC cooler than average over this period).  It's been quite cold here, so Spring has taken its time in coming.  Thankfully, as I write this note, there's a long stretch of temperatures on the horizon that look pretty good to me!  The daffodils are out, the forsythia is finally in full bloom, and it looks like lilacs will be coming out soon.  Hurray!

Last month, a new study came out that you may be interested in, by Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and his colleagues.  The study looks at the impact of meltwater from Greenland in the North Atlantic, and has identified an indication of a slow-down in the thermohaline circulation of 15-20%.  Since this has been difficult to identify in past analyses due to a paucity of data, even though this slow-down is expected from climate model results, the result is troubling in its implications. A number of news articles have come out about this result, including this one from the Washington Post

  Site and Science News

Earthquake in Nepal

On April 25, a magnitude 7.8 earthquake (referred to as the Himalayan earthquake) occurred 48 miles northwest of Kathmandu, the capital city of Nepal that is home to nearly 1.5 million people. The earthquake flattened homes, buildings, and temples, causing widespread damage across the region. The death toll attributed to this earthquake has climbed above 5,000, with at least 11,000 injured. Both of these numbers are expected to rise as humanitarian aid reaches into more remote regions.

The earthquake triggered a major avalanche on the south slopes of Mt. Everest, located approximately 99 miles east-northeast of the epicenter. The avalanche destroyed the base camp, where climbers were waiting for a break in the weather to ascend the mountain. According to reports, the avalanche killed at least 17 people and injured 61 others, making it the most lethal day on the mountain to date.

Numerous aftershocks and heavy rain have made rescue efforts very challenging. Still many nations are reaching out to this stricken region. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the earthquake, and also to those who are working so hard to help the victims.

Hazards like earthquakes are a natural part of Earth's processes. Learning more about how and why they happen, especially after such an event, can be a helpful way to connect students with our planet. And it is, of course, a reminder that the human experience and natural sciences are, perhaps, not so far apart.

The IRIS web site has excellent resources for teachers related to earthquakes, including a Nepal Earthquake Teachable Moments Powerpoint presentation for use with middle school, high school, or college students. You can also turn to Windows to the Universe to learn more about earthquakes, including where earthquakes occur and why they happen.

Hubble Turns 25!

The Hubble Space Telescope has just celebrated its 25th anniversary. Hubble, the world’s first space telescope, was launched on April 24, 1990, aboard the space shuttle Discovery. In its quarter-century in orbit, the observatory has transformed our understanding of our solar system and beyond, and helped us find our place among the stars. 

Celebrate Hubble by viewing (and showing your students) an image released to celebrate Hubble's 25th Anniversary - a brilliant tapestry of young stars flaring to life that truly resemble a glittering fireworks display. View the image (shown as thumbnail to above) in high resolution and read more about how the image was captured.

“Hubble has completely transformed our view of the universe, revealing the true beauty and richness of the cosmos” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. “This vista of starry fireworks and glowing gas is a fitting image for our celebration of 25 years of amazing Hubble science.”

Thunderstorms and Tornadoes Becoming More Prevalent as Weather Warms

This is a good time of year to explore the atmospheric conditions that create persistent squall lines that form over the U.S. central plains when cool, dry Canadian air masses collide with warm moist air from the Gulf of Mexico.  Near the ocean, the Great Lakes, and mountains, uneven heating of land surfaces can produce spectacular afternoon thunderstorms announced by crackling thunder, life-threatening lightning, hail, tornadoes, and flash flooding.  Sharing information about thunderstorm and tornado safety with your students is very important.

March was a very quiet month for severe weather, but April definitely saw a surge of severe weather activity as the U.S.'s surface temperatures were on the rise and warm air masses were occurring more often. In early April, tornadoes threatened much of the central U.S. (like Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Kansas, Illinois, and Missouri). And even as I write this, severe storms are pummeling Texas, causing power outages, flooding, and other damage.

With storms becoming more prevalent, stay abreast of all weather warning and watches with NOAA's National Weather Service web page.  They list detailed and up-to-date weather warnings for all 50 states.

The weather section of Windows to the Universe provides information about thunderstorms and tornadoes, explains how tornadoes form, and tells how meteorologists forecast when and where tornadoes will occur.  In addition, our Tornado in a Bottle activity provides a great way to illustrate tornadoes for your students.

New Desktop Application Has Potential to Increase Asteroid Detection, Now Available to Public

A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers and citizen scientists. Analysis of images taken of our solar system’s main belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter using the algorithm showed a 15% increase in positive identification of new asteroids.

“The Asteroid Grand Challenge is seeking non-traditional partnerships to bring the citizen science and space enthusiast community into NASA’s work,” said Jason Kessler, program executive for NASA’s Asteroid Grand Challenge. “The Asteroid Data Hunter challenge has been successful beyond our hopes, creating something that makes a tangible difference to asteroid hunting astronomers and highlights the possibility for more people to play a role in protecting our planet.”

Astronomers find asteroids by taking images of the same place in the sky and looking for star-like objects that move between frames, an approach that has been used since before Pluto was discovered in 1930. With more telescopes scanning the sky, the ever-increasing volume of data makes it impossible for astronomers to verify each detection by hand. This new algorithm gives astronomers the ability to use computers to autonomously and rapidly check the images and determine which objects are suitable for follow up, which leads to finding more asteroids than previously possible.

The desktop software application is free and can be used on any basic desktop or laptop computer. Amateur astronomers may take images from their telescopes and analyze them with the application. The application will tell the user whether a matching asteroid record exists and offer a way to report new findings to the Minor Planet Center, which then confirms and archives new discoveries.

Meteor Showers and Halley's Comet

This year, the Eta Aquarids meteor shower will peak during the early morning hours of May 5-6. Unfortunately, the moon will be in a bright waning gibbous phase, which will diminish the numbers of meteors that can be seen. Optimal viewing will occur in the relatively dark skies an hour or two before dawn.  Some Eta Aquarid meteors may be visible for a few days before and after May 6, due to this shower's broad peak.

The Eta Aquarids and the Orionid meteor shower in October are the results of Earth passing through the debris left behind by Halley's comet.  This famous comet is named after English astronomer, mathematician, and physicist Edmond Halley, who had suggested in 1705 that the comet observed in 1531, 1607, and 1682 was the same one, and predicted its return every 76 years.

Halley's comet has actually been observed since 240 BC and is next scheduled to return in 2062.  During its last appearance in 1986, the Giotto mission and several other spacecraft flew past the comet and collected a wealth of data on its different regions.

Mt. St. Helens Recap - 35th Anniversary

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens eruption. To mark the May 18, 1980 eruption, the USGS has started publishing daily recaps of the events leading up to this historic eruption on its USGS Volcanoes Facebook page. Images from the volcano and the immediate area are also included. This is an excellent way for you to take a moment at the beginning of class (or at the end of the period) to provide your students with a historically important Earth Science event. You might have students take a moment to use the Internet to check out the current status of the volcano and determine if another eruption is coming soon.

Rachel Carson's Birthday

May 27th is the birthday of Rachel Carson (1907-1964). She was born on a small farm in Pennsylvania, and began writing stories about animals when she was 8. Carson started her career as a marine biologist, and then switched to full-time nature writing. In the 1950's, she wrote several bestselling books about life in the ocean, as well as many articles. Later, Carson became interested in environmental problems, and in 1962, she published her most influential and controversial book Silent Spring, warning about the dangers of the indiscriminate use of pesticides. The heated debate around the book resulted in the creation of the presidential commission on pesticides and the eventual ban on DDT. Silent Spring inspired a grassroots environmental movement that eventually led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and to a new level of environmental awareness.

Safe Sun Exposure

If you're outdoors this spring, it's easy to avoid sun overexposure. Use a sunblock of SPF 30 or higher. Remember, the sun in April is as strong as the sun in August, even if the air feels cool. Get more sun safety tips from the EPA.

Fewer Trees, More Disease!

Many of us have heard about how deforestation is contributing to climate change, and that it's causing irreparable damage to local environments around the world.  Did you know that it's also a major factor in the rise of new infectious diseases?  As forest environments are transformed into farms, roads, fields, and cities, people are brought into contact with plants, animals, and other species that they have never seen before.  Many of these new species, like bats, apes, and some rodents, carry diseases that can also affect people, and when people enter their environment they are exposed to those diseases.  Unfortunately, many of these diseases are extremely dangerous, and we often have a very limited ability to treat them, so they become public health problems.

There are many examples of diseases that have arisen and spread at least in part because of deforestation and the urbanization of rural areas.  Some of the most prominent ones in recent years include malaria, HIV, monkeypox, and various viral hemorrhagic fevers including Ebola, Marburg, and Lassa fevers.  None of these can be cured easily, and all are potentially fatal.

Emerging infectious diseases are a potent reminder that as humans move into new areas and change the ways land is used, there are often unforeseen consequences.  You can learn more about deforestation and climate change by following links from this page.

Use these links for more detail:

Factors in the Emergence of Infectious Diseases
Forests and Emerging Infectious Diseases of Humans

The Highs and Lows of Weather Maps

As I write this, there is a tremendous low pressure system working itself across North America.  It stretches from Canada to Texas!  The area around it on the weather map is various shades of green dotted with yellow, red, and pink.  The low pressure system is marked with several red L's.  Behind that system are three blue H's.  No green around those H's!

Weather maps can be fascinating to study!  They certainly are ever-changing.  By studying weather maps, you can be better prepared for what weather is coming your way.  Here's a very basic pressure system briefing for those of you who aren't atmospheric scientists.  If you see a red L on a weather map, that represents a low pressure system.  In general, a low pressure system will bring clouds and possibly precipitation.  Heavy rain around a Low is marked with dark green on most weather maps, light rain is marked green, fog is marked in yellow, flurries are marked in grey, ice/snow are marked in pink, and very heavy rain combined with hail is marked in red. Finally, white means moderate-heavy snow!

If you see a blue H on a weather map, that represents a high pressure system.  This High will bring with it good weather, i.e., clear skies.

Follow the links above to find out more about the connection between these pressure systems and the weather they bring!

Resources for Teaching about Biogeochemical Cycles

What does a frog in a swamp have in common with a limestone rock?  It's the same thing that they have in common with a blade of grass and the air in a balloon.  They all contain atoms of carbon!

Certain elements, such as carbon and nitrogen, move through the living and nonliving parts of the Earth system.  The movement of these elements is known as the biogeochemical cycles.  They are a great way to emphasize to students that the Earth is an interconnected system because these elements travel through the biosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and the geosphere.

Windows to the Universe includes many resources for teaching about biogeochemical cycles - from classroom activities to online content and interactives.  These resources are highlighted for educators on the page:  Resources for Teaching about Biogeochemical Cycles.

Classroom Activity about the Solar System

Are you going to end your year by teaching about space, the solar system, stars and galaxies?  If so, check out the Great Planetary Debate Activity.  It has students work in groups of two to research a given planetary body in the solar system.  The students will then "defend their planet/moon" while competing against other teams in a Great Planetary Debate.  This is a great alternative to the solar system report, poster board or travel brochure you may have used before.

I used this activity in my high school Earth science classes, and I have to say that students were more excited about this Debate than about any other activity we did during the year!

Taking a Field Trip Soon?

Use our Snapshot Exercise to have your students write about a select moment of the trip.  We have a simple page for elementary school students where they can write down as many words as they can think of that have to do with what they see, hear, smell and touch.  For middle-high school students, we have a large list of sensory adjectives that would be helpful in writing their snapshot!

This activity makes your field trip or outing more meaningful and addresses Standards of being able to communicate effectively about science.

Earthquake Education Resources

A major earthquake causing widespread devastation and extensive loss of life struck the nation of Haiti on January 12, 2010. Our thoughts go out to all those affected by the earthquake, and also to those who are working so hard to help the victims.

The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.0 on the Richter scale. Haiti is on the island of Hispaniola in the Caribbean Sea. Hispaniola lies along the boundary between the North American and Caribbean tectonic plates and there are several geologic faults running through the region. The earthquake occurred in an area called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden fault zone.

Hazards like earthquakes are a natural part of Earth's processes. Learning more about how and why they happen, especially after such an event, can be a helpful way to connect students with our planet. And it is, of course, a reminder that the human experience and natural sciences are, perhaps, not so far apart.

The IRIS web site has excellent resources for teachers related to earthquakes, including a Powerpoint presentation for use with middle school, high school, or college students. You can also turn to Windows to the Universe to learn more about earthquakes, including where earthquakes occur and why they happen. And for a hands-on plate tectonics experience, try the Snack Tectonics activity with your classes. In this activity, students make tasty models of plate tectonic motions and then eat the evidence!

  Calendar of Events

2015 International Year of Soils

Six thousand members strong, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) is a scientific organization that aims to support geoscience teaching and learning about soils.  This AGI member society provides an educational resources web page that includes lessons, activities, fun facts, information about soil disciplines, and soil definitions for the novice soil scientist.

This year, the SSSA is coordinating with the Global Soil Partnership and other organizations around the world to celebrate the 2015 International Year of Soils and raise awareness and promote the sustainability of our limited soil resources. During the International Year of Soils, SSSA will have monthly themes that reflect the diverse value of soils to our natural environment and society. Each month will have information on the theme (May's is Soils Support Buildings/Infrastructure), a lesson plan, and other outreach activities. Visit the International Year of Soils page for more information and to sign up to receive monthly lesson plans.

NASA, Honeywell Bring Hip-Hop Education Show to Northeast U.S. Schools - Spring 2015

This year marks the 11th anniversary of FMA Live! Forces in Motion, an innovative collaboration designed to ignite students' interest in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

FMA Live! is a high-energy live show that features actors, hip-hop dance, music videos, interactive scientific demonstrations, and video interviews with NASA scientists to teach Sir Isaac Newton's three laws of motion and universal laws of gravity.  The name of the show comes from Newton’s second law of motion:  force = mass x acceleration. 

"This innovative collaboration between NASA and Honeywell has been immensely successful over the past decade," said Donald James, NASA’s associate administrator for Education. "The combination of exciting, NASA-unique content and a dynamic stage performance is a proven formula for helping students grasp the fundamentals of physics. Together, we are inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers."

The show is currently touring Northeast U.S. schools.  A similar schedule is slated for the Midwest U.S. this fall.

May is American Wetlands Month: Learn! Explore! Take Action!

May is American Wetlands Month, a time when the EPA and its partners in federal, state, tribal, local, non-profit, and private sector organizations celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to the Nation's ecological, economic, and social health.  It is also a great opportunity to discover and teach others about the important role that wetlands play in our environment and the significant benefits they provide - improved water quality, increased water storage and supply, reduced flood and storm surge risk, and critical habitats for plants, fish, and other wildlife.

The EPA encourages all Americans to consider doing the following to help celebrate the month, wherever they reside:  learn about wetlands, explore a wetland near you, and take action to protect and restore wetlands.

May is Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the United States.  Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer.  UV radiation can also come from tanning booths or sunlamps.  The most dangerous kind of skin cancer is called melanoma.

The good news?  Skin cancer can almost always be cured when it’s found and treated early.  Communities, health professionals, and families can work together to prevent skin cancer or detect it early on.

Use the month of May to spread the word about strategies for preventing skin cancer and to raise awareness about skin cancer.  How can you help?

National Drinking Water Week - May 3-9, 2015

National Drinking Water Week is May 3-9th!  We all need to do our part to make sure all of Earth's inhabitants have clean, readily available drinking water.  

Each American uses about 100 gallons of water per water, save energy, save the environment!  Choose WaterSense labeled products in your home, yard, and business and take simple steps to save water!  Learn about WaterSense and what you can do today!

Use these links to find out more and to do your part to be informed, observant, involved, and protective!

Teacher Appreciation Day (May 5) and Week (May 4-8th)

Teacher Appreciation Day is coming soon - May 5, 2015.  Use the whole week of May 4-8th to thank the teachers in your life.  We are so grateful for all of the teachers we serve, work with and interact with each year!  

Educators truly make a difference in our lives and the lives of our children!  Visit the Teacher Appreciation web site for creative ideas that honor educators.

World Asthma Day - May 5, 2015

May 5 is World Asthma Day, an annual event organized by the Global Initiative for Asthma (GINA) to improve awareness of asthma around the world.  Asthma is a chronic disease of the lungs, in which airways become repeatedly inflamed and swollen, leading to difficulty in breathing.  It is quite common, affecting nearly 10% of the developed world’s population.  Although there are effective treatments available for asthma, its cause is not known and there is no cure.  Asthma is typically made worse by poor air quality, and those who suffer from the disease are often very sensitive to pollution in the atmosphere.

On the GINA website, you can read more about World Asthma Day, find resources about asthma prevention and management, and find activities in your community that you can participate in.  Participate in World Asthma Day to show your support for the large community of people who are affected by this disease!

Free Ocean Classroom Webinar: Virtual Professional Development - May 5 and May 6, 2015

The ocean covers most of the earth and is vital to all life on the planet. No matter where you live, the ocean influences your life – the air you breathe, the food you eat, your local weather, and much more. Ocean Classrooms provides a pathway into marine science. Using the ocean in an engaging and important context, this webinar provides an integrated exploration into STEM education and our roles and responsibilities in caring for the sea.

The webinar will be offered on Tuesday, May 5 and Wednesday, May 6. To sign up for this webinar and learn more about Ocean Classrooms Professional Development Opportunities, visit Ocean Classrooms Professional Development.

Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) - May 10-15, 2015

Intel ISEF is the world's largest international pre-college science competition and will be held May 10-15, 2015, in Pittsburgh, PA.  It is the premier global science competition for students in grades 9–12.  Each year more than 1,700 high school students from over 70 countries, regions, and territories display their independent research and compete for more than $5 million in awards.  We encourage you to visit the Intel ISEF homepage to learn more, view the Recent Results page for information about past Intel ISEF award winners, and check out all the latest pictures from the event on Facebook.

Bike to Work Day - May 15, 2015

May 15, 2015, is National Bike to Work Day.  The League of American Bicyclists, who also promotes Bike Week and Bike Month during the month of May, started national Bike to Work Day.  Since its origin, this day has grown and developed into a nationwide event.  Local, regional, and national bicycle advocacy groups participate to encourage people to commute to work using a bicycle.  There are even pit stops along some bicycle routes that provide cyclists with snacks and drinks!

Join thousands of other Americans for Annual Bike to Work Day.  Whether you are environmentally conscious or just love the exercise, biking to work is a great way to avoid the commuter traffic and stay in shape!

Endangered Species Day - May 15, 2015

President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law on December 28, 1973.  Our legislators understood that, without protection from human actions, many of our nation's living resources would become extinct.

What are some ways that you can help protect endangered species?  Celebrate Endangered Species Day on May 15, 2015, by attending an event, preserving wildlife habitats, or cleaning up the outdoors where you live.

5th Annual National Kids to Parks Day Event – May 16, 2015

The 5th Annual National Kids to Parks Day is on May 16, 2015.  The National Park Trust created National Kids to Parks Day to empower kids to discover and enjoy parks in their community.  The Day's goal is to inspire healthy outdoor recreation and to cultivate future park stewards.  Over 210,000 people have pledged to go to a park that day - will you?

National Kids to Parks Day is officially in support of the First Lady's Let's Move Outside! initiative.

Please visit the Kids to Parks Day website where you can find resources on how to plan your outing!

Hurricane Preparedness Week - May 24-30, 2015

National Hurricane Preparedness Week 2015 runs from May 24th through May 30th.

History teaches that a lack of hurricane awareness and preparation are common threads among all major hurricane disasters.  By knowing your vulnerability and what actions you should take, you can reduce the effects of a hurricane disaster.  Each day will focus on a different topic like hurricane basics, storm surge, winds, flooding, forecasting hurricanes, planning and taking action after the storm.  Are you ready?

Earth Science Week 2015 Theme Announced: "Visualizing Earth Systems" - October 11-17, 2015

The American Geosciences Institute (AGI) is pleased to announce that the theme of Earth Science Week 2015 will be "Visualizing Earth Systems." 

Earth Science Week 2015 learning resources and activities will engage young people and others in exploring ways of visualizing Earth systems. Using technologies ranging from on-site data collection to satellite-based remote sensing, scientists investigate conditions of Earth systems. And today's geoscientists display their findings in charts, graphs, diagrams, illustrations, photos, videos, computer-generated animations, and 3D-printed creations.

"With this theme, Earth Science Week explores what it means to see our planet through eyes informed by the geosciences," says Geoff Camphire, AGI's Manager of Outreach. "Geoscientists are finding innovative ways to not only examine natural phenomena, but also present that information to professional, educational, and other audiences. In addition to tools such as telescopes and microscopes, we also can view and map changes in natural systems through new avenues such as computer games, smartphone apps, and online videos."

Earth Science Week 2015 will be celebrated October 11-17. For more about this week and ways to get involved -- including newsletters, local events, and classroom activities -- please see the Earth Science Week web site.

Webcast Details 'Focus Days' Of Earth Science Week - October 11-17, 2015

What does Earth Science Week 2015 have in store for you? Each day during the week, you can focus on a different area of Earth science. Go online today to view a new webcast about the "Focus Days" of this year's celebration:

* International EarthCache Day (Sunday, October 11)
* Earth Science Literacy Day (Monday, October 12)
* No Child Left Inside Day (Tuesday, October 13)
* National Fossil Day (Wednesday, October 14)
* Geoscience for Everyone Day (Thursday, October 15)
* Geologic Map Day (Friday, October 16)
* International Archaeology Day (Saturday, October 17)

This free webcast, narrated by AGI Outreach Assistant Katelyn Murtha, provides an overview of opportunities, activities, and resources available. The roughly four-minute tutorial includes a wealth of online links, which viewers can click during the presentation to review available resources.

To view the webcast, visit In the coming months, look for additional webcasts on Earth Science Week 2015: "Visualizing Earth Systems." To learn more about Focus Days, go to

  Other Announcements

Kamikaze Typhoons Spared Japan from Kublai Kahn

In a small lake along the Japanese coast, scientists have found evidence of turbulent waters centuries ago. These telltale signs of severe weather in the geologic record support the legend of the two kamikaze typhoons that protected Japan from Mongol invasion. EARTH Magazine follows University of Amherst geoscientist Kinuyo Kanamaru and his research team as the dig up history in search of signs of the storms. Read more in a new story from EARTH Magazine at Kamikaze Typhoons Spared Japan from Kublai Khan.

Space Math @ NASA

Are you looking for a way to bring math into your geoscience curriculum?  Check out the Space Math @ NASA posted by Sten Odenwald from NASA Goddard.  To date, there are almost 700 problems posted!  Problems range from upper elementary to high school level, and use math to solve real problems in the Earth and space sciences!

Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures Now on YouTube

The Astronomical Society of the Pacific is happy to announce that the Silicon Valley Astronomy Lectures, featuring noted scientists giving nontechnical illustrated lectures on recent developments in astronomy, are available on their own YouTube Channel at:  AstronomyLectures.  There are many different talk topics covered such as how the discovery of Eris led to the demotion of Pluto, the possibility of multiple universes, black widow pulsars, and discussion about if we can survive a bigger impact than the Chelyabinsk Meteor?

The lectures are taped at Foothill College near San Francisco, and are co-sponsored by NASA's Ames Research Center, the SETI Institute, and the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

Note that the top page of the channel shows the lectures in the order they happened to be uploaded to YouTube.  If you want to see them in chronological order, select the Playlist option.  Both new and older talks in the series will be added to the channel as time goes by.  Many noted astronomers have given talks in this series since its founding in 1999; recent lectures are being recorded so that people around the world can "tune in" and learn more.

Free Water Cycle Poster for Kids

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for students in elementary and middle schools.  It is available in Spanish and a number of other languages.  To view or print a copy of this poster go to

Flying Wild: An Educator's Guide to Celebrating Birds

Flying WILD's focus on migratory birds is designed to inspire young people to discover more about the natural world.  It encourages students to get involved in activities that promote environmental learning and stewardship.  The Flying WILD program places special emphasis on reaching urban schools with student populations that traditionally receive few opportunities to participate in environmental education initiatives.

The Curriculum Guide's many activities can be used to teach classroom lessons or to initiate service-learning projects that help birds and improve natural habitats.

Project Learning Tree Blog

If you’re like most educators, you want your students to have a deep understanding of the environmental issues in our country – but if you’re like most educators, you probably also have difficulty incorporating environmental education into a classroom schedule that’s already packed. And with the proliferation of new standards, your job isn’t getting any easier.

Project Learning Tree works to support teachers like you by creating environmental education materials and curriculum resources that link with existing educational mandates, such as the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, National Social Studies Standards, as well as state-specific learning standards.

With Project Learning Tree, you can help your students develop the knowledge, critical thinking skills, and leadership they will need to tackle the environmental problems of the future – all while enhancing student achievement.  Please visit the PLT blog to see what curriculum resources and activities might fit your needs and teaching standards.

Project Noah

Project Noah is an online and mobile location-based application that encourages people to reconnect with nature by documenting local wildlife. The tool harnesses the power and popularity of smart phones to collect important ecological data and help preserve global biodiversity.

You can earn patches, identify wildlife, go on missions and become a citizen scientist. Join today!

VHub - Volcano Resources

VHub is a site for collaborative volcano research and risk mitigation.  Use the Resource Warehouse to locate a plethora of quality educational resources including posters, crossword puzzles, slide shows, factsheets, and activities.  This is your one-stop free shop for all things volcanic!

Climate Literacy & Energy Awareness

The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN) is a wonderful community with more than 500 different teaching resources on climate, climate change, and energy.  These resources (including classroom activities, experiments, and visualizations) are reviewed by educators and scientists, and are annotated and aligned with standards and benchmarks, making it easy to locate the best resources to meet your needs.  Make climate literacy and energy awareness a priority in your classroom by visiting the CLEAN web site.

Table of Contents


Earthquake in Nepal
Hubble Birthday
Help Detect Asteroid
May Meteor Shower
Mt. St. Helens Recap
Rachel Carson
Safe Sun Exposure
Fewer Trees,Disease!
Weather Maps
Biogeochem Cycles
Great Planet Debate!
Writing-Field Trips

2015 Year of Soils
FMA Live!
May Wetlands Month
Prevent Skin Cancer
Drinking Water Week
Appreciate Teachers!
Asthma Day - 5/5
Free Ocean Webinar
Intel ISEF 2015
Bike to Work Day
Endangered Sp Day
Kids to Parks Day
Hurricane Prepare
ES Wk Visualize OCT
ES Wk Webcasts

Space Math @ NASA
Si Valley Astronomy
Free H2O Poster
Flying Wild
PLT Blog
Project Noah
VHUB - Volcano















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