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Earth Day

Whereas: Planet Earth is facing a grave crisis which only the people of Earth can resolve, and the delicate balances of nature, essential for our survival, only can be saved through a global effort, involving all of us...

-- From the Earth Day Proclamation, June 21, 1970

Included: Three dozen links to sites about ecology and the environment.

On April 22, the world will celebrate Earth Day. The brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a Wisconsin senator concerned about the deterioration of the environment, Earth Day was conceived as a nationwide environmental "teach-in" to focus public attention on environmental issues.

The idea was a spectacular success; more than 20 million people around the world participated in the first Earth Day celebration on April 22, 1970, joining in such events as neighborhood clean ups, tree planting, environmental fairs, and demonstrations against a variety of environmental threats. Because of those efforts, Earth Day 1970 became known as the largest organized public demonstration in history.

The impact of that first Earth Day, moreover, was felt long after the day's activities were over. Many important pieces of environmental legislation in the U.S., including the Clean Air Act, the Water Quality Improvement Act, the Water Pollution and Control Act Amendments, the Resource Recovery Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Toxic Substances Control Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Federal Environmental Pesticide Control Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act were enacted in the ten years following that first Earth Day.

Much more still needs to be done, however, to ensure the health and the future of Earth. The sites will help you make today's students aware of the dangers of neglecting the environment and of their responsibility for maintaining it.

Endangered Earth
This site, which is still growing, provides information about many of Earth's endangered animals. Visitors can explore endangered animals by region (Asia, Africa, and the Americas) on the Endangered Earth Tour, download photographs and view videos of endangered animals throughout the world, and learn about a variety of conservation efforts, including those that are working and those that aren't. The site features an endangered animal of the week, with photographs of the animal, an explanation of the reasons for its endangered status, and information about efforts to save it.

EnviroLink, a non-profit online community, provides links to a huge variety of environmental news and information. Search by topic -- ranging from Agriculture Pollution to Wildlife Sanctuaries -- or by category -- including organizations, articles, general information, publications, educational resources, and more -- to find a comprehensive list of up-to-date environmental information. Two examples of the vast number of educational resources listed, for example, include "material designed to provide Texas educators with the background, activities and resources to teach the subject of air quality in the classroom," and "an interactive, Web-based study guide to help educators in grades 4-8 teach about the ocean and the life within it."

EPA for Kids
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has developed four Web sites designed to provide environmental information and activities for students in preschool through high school -- and for their teachers. The Teaching Center offers background information and curriculum resources and activities on environmental topics, as well as information about grants, awards, workshops, and conferences related to environmental education. The Environmental Kids Club, for kids in preschool through grade 4, offers information about such ecology basics as air, water, waste and recycling, plants and animals, and the environment. The E.P.A. Student Center, for students in grades 5-8, includes additional information about the environment, ecosystems, health, waste and recycling, and water, as well as environmental careers, projects, awards, and activities. High school students can explore such environmental issues as global warming, acid rain, hazardous waste, conservation, and ecological indicators at the High School Environmental Center.

Kids Do Ecology
Designed to help kids in upper elementary grades and middle school learn about ecology, this NCEAS (National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis) site contains information about careers in ecology, world biomes, marine animals, conservation projects, and more. Visitors also can explore the site's field trip pages and conduct scientific experiments. The site also includes a teacher page, and links to additional ecology related sites for students, teachers, and scientists.

NIEHS Kids' Pages
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences maintains this entertaining site containing a variety of ecology related resources and activities. Kids can play a variety of online games, including the Toxic Waste River Rafting Game, the Vericomposting Game, and the Minsearch Game. Coloring pages, stories, sing along songs, and brainteasers, riddles, and jokes also are included, as well as information about hot environmental topics, careers in health and science. and "Kids Making a Connection" Stories. And, if you don't find what you're looking for here, you're sure to find it at one of the additional links the site provides.


For even more great sites for teaching and learning about the environment, visit the Earth Science area of Education World's Site Reviews Archives.