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Natural History & Science

“Men love to wonder, and that is the seed of our science.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Annotated lists of links to web-based resources categorized by subject.

Agriculture in the Classroom
Activities, lessons, and programs for grades K-12 that teach about Arizona’s specialty crop industry. Each lesson encompasses more than one subject area and has been aligned to Arizona’s Academic Standards. Each lesson is a separate PDF file. Once you open a PDF, you can click on “bookmarks” to print the entire lesson or each individual reproducible page for the lesson.

Arizona Aquatic Nuisance Species
Informational sites to a number of nuisance species in Arizona. Several of these have been present in the state so long that they may be thought to be native.

Cotton’s Journey – The Story of Cotton
Arizona is one of the major cotton growing states. In Cotton’s Journey – A Field Trip In A Box comprehensive study unit, you will find a ‘one-stop-shop’ of cotton educational resources for learning the important basic core subjects. This integrated study unit contains everything to challenge a student. It truly is a field trip on the history, growth cycle, harvest and processing of cotton.

Desert Foothills Land Trust
Desert Awareness articles to heighten awareness and foster the conservation of the Sonoran desert and the area’s natural resources, including indigenous vegetation, wildlife of all kinds, water resources, and prehistoric sites and artifacts.

Desert USA
A comprehensive online guide to the American Southwest: Life in the Desert, Animals & Wildlife, Plants & Wildflowers, Minerals & Geology, People & Culture, and more.

Exploring Arizona’s Natural Resources
Learn about Arizona’s climate, topography, animal and plant communities in this illustrated online guide from Arizona Game & Fish. Includes self-tests.

J&R Reptile Wildlife Rescue/Relocation
Rattlesnakes of Arizona, other Venomous Snakes of Arizona, Non-venomous Snakes of Arizona, Lizards of Arizona, and other Native Creature pictures.

Natural History of Northern Arizona – Online Nature Center!
This site is organized like a “virtual” nature museum, with several “rooms” or departments to visit. You can also go on “field trips” and find information about regional resources.

Arizona Master Gardener Manual: An Essential Reference for Gardening in the Desert Southwest
Includes chapters on basic botany and plant physiology, entomology, gardening, houseplants, cacti, and much more!

The Adventure of Echo the Bat: Interactive Web Site
The Adventure of Echo the Bat introduces students to remote sensing and biodiversity from a constructivist approach through an interactive adventure. Echo migrates through Arizona, and students learn to track him using satellite imagery. Three thematic units are Understanding Light, Remote Sensing, and Biodiversity. Within each unit are lesson plans, classroom activities (including reproducible worksheets), and links to useful resources.

Arizona Desert Quest
A WebQuest about the Arizona Sonoran Desert. (The above site appears to be gone, but click here for another Arizona WebQuest, and click here for a Desert webquest.)

Arizona Game & Fish Department
Go to their “Newsroom” to read wildlife news and view a calendar of events. Learn about some Arizona non-game species under “Wildlife & Conservation.” Learn about wildlife areas and watchable wildlife under “Outdoor Recreation.” Publications, resources, a wildlife photo gallery, and educational programs can be found under “Information & Education.”

Arizona Geological Survey
Their mission is to inform and advise the public about the geologic character of Arizona in order to foster understanding and prudent development of the State’s land, water, mineral, and energy resources. Their website contains geologic maps of the state, publications and educational info, facts about local geologic phenomena (radon, arsenic, earthquakes, fissures, floods, caves, soils, mines, landslides, volcanoes, oil & gas), and links for further study.

Geology of the Southwest
Includes the three basic geologic provinces, Arizona volcanoes, Arizona volcanic fields, Arizona hot springs, Arizona electromagnetic anomalies, gems and minerals, The Painted Desert, a meteorite map, and more.

Arizona Herpetological Society
A non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation, study, and understanding of reptiles and amphibians. Their website features Snakes of Arizona, snake identification, lizard identification, and articles.

ASU’s “Ask a Biologist”
This site is designed and maintained by Arizona State University’s Life Sciences Visualization Group, as an educational resource for K-12 students and their teachers. Submit a question, read interesting articles, try an experiment, check out the links to other websites, and other fun stuff.

ASU Vascular Plant Herbarium
Interactive web tools to aid in the exploration of the flora of Arizona, including regional plant checklists with photos (searchable by common and scientific name) and a complete vascular plant image library (listed by scientific name).

Central Arizona Project (CAP)
CAP history, facts, frequently asked questions, a video tour, and a page just for kids and teachers.

Biodiversity in Arizona
A close-up look at the desert ecosystem of Papago Park in Phoenix, AZ. This essay by a 13-year-old student was an American Museum of Natural History Young Naturalist Award Winner, 1998.

Desert Biomes
Introduction to Desert Biomes and a Food Web in the Hot Desert Biome. (This page appears to be gone. If you know where it moved to, please leave a comment below – thanks!)

Desert Ecology in the Classroom
This website is intended to provide ideas and examples of concepts, lesson plans, field trips, and resources to help high school teachers teach desert ecology in the Tucson, Arizona area. Though field trip ideas and resources are local, many ideas can be used in any part of the country, and can also be adapted for use with younger students. (This page appears to be gone. If you know where it moved to, please leave a comment below – thanks!)

Arizona Wildlife
Wildflowers, trees, grasses, reptiles, birds, and mammals in Arizona.

Great Trees of Arizona
A list of Arizona trees that are considered to be of local, state, national or international significance due to their historical value, old age, extraordinary size, or being of rare/unusual species. All citizens and communities in Arizona are encouraged to become interested and involved in the preservation of The Great Trees of Arizona.

Green Frog News
A collection of science and environmental resources from across Arizona, including lesson plans for teachers and wildlife activity pages for students, published as a project of the Hohokam Resource Conservation and Development Area.

My Expedition to the Lava River Cave
This essay with a field journal focus by a 13-year-old student was an American Museum of Natural History Young Naturalist Award Winner, 2002.

Nature Study in the Sonoran Desert
A Guide to the Flora and Fauna of Arizona, USA & Sonora, Mexico.

Sonoran Desert Bees
Honeybee-related research and curriculum designed around bee-related studies, including valuable resources for all students interested in honeybees. From the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson. (If you have a better link for this page, please leave a comment below – thanks!)

Sonoran Arthropod Studies Institute
SASI’s mission is to foster an awareness, knowledge, and appreciation of all nature through the study and interpretation of the vital roles arthropods play in the Sonoran Desert ecosystem.” Based in Tucson Mountain Park, SASI conducts a number of Educational Programs with a charge of $75 for one class and $35 for additional classes.

Sonoran Desert Naturalist
A guide to nature study in southwestern Arizona. Backyard and urban wildlife, desert places, wildflower reports, flora and fauna news, an online field guide, and more.

Southwest Wildlife Rehabilitation and Educational Foundation
A non-profit organization that specializes in rescuing and rehabilitating injured and orphaned wildlife native to Arizona, educating today’s youth on the importance of native wildlife and the environment, and encouraging educational career opportunities in environmental science. Their informative website features animal facts and sounds, a photo slide show, map of the Sonoran Desert, recommended reading lists, kids games, and more. You can buy a Southwest Wildlife educational slide show on CD. Each slide show CD contains 20 high quality professionally-photographed images. Each image is followed by text with information about the slide. They also sell a Southwest Wildlife Educational Handbook on CD, which contains fact sheets on native Arizona mammals, reading list for all ages, games and puzzles for kids, animal pictures, animal sounds and much more. All proceeds from the sale of these CD’s goes toward the rescue, rehabilitation and return to the wild of native Arizona mammals.

Tucson Herpetological Society
References and resources, brochures, a printable educational coloring book for kids, teacher’s guide, “The 100-mile Circle” – a description of the Tucson area and an illustrated checklist of the herpetological fauna found there.

Astronomy

Spider’s Astronomy in Arizona Page

Astronomy and More in Arizona

Tony LaConte’s Stargazing for Everyone

Heavens-Above (previously GSOC Satellite Predictions)
Online Program at German Space Observation Centre is an excellent and easy-to-use source to obtain the latest information on satellites passing over your location tonight. After providing the program with your location for the first time, you should bookmark the page. The bookmark will then include your location so that clicking on the bookmark will automatically give the satellite data for your position.


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