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Science Reference Services (Science, Technology, and Business Division)

Earth Day: Selected Resources

Research guides from Science Reference Services:
You can find links to these from The Science Reference Services Website at

Other resources from the Library of Congress

Links to other organizations

Heart shaped photo of students in water, pulling up plants.  Text reads Earth Day Every Day
Students, park staff and volunteers removing invasive species from a constructed wetland and replanting it with native mangroves at American Memorial Park, on the island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. National Park Service Website.


Living and working sustainably

Ecosystems: climatology and weather

Ecosystems: flora and fauna

Geography and geology

For Students

Special Topic: Eco, Learning and Adventure Travel

The following links take you to a few of the resources for travel that emphasize ecological, learning and adventure experiences.

Ecotourism ... Cultural & Learning Vacations ... Transportation Options


The International Ecotourism Society defines ecotourism as "responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people ... " Many ecotourism destinations have Websites about ecotouring their areas. Search using "ecotourism" and the location of interest. Companies that sell outdoor gear often provide adventure and ecotourism travel. Search their Websites for the schedules and trip descriptions.

Poster showing fire, sunset clouds, water and earth as the background, and the slogan,   "There's no place like earth."
NASA's Glen Research Center's logo and slogan for Earth Day
Center for Sustainable Destinations - National Geographic Society
A rich resource for travelers and travel professionals. Links to the Society's traveler's blog, eco-tips, listings for green accommodations, transportation, culture and heritage travel, and ecotours.The International Ecotourism Society (TIES)
TIES seeks to be the global source of knowledge and advocacy uniting communities, conservation, and sustainable travel. The mission includes: creating an international network of individuals, institutions and the tourism industry; educating tourists and tourism professionals; and influencing the tourism industry, public institutions and donors to integrate the principles of ecotourism into their operations and policies.

A directory of hotels that are making an effort to be environmentally friendly. Listings are made by the interested public, who submit resorts, hotels, bed and breakfasts and hostels and provide user ratings and comments. While not comprehensive, it has many listings.

Cultural & Learning Vacations

This category can include foreign language study and immersion programs, agritourism (farm and ranch stays), cultural exchange programs, and a host of other learning experiences to have while on vacation.

AFS Intercultural Programs
AFS (formerly the American Field Service) offers international exchange programs in more than 40 countries around the world through independent, nonprofit AFS Organizations, each with a network of volunteers, a professionally staffed office, and headed up by a volunteer board. It works primarily with high school students. The mission of AFS-USAA is to work toward a more just and peaceful world by providing international and intercultural learning experiences to individuals, families, schools, and communities through a global volunteer partnership.

Agritourism World
Agritourism involves land based farms or businesses that offer recreational and educational experiences to the public  Wine tasting, farm stays, country bed and breakfast inns, dude ranches, gift stores with special products and corn mazes are some examples of agritourism. This site provides directories, a blog, and other information about agritourism.

CIEE is a non-profit, non-governmental international exchange organization which works "to help people gain understanding, acquire knowledge, and develop skills for living in a globally interdependent and culturally diverse world." Offers study abroad, teach abroad, internships and faculty development seminars.

"An international non-profit network that connects travelers with locals in over 230 countries and territories around the world. Since 2004, members have been using our system to come together for cultural exchange, friendship, and learning experiences."

EF (Education First) Educational Homestay Programs
Arranges for groups of students from one country to travel to selected cities in the U.S. to live with volunteer host families and learn about American culture first hand. Most programs offer daily language and culture lessons that are combined with fun afternoon activities, as well as some optional weekend excursions. Most programs offer daily language and culture lessons that are combined with fun afternoon activities, as well as some optional weekend excursions.

Eurolingua Foreign Language Institute
Provides unique opportunities to learn foreign languages in the countries where they are spoken. It offers a range of language programs for individuals, school groups, and businesses throughout Europe, North America, Latin America, Caribbean, South Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Their Website has a directory of programs by country.

Farm Stay US
This agritourism site lists farms and ranches in the United States where you can vacation. Activities for guests can range from educational tours to hands on participation in things such as cattle roundups, soap making or tending crops.

Foreign Language Resource Centers (LRCs)
There are fifteen LRCs at US universities, established by the US Department of Education. Mostly for educators, some information is useful for the student.. An example is North American LCTL Course Listings database with locations for courses in the "Less Commonly Taught Languages (all human languages with the exception of English, French, German, and Spanish.)"

Hostelling International
Hostelling International is the brand name of more than 90 Youth Hostel Associations in 90 countries, operating 4,000 hostels.

Language Immersion Summer Camps
Although there are too many organizations to list here, you can search on "language immersion summer camps" to zero in on the language, location and type of program you wish to attend.

Road Scholar (formerly Elderhostel) - Road Scholar is the new program name for Elderhostel, Inc.
Offers learning vacations to adults, with some intergenerational trips as well. "Our mission is to empower adults to explore the world’s places, peoples, cultures and ideas, and in so doing to discover more about themselves. Road Scholar programs bring together instructors and participants from diverse backgrounds to foster dynamic interaction."


Numerous bike sharing systems are available throughout the world. Most of them are in cities or on college campuses. Find them by searching for your destination area. Use terms such as bike sharing, bicycle sharing, bike rental, etc.

The Bike-sharing Blog
Provides information on the emerging public transport mode of bike-sharing. The Blog is provided by MetroBike, LLC, based in Washington, D.C., USA.

Optimizing Bike Sharing in European Cities (OBIS) Handbook
Contains three years worth of data from studying bike-sharing in 10 European counties to identify the best practices, success factors, limits and market potentials, and the optimized strategies. This guide has published in it the authors' key findings and recommendations as a comprehensive manual in the form of a handbook. Read The Bike-sharing Blog's March posting about the OBIS Final Project and Conference.Download a copy of this handbook here.

Warm Showers
"The Warm Showers Community is a free worldwide hospitality exchange for touring cyclists. People who are willing to host touring cyclists sign up and provide their contact information, and may occasionally have someone stay with them and share great stories and a drink." Website languages options include English, Portuguese, Spanish and French.

To rent a car on an hourly as well as a daily basis try companies like Zipcar (Canada, United Kingdom, United States) and Car2go (expanding worldwide.) Most of the major car rental companies now offer hybrid vehicles. Plan ahead to reserve a hybrid for your travel dates.



Special Topic: Reduce, Reuse, RecycleGraphic: earth surrounded by recycle arrows.

Online - General Lists ... Online - Specific Types of Stuff ... Recycling Centers ... Other Useful Resources

There are many guides, lists, and other resources for what and where and how to recycle just about anything you can think of; here is a short list that will easily lead you to the right one.

General Lists

Here you will find lots of ideas and places to recycle the stuff you didn’t know you could ...

How to Green Your Recycling
“For anyone looking to make recycling a more integral part of their lives, this guide is an overview of the basic legwork as well as some of the finer and more advanced concepts that have emerged in recent years.”

How to Recycle Everything (Care2)

How to Recycle or Reuse Anything (Real Simple Magazine)
Includes Recycling A to Z List, What You Can Recycle, Donate Your Used Items, and more.

How to Recycle Practically Anything (E Magazine)
No matter where you live, you can recycle a wide range of discards—aseptic juice packages, printer cartridges, ordinary batteries, iPods, PDAs, and even cell phones.

Internet Consumer Recycling Guide

Reycyling 101 – ‘Recyclopedia’ (Earth911)
List is organized by type of stuff ... Hazardous, Household, Metal, etc. Searchable by location!

Specific Types of Stuff

Most everything that can be recycled is in the guides listed above, and here are some of the more unexpected ...

50 Things You Can Recycle

How Can I Recycle This?
Click on “Archives” for items by category.

Recycling Centers

For the local area and beyond.

District of Columbia – Recycling (Dept. of Public Works – DPW)
Drop off at Ft. Totten Transfer Station.

Find A Recycling Center in Your Area

Maryland Dept. of the Environment – Recycling
Counties and Baltimore City recycle 15% or 20% of their municipal solid waste, depending on population.

Virginia Recycling Association
Each locality must recycle at least 15% - 25% of their waste depending on population.
“What, Where and How Can I Recycle?”

Virginia Recycling Centers Directory

Other Useful Resources

Metro DC area places that accept all kinds of donations.

Community Forklift
5 minutes from DC in Prince George's County.

Facebook: 1-800-Recycling
Online recycling center locations and recycling news. See also “My Recycle List” app below.

The Freecycle Network™
The Freecycle Network™ is a grassroots and entirely nonprofit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns. It's all about reuse and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by local volunteers. Membership is free.

Habitat for Humanity – ReStores
ReStores offer quality used and surplus building materials at a fraction of normal prices. Proceeds from the sales help to fund the construction of Habitat houses within local communities.

My Recycle List – Free iPhone App
Quickly find recycling locations nearby that accept items you pick from a list.


From American Memory

American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936 - Images from the University of Chicago Library.

Conservation Movement ~ Multiformat ~ 1850-1920 - The Evolution of the Conservation Movement, 1850-1920.

Ecology and the American Environment - Describes some of the important steps taken by American ecologists in studying the natural environment. The plant communities, ecological zones, and environments they researched are documented in visual form in the American Environmental Photographs Collection.

Mapping the National Parks - This collection documents the history, cultural aspects and geological formations of areas that eventually became National Parks. It consists of approximately 200 maps dating from the 17th century to the present.

Reclaiming the Everglades: South Florida's Natural History, 1884-1934 - Includes personal correspondence, essays, typescripts, reports and memos; photographs, maps and postcards; and publications from individuals and the government. Though centered on the establishment of the Everglades National Park, it covers other issues such as the evolution of the conservation movement, the growing role of women, and the treatment of native Americans.


"Avoiding the Fate of the Mayans" - The Maya civilization, at its peak, was one of the most densely populated and culturally dynamic societies in the world. But after flourishing for a thousand years, it abruptly disappeared. Thanks to Landsat satellite data and climate models, NASA archaeologist Tom Sever has gained insights into the event known as the Maya Collapse. His findings can inform our lives today.

"Big Ice Sheets Doing Big Things: Why it's a Big Deal" - A Webcast of a presentation by Bob Bindschadler, Chief Scientist, Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

Bob Ryan - The Chief Meteorologist at NBC4 since 1980 spoke about weather forecasting.

"Charles Darwin, Geologist" - A Webcast of a presentation by Sandra Herbert, one of the world's leading authorities on Darwin. She discusses her book in which she explores how geology changed Darwin and how Darwin changed science.

"The Cheetah: A Race for Survival: - Dr. Laurie Marker is the Founder and Executive Director of the Cheetah Conservation Fund, headquartered in the Republic of Namibia.

"Chicago Victory Gardens: Yesterday and Tomorrow" -  Presented by LaManda Joy, award winning gardener, blogger and founder of The Peterson Garden Project in Chicago.

"Color in the Herb Garden" - A webcast with Jim Adams, curator of the National Herb Garden at the National Arboretum.

Dinosaurs Along the Silk Road.” - James Clark, Ph.D., the Ronald Weintraub Professor of Biology at George Washington University, Dr. Clark was a co-leader of expeditions that discovered the bones of small dinosaurs mired in mud, stacked one on top of another, in the northern part of Xinjiang, China, near the ancient Silk Road. More information:

"Earth’s Water Cycle in a Changing Climate" - A presentation by Peter Hildebrand, chief of the Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

"Farming, Food Security, and Climate Change" - A presentation by Molly Brown, Senior Research Scientist, Science Systems and Applications, Inc. at NASA.

"The Folklore Behind Ecology, or Why Scientists in Ecology Need Help from Folklorists" - Dr. Daniel B. Botkin is a Research Professor at the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Botkin's Web site:

"Food Politics: What to Eat in Today's Era of Food Anxiety" - Dr. Marion Nestle, NYU professor, author and food industry critic, offered guidance on healthful food selections.

"Galileo: 400 Years of the Telescope" - Dr. Michelle Thaller, NASA astrophysicist, looked at the real Galileo, his intriguing daughter Virginia, and the personalities and politics that led to his imprisonment.

"Health Risks of Atomic Bomb Exposure" - Webcast of a presentation by Human geneticist William Jack Schull, outlining the health effects of exposure to atomic bomb radiation.

"Herbs in the Garden" - A webcast with Holly Shimizu, the executive director of the United States Botanic Garden.

"Honey Bees, Satellites, and Climate Change" - Wayne Esaias, Ocean Sciences Branch, NASA GSFC.

"Hope for Animals and Their Worlds: How Endangered Animals are Being Rescued from the Brink" - Jane Goodall spoke about her latest book.Co-sponsored with the Center for the Book.

"Hubble: A New Beginning.Dave Leckrone" - A presentation by Dave Leckrone, astrophysicist with the NASA Hubble Space Program.

"Insects and Gardens: In Pursuit of a Garden Ecology" - A Webcast with Dr. Eric Grissell.

"Observing, Fighting, and Mitigating Damage from Fires" - Compton Tucker, Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA GSFC, spoke on fire fighting and prevention using satellite imagery.

"Observing the Living Oceans from Space" - Gene Feldman, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

"On Thin Ice: The Changing Ice Cover on Polar Oceans" - A presentation by Thorsten Markus, Head of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at NASA Goddard.

"Our Sun: Its Influence on Life and Climate" - A presentation by Edward F. Guinan, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Villanova University.

"The Parking Garage and Its Impact on Urban Planning" - Shannon McDonald, A.I.A., Senior Architect at the architectural firm of Shannon Sanders McDonald. She spoke about movement issues as related to parking, transportation, environment, architecture, and urban planning.

"Peering Into the Storm: NASA's Exploration of Hurricanes." - A presentation by Dr. Scott A. Braun, research meteorologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"Preserving Africa's Threatened Wildlife: Forest Peoples and Indigenous Knowledge" - Alden Almquist, anthropologist, 2003-2004 Kluge Staff Fellow, and Albert Lokasola, President, Vie Sauvage, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

"School Gardens with Constance Carter" - A multimedia presentation with the Head of the Science Reference Section at the Library of Congress. Part of the Journeys and Crossings series at the Library of Congress.

"The Seashell on the Mountaintop" - Dr. Alan Cutler discusses his book on Nicholaus Steno, the founder of modern geology.

"Social Justice, the Environment and the Ethics of Collaboration" - Various speakers. Sponsored by the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress

"Sustainable Organic Agriculture, Family Farming, Direct Marketing of Foods" - Jim Crawford, of New Morning Farm, and Sam Fromartz, author of Organic Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew.

"A Tale of Two Gardens" - Dr. James A. Duke. A Webcast with the noted ethnobotanist, expert on medicinal plants, and author.

"Volcanoes –Near, Far and Really Far Away" - Ashley Davies, Asteroids, Comets and Satellites Group, Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

"Who Left the Freezer Door Open? What the Poles Are Telling Us about Climate Change" - Bob Bindschadler, Chief Scientist, Hydrospheric and Biospheric Sciences Laboratory, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC).

Links to other organizations

Arbor Day Foundation - The Foundation's Mission is to inspire people to plant, nurture and celebrate trees. National Arbor Day is April 30th.

Department of Energy (DOE) Earth Day Every Day

DSIRE - The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency was established in 1995. It is an ongoing project of the North Carolina Solar Center and the Interstate Renewable Energy Council (IREC) funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Earth Day Page - The DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy works to enhance energy efficiency and productivity, and to make available clean, reliable and affordable energy technologies.

The Federal Energy Management Program - This DOE program facilitates the Federal Government's implementation of sound, cost-effective energy management and investment practices. This link takes you to a poster you can print and display:

An ‘Earth Day” in the Life of NOAA - Every hour of every day, NOAA is engaged in monitoring and preserving our planet. From satellites in space to observing systems in the deep ocean, NOAA provides science, service, and stewardship of our Earth. This page gives examples of these daily activities.

Earth Day National Library of Medicine - Online resources for teachers and students at the high school and college level. National Library of Medicine resources with student-friendly information on human health and the environment, plus pollution and toxic chemicals. (PDF 238 KB)

Earth Day Network - Founded by the organizers of the first Earth Day in 1970, Earth Day Network (EDN) promotes environmental citizenship and year round progressive action worldwide. - The portal for U.S. Government Events & Information on Earth Day.

Electronic Green Journal( EGJl) Volume 1, Issue 30, 2010 - Hosted by UCLA, EGJ is a professional, peer-reviewed journal that disseminates information concerning environmental protection, conservation, management of natural resources, and ecologically-balanced regional development. It has several articles on Earth Day, its history and related subjects. The issue linked above has two articles, Earth Day 2010: Earth Day 40th Anniversary Poster and Posters about Ecology and the Environment Before and During the 1970s. Search the other issues for more information on Earth Day.

Environmental Protection Agency - The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Learn about current issues, science and technology, and laws and regulations on their site.

U.S. EPA Celebrates Earth Day - EPA's Earth Day Web site offers you many tips and fun ways to protect the environment and your health every day. Lists Earth Day events by region. Learn about the history of Earth Day. Más información en español. - EPA's site on types of fuel, improving your fuel economy, comparisons of vehicles, and information on new and future technology.

Healthy Building Network - Founded in 2000 on the initiative of leaders from the national environmental health movement, this organization works to " ... advance the best environmental, health and social practices in order to decrease, and even begin to reverse, some of the profound negative impacts of the contemporary building industry on the environment, human health and society."

The Home Energy Saver - An Internet-based tool for calculating energy use in residential buildings.

NASA Earth Day: Leading the Greening - Includes information on NASA's work, topics such as global warming and the polar caps, natural disasters, and news items. Features activities, games and a trove of satellite views of the Earth and space.

          Gateway to Astronaut Photography of Earth - From NASA, a huge online collection of astronaut           photographs of the Earth.

National Park Service - National Park Week is an annual Presidentially proclaimed week for celebration and recognition of your National Parks. National Park Week usually coincides with Earth Day (April 22). For 2012, National Park Week will be observed from Saturday, April 21 through Sunday, April 29.

Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) - PATH is a voluntary partnership between leaders of the homebuilding, product manufacturing, insurance, and financial industries and representatives of Federal agencies concerned with housing. Working together, PATH partners improve the quality, durability, energy efficiency, environmental performance, and affordability of America's housing. HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research (PD&R) coordinates all PATH activities.

The Pharos Project - Pharos has information on " ... the critical health and environmental data about the manufacture, use, and end of life of building materials specified and used every day all delivered in an easy to use web based tool." - Provides a central location for recycling information, news and community. Has a national directory of local recycling centers as well as information on recycling and tips on conservation. Promotes information sharing and connections through its blog.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) - USGBC is composed of more than 13,500 organizations from across the building industry that are working to advance structures that are environmentally responsible, profitable, and healthy places to live and work.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) - Sponsored by the USGBC, the LEED Green  Building Rating System™ rates buildings for their environmental impact according to universally understood and  accepted tools and performance criteria. LEED certifies buildings have a low "environmental footprint."

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources - Jurisdiction includes energy and mineral resources; fisheries, wildlife and oceans; national parks, forests and public lands; water and power; insular affairs (U.S. territories), and relations with Native Americans and Native American tribes.

U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources - Jurisdiction includes energy resources and development, including regulation, conservation, strategic petroleum reserves and appliance standards; nuclear energy; Indian affairs; public lands and their renewable resources; surface mining, Federal coal, oil, and gas, other mineral leasing; territories and insular possessions; and water resources.

From the Wilderness Society:
         Fighting for our Earth: Make every day Earth Day in 2012
         "The need to protect our wild places has never been greater than it is now."

        10 pockets of wonder” to visit this Earth Day

        Learn about the history of Earth Day

        Resources for kids, parents, and teachers

        Earth Day heroes.

Compiled by MJ Cavallo and updated by MJ Cavallo and Peggy Clifton, April 2012