Rivers, Lakes, Seas, Bays, Ponds and Estuaries

Without water, there is no life. These resources can transform abstract concepts into reality.

Exploration of these ecologies is especially instructive to students who live in very different environments.

With very little work, these sites can be used as a springboard into culture & history, biology, math, & physics.

resource URL thumbnail

About The Lakes

Learn more about the Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. Together they form the largest fresh surface water system on earth, containing about one-fifth of the world's fresh surface water supply. The Great Lakes is the source of drinking water for more than 48 million people, generates more than 1.5 million jobs,…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Bottle Biology

Learn how to explore science and the environment with soda bottles and other recyclable materials. Create Decomposition Columns to Bottle Gardens Simulate any of these ecosystems via Bottle Biology, a project to build and decompose soil and biological systems ...  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Bridging the Watershed

Science in the Great Outdoors Help your students discover science in National and state parks across Maryland, Virginia, and Washington D.C. with Alice Ferguson Foundation’s Bridging the Watershed program. We partner with the National Park Service and state parks to give students the opportunity to engage in meaningful watershed educational experiences, explore curriculum-based outdoor science, and…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Building a Natural Pool

Talk about bringing nature to you. David Pagan Butler has created a Natural Swimming Pool. It's a swimming pool that has clear water without using chemicals. These pools rely entirely on the plants and animals to condition the water. This is so effective that this pool has been tested and shown to be of drinking…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies is dedicated to understanding how ecosystems work. Our scientists are global experts in the ecology of: freshwater, forests, disease, and cities. Through collaborative efforts, we apply our science to policy and management that protects the environment and improves human wellbeing.  A collection of k-12 curricula, activity guides, and other resources…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Chesapeake Bay

Chesapeake Bay has received attention not only for its ecology but also for its nearness to our nation's capital Washington, D.C. This site illustrates the plants and animals of typical baylands as well as those unique to Chesapeake. The illustrations are excellent.  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

David Pagan Butler's Natural Pools

David Pagan Butler shares more information on his Nature Pool and how to build one of your own. While you might not do this as a class project, it can be used to show how we can co-exist with nature -- rather than trying to dominate or exclude it -- and how ecosystems work.  learn more

resource URL thumbnail


NCEAS ecologists and teachers in Santa Barbara, Goleta, and Carpinteria schools are working with 5th grade classes to design and conduct scientific experiments in ecology. Students learn the scientific method by doing it, from experimental design and hypothesis, data gathering and analysis, to reporting results and conclusions. Find ideas for your classroom.  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

How Wolves Change Rivers

When wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone National Park in the United States after being absent nearly 70 years, the most remarkable "trophic cascade" occurred. What is a trophic cascade and how exactly do wolves change rivers? George Monbiot explains in this movie remix.    learn more

resource URL thumbnail

School of Freshwater Sciences

The School of Freshwater Sciences is a particularly interesting application of telecommunications in network science. To those of us who do not live in this region the environment appears to be uniform; in fact, many different ecologies border the Great Lakes region. A classroom has initiated a study of weather and water quality data and…  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

The Canal Age

For about 50 years canals connected fresh water rivers and salt water portals. Learn about the history of canals, especially for transportation,at The Canal Age.  learn more

resource URL thumbnail

Water on the Web

Water on the Web offers data about water quality from deep within 4 Minnesota lakes. This approach also represents a new method for visualization of information, especially appropriate for some students. Water on the Web, sponsored for high school students by NSF, surfaces Remote Underwater Sampling Stations' data with visualization tools. 4 Minnesota lakes is…  learn more