All branches will be closed Wednesday, December 24 through Friday, December 26. We wish you a happy & safe holiday!

Discover Earth Resources


Check out the following Homework Help articles to learn more about each topic and for links to great in-library and online resources:

Image of lots of ladybugs on plant
Happy Hibernations

Slow, sleepy winter days find many animals curled up in their dens. They sleep warmly through winter, awakening in spring ready to enjoy the renewed Earth. This unusual, deep sleep is called hibernation.

 

 

Image of polluted water flowing from pipe into river
Water Pollution

Our rivers, lakes, and beaches are beautiful, but are they safe? Every day, the toxic runoff from parking lots, busy roads and quiet subdivisions makes its way into our streams and oceans. Even the oil burning off from cars on the roads gets washed into the groundwater and streams by way of the storm drain every time it rains.



 

Image of rainy day and umbrellas
Get Weather-Wise

How does rain happen? Long ago the Ashanti people believed that Anansi, the Spider, brought the rains that would put out fires in the jungle. In old Britain, the legendary Green Man was supposed to have rainmaking powers, and Zeus brought the rains for the ancient Greeks.

 

 

Series of 4 images depicting factors in river pollutionRiver Recovery -- Everybody Can Help

Boom! One fine morning, the old wooden dam went up in clouds of smoke and broken timber. It was a huge thing—ancient and strong, built to tame the Rappahannock River. Once the power of the water pushing against it had provided electricity for the town. But that was years ago. The dam was falling apart, but so slowly that it was becoming dangerous. So the Army Corps of Engineers blew it up one morning.


 

Picture of Earth, sun, stars
The Earth, the Moon, and the Sun

How do the Sun and the Moon affect the Earth? Without the Sun, the Earth would be a big ball of frozen mud, just another asteroid, drifting in space with no gravity to anchor it here and nothing to give us heat and light. We could not be here without the Sun.

 

 

Image of geode

 

There's Nothing Hard about Rocks

Rocks come in all shapes and sizes, but what kind are they? You can’t ask them, but sometimes, if you know how to listen, they’ll tell you anyway. The shape and size of a rock doesn’t tell you much about what it’s made of. Big rocks break into smaller rocks all the time. But there are other things to look for that can give you their I.D.

 

Image of leaves and woods
Take a Hike

Sometimes, it seems like everybody goes hiking and camping in the great outdoors in the sticky, sweltering summertime. Those are the days when the bugs are at their worst, and the heat alone can leave you panting on the side of the trail before an hour is done. For an easier time of it, grab your gear in the spring or fall. Cooler days and mostly bug-free trails make for great hiking adventures, whether by the ocean or in the mountains. November 17 is Take a Hike Day, but any day is a good day to hike.
 

Image of starfish, shells, bucket, shovel on beach
Shells: Treasures from under the Sea

If you go to the beach this summer, you may find dozens of seashells, each uniquely wonderful. Plan on filling a whole jar with your favorites: scallops and angel wings, whelks and sand dollars.

 

 

Close-up of water drops on plantYour Own Little World: Create a Terrarium

Whether it's filled with mossy rocks and ferns or sands and cactus, a terrarium is an amazingly fun way to learn more about nature. With a terrarium in your room, something of the outdoors can always be inside.

 

Image of young girl with leaf over one eyeNaturally Crafty

The best craft store may be right outside your door. This summer, take time in the cool mornings to gather together pieces of nature to work into craft projects in the afternoons. That way you’ll have a remembrance of summer to keep all year long. Rocks can become patterned pictures. Leaves can make delicate prints. Everything in nature can inspire your arts and crafts.
 

Image of new tree being planted
Plant a Tree for You and Me

Have you ever been in a place where there were lots of buildings but no trees? New housing developments or parts of a city that have been neglected for a long time may not have the shady spots and fresh air that trees give. As trees breathe, they let out oxygen that humans and animals need to survive. Their roots hold the ground together, making sure the soil doesn't blow away in the wind. When a tree dies naturally in the forest, its wood becomes a home for insects and a cafeteria for the hungry birds who eat those insects. Trees provide so many good things for the Earth.