Below are a few of the online resources I trust and enjoy using, and I’ve put a (*) next to the ones that have fun interactive stuff.
Know of any I should check out? Feel free to leave me a comment and I will!
Being a Naturalist
- The National Association for Interpretation offers courses and publications for natural history interpreters.
- Several states offer Master Naturalist programs, but they’re state-specific. You’ll have to find out if your state offers one – start by checking with your local extension office.
- Interpretation by Design is a book, and their blog is awesome. I highly recommend both. (The blog has been closed to new posts, but the archives are still there and are still valuable teaching tools.) As naturalists, we get all wrapped up in the nature, but we forget that good design is the difference between someone learning from your printed (or web) materials, or tossing it aside because it’s too hard to read or not interesting enough. This book has taught me all the basics that have changed how I communicate visually and seriously upped my game. Get it. Read it. Know it.
- Acorn Naturalists has an extraordinary collection of natural history goods for sale, including skull replicas, books, educational kits, stuffed animals, track replicas, optical supplies, and more. Be warned, you can drop a whole paycheck there.
Plants & Animals
- All About Birds is Cornell University’s online bird encyclopedia and my favorite go-to resource for anything bird related. I especially like being able to listen to all the bird song files. (*)
- Bird Education Network provides educators working in the field of bird conservation with a variety of new tools and strategies they can employ to be more effective.
- The Dodo is chock full of good articles and reporting, and it’s all about animals.
- Xerces Society is my first stop for invertebrate information.
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is my favorite site for wildflower information. Run by the University of Texas at Austin, it features great photos, some growing info, and more.
- Red Butte Garden documents the awesome show put on by this University of Utah garden.
- Native American Ethnobotany offers historical accounts of plants utilized by First Nations for food, medicine, and ceremony.
- Project BudBurst is a campaign designed to engage the public in the collection of important ecological data based on the timing of leafing, flowering, and fruiting of plants – they encourage citizen scientist contributions! (*)
- The National Phenology Network is a great resource for information about phenology (seasonal changes in plants and animals) and its relationship with environmental change.
People, Science, Nature
- The Smithsonian has affected me strongly since I was a kid, getting to visit the Museum of Natural History in DC. Their site and bevy of accessible information is spectacular.
- Q?rius is the Smithsonian’s latest site aimed at interactivity between you, the curious reader, and they, the keeper of amazing artifacts and knowledge. Check it out, it’s very cool. (*)
- Human Origins Project of the Smithsonian is designed to help you learn our history as a species, and features a online collection you can check out. (*)
- Blog Catalog can show you more science and nature blogs!
- PhotoNaturalist offers tips on outdoor photography.
- WebExhibits features a completely random but highly interactive and informative online museum exhibits. (*)
- The Exploratorium is actually a museum in California, USA, but their website has a ton of really cool articles, websites, videos, and activities to learn from. (*)
- Margit’s Garden is an accessible, friendly place to learn about gardening for food and canning. Offers the unique Canner Planner tool and Garden Planner.
- Mother Earth News has been giving advice on sustainable living since the time of the first hippies.
- Backyard Chickens offers all the info you need on raising and caring for chickens.
- Earthineer is a relatively new online community all about backyard homesteading, livestock, preserving food, DIYs, and more.
- The Outlaw Garden is an awesome blog for gardening, DIY, and more.