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Scales of Inquiry

Explore watershed and water quality issues in a favorite place in the Lake Champlain Basin or in a remote corner of the world.

Quick Links

Global Focus


National Geographic
Thinking about learning more about water world-wide? An excellent place to start is to peruse this section of the NG website—that also has the issue WATER available free to download—but lots of other materials and information to ponder as well. This is an amazing resource. >>Go
Also explore the Water Currents blog for news on water issues. >>Go

World Lake’s Resource - LakeNet
Excellent electronic world lake data set to explore what is being done to protect and restore lakes around the world. Portions of this website serve as an archive for LakeNet, a global network of more than 2000 people and organizations in 100+ countries working for the conservation and sustainable management of lakes. >>Go

World Resources Institute
“working at the intersection of the environment and human needs.” This organization presents a wide view of the environmental health of the planet. >>Go
The site has extensive collection of maps of watersheds of the world and watershed level analysis of characteristics such as endemic bird areas, population. Deforestation, aridity, areas affected by erosion and more. >>Go

The Global Water Initiative (GWI)
GWI addresses the declining state of the world's supply of fresh water and the lack of access to clean water services by the world's poorest people. >>Go

The Water Project
“Nearly 1 billion people suffer needlessly without access to safe water. We're convinced this can change - one village at a time.” The Water Project works to bring water to people worldwide. >>Go

Climate Literacy Framework and Climate Literacy Guide by the National Science Foundation
The Essential Principles of Climate Science" presents important information for individuals and communities to understand Earth's climate, impacts of climate change, and approaches for adapting and mitigating change. Principles in the guide can serve as discussion starters or launching points for scientific inquiry. The guide can also serve educators who teach climate science as part of their science curricula with a global focus. >>Go

Facing the Future
This nonprofit organization offers curriculum materials on sustainability and global issues (some of it is free and available on their website) as well as professional development and service learning connections. >>Go


Exemplary Programs

Celebrate World Water Day with these Children's Environmental Literacy Foundation (CELF) resources

International Project Wet: Healthy Water, Healthy Habits, Healthy People

BLUE Legacy: Cousteau’s granddaughter

United Nations Water for Life
The primary goal of the 'Water for Life' Decade is to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015. The focus is on furthering cooperation at all levels, so that the water-related goals of the Millennium Declaration, the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation of the World Summit for Sustainable Development, and Agenda 21 can be achieved. >>Go



Accoring to National Geographic, nearly 900 million people in the world do not have access to clean water.

Water Quality/Clean Water

The USGS provides a useful summary of the distribution of Earth's Water. >>Go to website

Water for the Ages — an inspirational view of the precious nature of water and various efforts to ensure clean water for everyone. Includes a great collection of clips from documentary films made about water. >>Go to website

Access to Clean Water/Water Wars

The Cochabamba protests of 2000, also known as the "Cochabamba Water Wars", were a series of protests that took place in Cochabamba, Bolivia's third largest city, between January 1999 and April 2000 in response to multinational participation in the infrastructure and management of the city's municipal water supply. >>Go to Wikipedia entry

"Holy Water: A precious commodity in a region of conflict" in Orion Magazine online examines the tensions that have arisen from the competing uses of the Jordan River. >>Go

Flooding/Intense weather

The National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado provides data and analysis of Artic sea ice conditions. Their Arctic Sea Ice News & Analysis web page is updated monthly. >>Go

National Geographic's coverage of tsunamis includes news updates, photo galleries, and video. >>Go

It is the goal of to help educate and plan for severe weather events using official data, forecasts, maps, charts, and storm tracking, in order to promote public safety and save lives. >>Go

Climate Change

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Online Education – Content from Web-based Courses The National Center for Atmospheric Research offered web-based climate change education courses from 2007 - 2010 for teachers seeking professional development on this difficult topic. In order to increase access to this information for teachers, we also made much of the content from these online courses available here, for you to use outside of an online course framework. Readings are available here from our courses "Introduction to Earth's Climate", "Earth System Science: A Climate Change Perspective", and from "Understanding Climate Change Today." >>Go to website

Windows to the Universe – Developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), and the National Earth Science Teachers Association this is one of the most comprehensive and indispensible resources on anything related to Earth Systems Science. This is an excellent climate change resource directed towards teachers– including creative and effective lesson plans - as well as differentiated background reading materials, animations, videos, interactive games for students. >>Go to website

Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man Nature and Climate Change by Kolbert, Elizabeth – An excellent and accessible resource, Kolbert’s book blends science and true stories to help her audience understand the fundamentals of climate change and how we know what we know. Kolbert explains everything from climate models to phenology by bringing the reader along to Alaska, Costa Rica, and Vermont on her journey to understand what the experts and the natural world have to say.

NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory: Global Monitoring Division – A comprehensive resource that includes the most up-to-date greenhouse gas concentrations, links to the agency’s monitoring stations, informative videos, straightforward answers to commonly asked questions, and education resources on climate change. Though the content of the site is geared more for adults, it has an excellent collection of graphs that would be appropriate for interpretation in middle and high school settings. >>Go to website

United States Global Change Research Program – This is a comprehensive informational site from the U.S. agency most directly focused on climate change. Data and anticipated impacts are broken down by region. The site offers some additional informational resources specifically for educators. >>Go to website

Frequently Asked Questions from the IPCC 2007 AR4 Physical Science Report – The IPCC, of course, represents the most comprehensive clearing house for scientific information on climate change. The main IPCC page provides links to all IPCC reports, however, the FAQs page is actually accessible to most people and high school students, and accurately addresses many of the questions you may face in the classroom. >>Go to report

“Act Two. Climate Changes. People Don't” from This American Life. – As adults battle over how climate change should be taught in school, we try an experiment. We ask Dr Roberta Johnson, the Executive Director of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, who helps develop curricula on climate change, to present the best evidence there is to a high school skeptic, a freshman named Erin Gustafson. Our question: Will Erin find any of it convincing? >>Go to episode

The Nature Conservancy Climate Wizard This site presents an interactive model of projected temperature and precipitation data based on the major emission scenarios in the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC AR4) report. The model can be adjusted to show global, U.S. or state data, though the resolution for smaller regions is limited. >>Go to Wizard