Resources for Students    

Looking for a water-related Science Fair or research project?

Idea #1: Litter. Consider looking at the litter in a stream, river, or beach near your home. Where does it come from? Is it mostly plastic? What are the most commonly littered items? Is it potentially harmful to wild animals, pets, or humans? What can be done to reduce littering behavior? Learn more:

Litter and Debris in Our Waterways
Endangered Aquatic Species
Classifying Aquatic Debris

A Scientific Cleanup

Idea #2: Water Quality Monitoring. You can monitor the health of a local stream by checking its pH level, temperature, dissolved oxygen, nutrients, and other indicators of health. Or, you can collect water samples from wells in your area, and check for nitrates.

The Importance of Groundwater
Nitrate Levels in Wells

Water Quality Monitoring
Evaluating a Stream
Lesson 7 - Optical Brighteners and Water Quality

Comparing Water Quality Data

Idea #3: Cigarette Butt Litter. There are many projects you could explore that have to do with the most common type of litter on Earth: cigarette butts. Click here for details.

Possessing Animals:

Virginia has regulations that restrict the number of wild, nongame fish, reptiles, amphibians, or aquatic invertebrates a person may possess. Basically, you can take (capture and keep live) up to 5 of any one species of reptile or amphibian. Any more than five, you need a permit. Once in captivity for 40 days the animal may not be returned to the wild. Any animal purchased from a supply house (such as tadpoles) may never ever be released. It is recommended that no wild animal be brought into the classroom or into your home for more than a day.

Also, it is illegal to possess threatened and endangered species unless you have a special permit. The goal of these regulations is to protect the populations of nongame species. In addition, there are fishing, hunting, and trapping regulations for game species. It is important for all Virginians to know the law so we can all protect wild animals. To learn about current regulations, call your local office of the Virginia Game and Inland Fisheries (DGIF), or visit the DGIF website ( and select "Virginia Freshwater Fishing Regulations," and then "Nongame Fish, Reptile, Amphibian, and Aquatic Invertebrate Regulations."

Interesting Materials on the Internet:

Virginia Naturally web site
This web site has extensive links to environmental educational materials.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Water for Kids Learn about wetlands, rivers, oceans, estuaries, water conservation, drinking water, and more!

U.S. Geological Survey Water Science for Schools This site has information on many aspects of water, along with pictures, data, maps, and an interactive center where you can give opinions and test your water knowledge.

GLOBE is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based education and science program. You will find a wealth of information about water quality monitoring on this site, plus data about water quality around the world that you can use in your research projects.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Turning the Tide on Trash: Marine Debris Curriculum

Pew Oceans Commission report (
A major report by the Pew Oceans Commission was released in June 2003. The report, America's Living Oceans: Charting a Course for Sea Change, is the culmination of a three-year process representing the first comprehensive look at U.S. Ocean policy in over 30 years, and includes detailed recommendations for the U.S. government and the American public to improve ocean management. A must read by all of us who care about the oceans!

Loads of information about the Chesapeake Bay

VA Environmental Education Directory
Topics: air, animals, biosphere, Chesapeake bay, historic resources, land, soil, agriculture, water, trees, plants, and MORE!

"Bay, Plain and Piedmont—Landscape History of the Chesapeake Bay from 1.3 billion years ago to 2000"
A synthesis of human activity in the core portion of the Chesapeake Bay watershed written by the National Park Service, with the assistance of a partnership of federal and state agencies, academic institutions, public and private organizations and individuals. This landscape history provides accurate, up to date information on the natural and cultural resources of the Chesapeake Bay heartland, and reveals how a complex ever-changing web of relationships connects all of the region's resources. This landscape history serves as a consolidated reference for interpreting the Bay watershed's cultural and natural resources.

Communities and Chesapeake Bay Gateways Network partners can examine how their local resources and stories fit within the larger picture and relate to Chesapeake Bay interpretive themes. State Historic Preservation Offices applying state historic contexts can use this study to place information about properties into a broader, more comparative regional perspective. This document may be viewed in its full format or by chapter (online only). To find out more about this project, contact the National Park Service at 1-800-YOUR BAY.

VA Department of Game & Inland Fisheries
From this site, you can select an animal species that lives in Virginia, and learn more detailed information than you thought possible! A hidden jewel of information!

Southern Environmental Law Center
Select "Virginia" under states for lots of good information.

U.S. Geological Survey in Virginia
This site has lots of information about water resources in our state.

Frog watch - a project of the US Geological Survey

Drinking water in Virginia

State of the Chesapeake Bay Report


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