Resources for Earth Day

Tue 10 2012

With its origins in the rising environmental awareness of the 1960s and '70s, Earth Day gives students a chance to consider how human relationships with the natural environment have changed over time. How did pre-colonial and colonial North Americans relate to nature? How were their lives shaped by it? How did the industrial revolution in the U.S. change these relationships? What changes have occurred since then?

If you're looking for resources to teach the relationship of geography and natural science to U.S. history, visit our Earth Day spotlight page. You'll find website reviews, teaching strategies for using maps and the environment, quizzes, and more.

Many other organizations also offer Earth Day resources. Here are some ideas to keep you browsing:

  • Discover events and volunteer opportunities nationwide on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Earth Day page.
  • Browse articles, primary source collections, links, and more related to conservation history and present-day science with the Library of Congress's Earth Day reference guide.
  • Head back to the '70s with the National Archives and Records Administration's collection of Documerica photographs. (Documerica, an EPA project, asked freelance photographers to capture environmental problems on film.)
  • Explore the parks of the National Park Service (NPS), and learn about the history of the NPS on the PBS website The National Parks: America's Best Idea (a companion to Ken Burns's documentary of the same name).
  • Read presidential proclamations from past Earth Days on the White House's website.
  • Learn about the life of President Theodore Roosevelt, including his support of conservation, in the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History's journal History Now.
  • Introduce students to Earth Day with National Geographic Education's "Think Green" resource collection.
  • Follow a timeline on the history of Earth Day and watch videos on environmental science at
  • Learn how Earth Day got its start and explore environmental awareness activities at publisher Scholastic's Celebrate Earth Day hub.

About the Author

Lara Harmon is a Senior Research Associate for She received her BA from George Mason University.