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Virginia Naturally

Resources for Teachers

Summer Professional development opportunities

Mary-Baldwin College

  • Natural Research: Plant and Animal Studies in the Outdoors (ED618) – June 22 – 26
  • The Intersection of Life and Land (IN634) – July 13 – 17
  • Reading on the River (ED628) – July 27 – 31

For more information or to register, go to or contact Dr. Tamara Willis, Graduate Teacher Education Program, 540-887-7135 or

Professional development opportunities

Workshops & events

Please check out the calendar of events for a current list of workshops and events.

Lessons and SOL based resources

  • Education for Sustainable Development
    K-12 Lessons Based on Virginia's Standards of Learning
  • Classroom Earth
    Classroom Earth helps teachers of all subject areas integrate environmental education into their classrooms. A program of NEEF, the National Environmental Education Foundation.

Air Resources

  • Air Pollution: What's the Solution?
    Welcome to Air Pollution: What's the Solution? An educational project for students, grades 6 - 12, that uses online real time data to guide student discovery of the science behind the causes and effects of outdoor air pollution. Through this project, students will focus on outdoor air pollution; what it is what factors contribute to its formation and the health effects from breathing polluted air. Students will use data and animated maps from the Internet and monitor for the presence of air pollution.
  • Fresh, Clean Air: Protecting Air Quality in Virginia
    Love-a-Tree Teacher activity guide that includes an introduction to air quality issues in Virginia, PowerPoint Presentation with script, and five additional Virginia focused activities.
  • On the Air – Curriculum
    The On the Air curriculum facilitates the understanding of air pollution by studying: Criteria Air Pollutants, the Air Quality Index, Ozone, Particulate Matter, the Health Effects of Air Pollution, Community Sources and Solutions of Air Pollution and Climate Change. Each unit consists of the following: activity description, curricular ties, time needed, learning objectives, materials needed (kit), teacher preparation, teacher background reading, teacher demonstration procedures, activity procedures, technology connections, student handout, student packets and student worksheets. Materials are suited for 6th – 8th grade middle school classrooms.
  • The Air We Breathe
    This colorful picture book is designed to introduce Earth's atmosphere and its importance to life on Earth. It's appropriate for students in grades K-4.
  • Virginia’s Air Resources
    Look up in the sky. Air seems boundless and, for that reason, it is a resource often taken for granted. Above the state of Virginia alone rests over one trillion tons of it. But, just like water, not all of it is usable to you. Explore issues in air quality through this online chapter from Virginia’s Natural Resource Education Guide.

Water Resources

  • Bay Backpack
    Interested in teaching about environmental issues and the Chesapeake Bay but don't know where to start? Check out Bay Backpack, the source for Chesapeake Bay education resources, field studies, trainings and funding opportunities. Use this great resource to discover engaging ways to get students outdoors learning about the local environment.
  • Estuaries Discovery Kit
    The Estuaries Discovery Kit discusses: how estuaries are classified by their geology and water circulation patterns, the various ecosystem services estuaries perform, how organisms have adapted to the unique environmental conditions found in estuaries, the many disturbances that estuaries face from nature and human activities, and finally, the essential work that the National Estuarine Research Reserve System and its many partners conduct to monitor, preserve, and restore estuarine ecosystems throughout the United States.
  • Hanover –Caroline Soil & Water Conservation District MWEE Curriculum
  • Lessons from the Bay – Virginia Department of Education
    This collection provides procedures for teaching various watershed topics. Each lesson plan includes correlations to the Virginia Standards of Learning (grades 3–6), background information, and resources, as well as suggestions for assessment and extensions.
  • Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences (MWEE)
    Resources gathered from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
  • NOAA Estuaries 101
    Estuaries 101 is an online teacher curriculum designed for use with students to learn about Earth System Science using coastal and ocean data. Through this curriculum – which includes interactive investigations, field studies and data analysis – teachers and students will learn about the biotic and abiotic factors that affect wildlife, environmental quality, and society as related to estuaries.
  • Saving the Bay with Dollars and Sense – Virginia Council on Economic Education, Virginia Tech Center for Economic Education
  • The Bridge - Ocean Education Resource Center – a portal for teacher and scientist reviewed websites on marine/coastal/aquatic content, lesson plans, and opportunities for educators. Supported by NMEA and National Sea Grant Office and managed by VIMS Marine Advisory Program educators.
  • The Groundwater Foundation
    Educating and motivating people to care for and about groundwater. The site includes activities for teachers and students.
  • USGS Virginia Water Science Center
  • Virginia Water Resources: A Tool for Teachers
    Information and activities for teachers to support interdisciplinary and problem-based teaching about watersheds, water quality, stewardship, and management issues.
  • Virginia science resources
    Provides teachers with the most relevant resources to meet the new Standards of Learning.

Energy Resources

  • Classroom Energy
    Energy Resources for the classroom.
    A network of educators sharing ideas for teaching about energy production and use as well as an online community for educators to share ideas about energy-related curriculum, including topics about the environmental impact of energy production and use.
  • Free Energy Lesson Plans & Activities
    The U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy offers downloadable lessons and activities on energy efficiency and renewable energy, organized by grade level and topic.

Waste Management (Litter and Recycling)

Miscellaneous Lessons and Resources
Archeology, History, and Social Studies

  • Virginia Department of Historic Resources Education and Outreach
    Offers archaeological resources and lesson plans and teaching using historical places.
  • If Trees Could Talk
    Produced by the Forestry History Society at Duke University; this 11-module, middle school curriculum gives teachers the opportunity to download social studies activities that are based upon archival materials. The centerpiece of each module is a compilation of primary resources--documents, maps, newspaper articles, oral histories or photographs--from which students will be asked to gather, examine, and analyze information, and synthesize insights.  

Environmental Literacy


  • The Virtual Forest is produced by the Virginia Cooperative Extension.  This is an interactive, web-based learning experience that introduces forest management concepts to Virginia's youth aged 9 through 13. Seven learning modules cover the following subjects: human impact on the ecosystem (sprawl), renewable resources, photosynthesis, tree identification, succession, tree measurements, and timber harvesting. The modules complement 4-H natural resource projects and events and are consistent with the Standards of Learning for Virginia public schools. 4-H Virtual Forest also includes user's guides, student activity sheets, teacher answer sheets, additional resources, and SOL links for each module. Virtual Forest is also available on CD. Contact your county Extension Agent for copies.


  •  Soil-Net – this is an educational resource about soil, with extensive teacher aids supporting many curriculum-based interactive student activities.



  • Tox Town  is produced by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It helps high-school students and teachers learn about environmental health concerns and toxic chemicals pictured in an imaginary town.


  • Wild About Math (for TI-83 & TI 84)
    Produced by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, this 72 page book uses data from several of its wildlife research projects.
  • The National Wildlife Federation offers Ranger Rick family fun, games, magazines, and teacher resources.