natural resources

Degrees that Work - Natural Gas

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Learn about the degrees and careers associated with the Natural Gas Industry.

Geothermal Heats Up

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Solar and wind power may get the headlines when it comes to renewable energy. But another type of clean power is heating up in the hills just north of Sonoma wine country. Geothermal power uses heat from deep inside the Earth to generate electricity. The Geysers, the world's largest power-producing geothermal field, has been providing electricity for roughly 850,000 Northern California households, and is set to expand even further.

Acid Mine Drainage and Precipitates

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In this video, environmental scientists measure the pH of water to detect acid mine drainage. They also demonstrate how metals present in the acid drainage fall out of solution as precipitates when baking soda (a basic substance) is added to the water and raises its pH. The scientists are testing water that has pooled near an abandoned coal mine in Eastern Kentucky. Although the water appears clear and clean, the tests reveal that it is too acidic to support life and that it contains metals that will harm aquatic organisms further down stream.

This resource is part of the Water Solutions collection.

Pennsylvania Energy: Energy from the Sun

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This video advises viewers who want to decrease energy consumption to take a lesson from a cat lying in the sun. The sun's energy, an engineering design professor explains, can be harnessed for human needs in three ways: convert solar energy to heat, heat hot water, or convert solar energy to electricity.
One example in the video focuses on how solar panels helped a school to decrease electricity costs, and taught students they could make a difference. Another is how a prison heated water for showers and laundry with solar panels. Both the school and prison significantly decreased energy consumption.

The Math of Energy | Energy Efficiency

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Electricity powers many of the most important devices in our lives, including our cell phones. There are many technologies for producing electricity, such as fossil-fuel power plants, solar panels, wind turbines, and nuclear power plants. Coal-fired power plants convert the chemical energy in coal to electricity that is then transmitted to users in the electrical power grid. The energy efficiency of a coal power plant is calculated as the amount of electrical energy produced divided by the chemical energy in coal. We can calculate the overall energy efficiency by compounding the individual energy efficiencies. Using these equations we can calculate the mass of coal required to power a typical cell phone each year.

In Small Doses: Arsenic

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This video segment adapted from In Small Doses: Arsenic explains how arsenic contaminates groundwater and how people can protect themselves from its hazards. Most arsenic in groundwater comes from minerals in rocks that dissolve through natural processes. But the conditions of the water must be right for arsenic to occur in high concentrations. In the video, scientists also detail the U.S. drinking water standards, the possible health effects of exposure to arsenic, and the steps that cities and private homeowners should take to ensure arsenic levels in their water supplies are safe.

The Sun | Science Trek

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The sun is a medium sized dwarf star in the Milky Way galaxy and it is what fuels all life on our planet. Find out how the sun was formed, what its layers are, and how it impacts life here on Earth.

Energy Club

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This DragonflyTV segment demonstrates the importance of saving energy by doing such things as turning off the lights whe you leave a room, and learning more about alternative energy sources.

Virtual Field Trip Video: The Journey of Water: From Colombia's Páramo to the Kitchen Sink | Nature Works Everywhere

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Roughly the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined, Colombia is the second most biologically diverse country on Earth—home to 10% of Earth’s plant and animal species! There are over 300 different ecosystems in Colombia. In this virtual field trip, we will explore the magical páramo ecosystem and the stunning mountain landscapes found just beyond the capital city of Bogotá. 

Students will see what it’s like to walk among towering, furry, sunflower-like plants that capture the mist and rain, ultimately providing water for city residents downstream. And they’ll see moss that can hold 40 times its weight in water—it’s true! They’ll also learn about the incredible wildlife in the area including spectacled bears, tapirs, jaguars, and Andean condors. Along the way, students will explore where water comes from, how nature works to store and filter water, and how they can help protect water in their hometown. 

Find a teacher's guide here to accompany this virtual field trip. 

Water Quality - Manure

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Some water quality problems aren't only defined by the borders of a watershed or the banks of a river or lake, rather economic and political boundaries also shape the problem. Manure management is one of those problems.

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