SciTech Now: Environmental Science


  • Investigation of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome

    A deadly disease has been wiping out West Coast starfish since it was first reported on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in 2013. Sea star wasting syndrome affects almost every species of west coast starfish and scientists are scrambling to find answers.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Saving the Endangered Hellbender Salamander

    In this video from SciTech Now, learn how the hellbender salamander is making a comeback in the streams and rivers of the Ozarks, thanks to a breeding and repopulation program by the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri Department of Conservation.

    Grades: 6-9
  • Human Impact on the Environment: Effects of Removing Dams on the Elwha River

    Learn about changes that have occurred after the removal of dams in the Elwha River in this video from SciTech Now. Aerial photography shows that the Elwha River and the beaches by the mouth of the river have changed dramatically as sediment has begun to flow freely. Now, scientists are looking to see how wildlife has been affected as the environment changes.

    Teacher support materials include discussion questions, teaching tips, and vocabulary words.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Bald Eagle Recovery Efforts in New Jersey

    The bald eagle, the national bird of the US, is now flourishing after decades of threatened extinction. In this video from SciTech Now, see how the Mercer County Wildlife Center in New Jersey has taken steps to protect this national treasure. The bald eagle population in New Jersey was severely reduced upon exposure to the long-lived insecticide DDT. The Mercer County Wildlife Center has tracked nesting pairs, introduced more eagles into the area, and nursed sick and injured birds back to health to revive the eagle population in the state.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Critter Crime Lab

    In this video from SciTech Now, visit the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Forensics Lab in Ashland, Oregon, the only lab in the world dedicated to solving crimes against wildlife. The lab uses forensic science and innovative techniques to bring wildlife traffickers to justice.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Can Mushrooms Help to Save the Honeybees?

    Commercial honeybees are in trouble. Since 2006, a third of all bee colonies have died from colony collapse disorder (CCD); this occurs when worker bees mysteriously disappear causing the entire colony to die. Scientists believe CCD may be the result of up to 60 environmental factors including: pesticides, disease, malnutrition, loss of habitat, and climate change.

    Steve Sheppard, Department of Entomology at Washington State University and Paul Stamets, a mycologist from the Pacific Northwest are working together to save the honeybee from CCD, and they’re experimenting with an unconventional remedy: the mushroom.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Algae Blooms Affect Great Lakes Drinking Water

    Dissolved phosphorous – believed to be caused by agricultural run-off – is leading to dangerous algal blooms which are in turn threatening the water quality of Lake Erie. In this video from SciTech Now, learn how researchers and farmers alike are developing novel solutions to prevent this dangerous run-off from polluting the water system.

    Grades: 6-12
  • What is Biodiversity?

    In this video from SciTech Now, Dr. Shahid Naeem explains what constitutes true diversity in nature. Utilizing video, discussion questions, teaching tips, and handouts, students will gain a thorough understanding of why biodiversity is so important in the natural world.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Oysters in NYC: How an Unusual Keystone Species May Save Our Shorelines

    This video from SciTech Now examines how marine biologists and volunteers in New York City are developing methods to protect their environments from climate change by focusing specifically on oyster reef populations. Using video, vocabulary, discussion questions and teaching tips, students will examine what’s working, what isn’t and how they can replicate similar programs in their area.

    Grades: 9-12
  • Farming the Aquaponics Way

    Discover aquaponics, an innovative farming method that uses no chemical fertilizers and only a fraction of the water used in traditional soil agriculture by cultivating a symbiotic relationship between plants and animals. See how one farm in Florida is incorporating this approach to produce high-quality produce for their community.

    Grades: 5-12
  • Turning Food Waste Into a Resource

    Find out how one company is using discarded produce from grocery stores to help farmers grow better crops—all with a little help from technology—in this video from SciTech Now. Support materials will also provide an opportunity for students to explore the role of decomposers in natural fertilizers, and to investigate the final destination of the food waste from their school cafeteria.

    Grades: 5-12
  • The Effects of Light Pollution on Firefly Communication

    Firefly populations are declining all over the world. Filmmaker Emily Driscoll’s documentary Brilliant Darkness highlights the different habits of the species and the conservation efforts being put in place to preserve them. Scientists from the Department of Entomology & Nematology of the University of Florida discuss their methodology that led to the understanding of the impact of artificial light on firefly populations in this clip from SciTech Now.

    Grades: 5-8
  • Engineering Sustainable Synthetic Fabric

    Learn how researchers use the engineering design process to create sustainable nylon in this video from SciTech Now. NYU Professor Miguel Modestino shares how he developed a process to make nylon production environmentally friendly by replacing petroleum, the current raw material for nylon, with plants and powering the production with solar power. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the engineering design process to design a sustainable rope.

    Additional support materials are available, including discussion questions and teaching tips. For more resources from Teaching Engineering in New York, check out the collection page.

    Grades: 6-12
  • Engineering: Identifying Warranted Ecological Intervention

    Learn how the National Parks Service uses science and engineering practices to respond to the breach Superstorm Sandy opened near Fire Island in in this video from SciTech Now. In the accompanying classroom activity, students use the engineering design process to protect a simulated beach from erosion.

    Support materials are available, including discussion questions, teaching tips and a handout. For more resources from Teaching Engineering in New York, check out the collection page.

    Grades: 6-12

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