Federal Agency Educational Resources: Department of the Interior

The Education Techie reviews tech tools and websites that can help students and teachers. This week, the Techie is taking a look at some of the online educational resources offered by federal agencies of the U.S. government. Today's article explores the website of the Department of the Interior.

department of interior logo

What Resources Are Available?

The website of the Department of the Interior (DOI) is more spare and functional than some of the other federal agency sites I looked at for this series, but it nonetheless contains some useful resources. The DOI includes general information on domestic policy issues as well as sub-offices like the United States Park Service, which provides environmental and geographical data. Here's a list of some of the site's features that I find most relevant to students and teachers.

Deepwater Horizon Response and Restoration

While not explicitly labeled as an educational resource, this compilation of information can be useful for making lesson plans, writing papers or doing projects on the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In addition to press releases from the DOI, statements from Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and environmental response reports, there is also commentary on oil drilling policy that could be used for a high school political science or current events class.

This website is also a great source of information for citizens who are wondering about the spill's lasting impacts and how ongoing response is playing out. News media coverage of the event has dissipated with time, and this would be a great way to get information about what's going on in the Gulf. There are also contact phone numbers and emails to report impacted wildlife or volunteer for cleanup efforts.

Webcams

The DOI website hosts webcams showing scenes from several national parks. These parks include Acadia National Park, Glacier National Park and Mammoth Cave National Park. There's also a webcam that shows the eruptions of Old Faithful, the geyser at Yellowstone National Park, and another showing the activities in the caldera of Mt. St. Helens, an active volcano in Washington State.

mt. st. helens webcam

These webcams are usually accompanied by information about weather and air quality conditions. I think these are a good resource for teachers who want to teach students about national parks, but don't have the resources to arrange a field trip. They're also interesting to look at in a recreational context.

Internships

Yet another federal agency with internship and student work opportunities, the DOI and its bureaus offer a variety of programs for students. There are fellowships for college students available through the Department Secretary's office, paid career internships though the Department, a tribal internship program through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, student jobs through the National Park Service, and student and career internships through the Fish and Wildlife Service, just to name a few. Many of these opportunities focus on land use, wildlife management, conservation and other topics that can be of interest to students from a variety of disciplines.

Visit the homepage of the Department of the Interior for information and resources not covered here.

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