Internet redeemed by websites devoted to nature and science

  • By Sharon Wootton
  • Friday, February 26, 2016 2:47pm
  • Life

As much as I complain about technology, the time spent on it, or dealing with its glitches, there’s no denying that the Internet has opened a world of information.

It’s also unleashed a pack of trolls, negatively affected political discourse and filled many heads with misinformation.

Saying that, here are a few reliable websites that offer a peaceful, useful approach for those who want to learn more about nature. Explore the sites for the full stories.

National Audubon Society, www.audubon.org/news. For 15 years, Operation Migration’s ultralights have led young captive whooping cranes on their first migration to breeding sites. Now U.S. Fish and Wildlife has released a “vision document” that does not include that approach or other hand-raising methods because they weren’t raising normal cranes.

Also: Can birds actually start forest fires? Build a nest box to welcome spring birds.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology, www.allaboutbirds.org. Bookmark this site. The Bird Academy offers a bounty of educational features, including interactive lessons on avian anatomy and the muscular system.

Also: Bird cameras catch action in the nest. Scientists witness a penguin revolution. Migration is captured in a strand of DNA.

Cornell’s eBird Website, www.ebird.org, is a data-driven site. One entry is about how to effectively and accurately count birds in a flock, and then applying best practices to your birdfeeder.

Also: Citizen science reveals annual bird migrations across continents. Learn ways to submit bird information and how to explore the data banks.

National Geographic, animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals. So much to check out, so little time. It’s a good site for your children: Albino squirrels take over a small town. A weird-but-true section. Bizarre videos. Easy-to-comprehend graphics (visually comparing weight of a blue marlin to a piano).

Also: Which species will thrive on a warming planet? Videos on avalanche rescue dogs and snot otters (aka hellbenders).

Space.com. Although owned by a non-space-oriented corporation, this site has a serious-about-space staff and a site that covers technology, space flight, astronomy and the search for life. Spectacular photographs don’t hurt.

Also: While Stephen Hawking usually explores more esoteric science topics, he also wants a ride on Virgin Galactic’s new passenger ship. (So do I.)

BBC, www.bbc.com/earth/world. Wide-ranging offerings are bound to keep the curious clicking through the site. How can you resist black holes made simple, how we know fish have feelings, and how butterflies outwit predators?

Also: Why we might need to kill those cuddly koalas. Do whales attempt suicide?

Sharon Wootton: 360-468-3964 or www.songandword.com.

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