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Take eNature Back to School with You

"An assignment on bears? What do I know about bears?"

It's back-to-school time, and before you have even had a chance to find out who had the coolest summer vacation, you get slammed with a massive homework assignment on bears. Don't freak! If you need information on North American wildlife, the best place to start is eNature. The eNature website is based on the award-winning National Audubon Society Field Guides, so you know that you can trust the information you find there.

Q: "So how do I find out about bears on eNature?"

Wildlife Search
From any page, you simply enter the name of the plant or animal -- in this case "bear" -- in the search box. If it's one of the 5,000-plus species in the database, which includes everything from amphibians and birds to seashore creatures and wildflowers, you have instant access to a huge amount of information about it. Each species record includes one or more photographs, a description of the species, and interesting information about it, things like whether it is endangered, what it eats, and where it lives. There are also links to additional information on the site that relates to the species. Most of the mammals link to drawings and descriptions of tracks, for example, and birds link to song and call recordings.

You'll find this search at the top of the page.

Q: "There's a ton of information here on bears, but I need more."

News Articles
Many of the species records also include links to eNature articles that explore and explain the unique and interesting (and sometimes downright weird!) world of North American nature and wildlife. For a complete list of articles on bears, head to eNature's Articles section and enter "bear" in the search box.

Q: "This bear cub picture is so cute! Can I send it to a friend?"

Almost every one of the stunning color photographs on eNature can be made into an eCard. It's a great way to send flowers (or flounders) to your friends and loved ones.

Q: "This is great, but I still have a couple of questions about bears. Now what do I do?"

Check out the Ask an Expert section and search the extensive Ask an Expert library for questions and answers related to your topic. The eNature experts have answered thousands of questions over the years on nearly every aspect of nature you can imagine. In some answers the experts suggest links to other sites that provide even more in-depth information.

Q: " My teacher says I have to use more than one source. Are there other sites like eNature?"

Other Nature Websites
If you still have more questions after you have gone through all of the information available at eNature, use a search engine to search the web. Now that you have some basic knowledge, you can zoom in on the information you really want; use specific key words to focus your search. Remember, not everything you read on the internet is true, so stick to websites that are produced by reliable and well-known groups. Organizations like the National Wildlife Federation (which brings you eNature), the National Geographic Society, Encyclopedia Britannica, and most government websites take the time to verify the information they publish, so you can usually trust that it is accurate and up-to-date.

Q: "Can I also use eNature to learn about the birds and bugs in my own backyard?"

You bet! Go to ZipGuides, choose LocalGuides, and just enter a zip code (or click on a region on the map), and you will instantly create a full-color field guide to the plants and animals found in the area. Use it to learn about your local wildlife or to check out the critters in the next place you plan to visit. You can also create guides to poisonous and dangerous plants and animals, endangered species, and mammal tracks.

"Wow, this is great! This school year might not be too bad. Thanks eNature!"

You're welcome! Remember, whether school is in session or not, if you need information on North American wildlife, you can always count on eNature. Then you can use your free time to go outside and explore the natural world.