Discover a series of illustrated children’s books, where:

  • the content is carefully reviewed by research scientists
  • the illustrations are beautiful yet accurate
  • the narrative of each story is designed to bring ecological science to life and engage children
  • the book can be read to or by the child at school or at home
  • the information presented in the sidebars encourages further investigation
  • teacher materials are accessible and available for classroom use

The largest and longest-lived ecological network in the United States, the Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Network provides the scientific expertise, research platforms, and long-term datasets necessary to document and analyze environmental change. The Network brings together a multi-disciplinary group of more than 2000 scientists and graduate students. The twenty-six LTER sites encompass diverse ecosystems in the continental United States, Alaska, Antarctica and islands in the Caribbean and the Pacific—including deserts, estuaries, lakes, oceans, coral reefs, prairies, forests, alpine and Arctic tundra, urban areas, and production agriculture.
The mission of the Schoolyard Series is to engage children and their families in learning about the earth’s ecosystems, both locally and internationally, through narratives that reflect the dynamic research being conducted at the National Science Foundation’s Long-Term Ecological Research Sites.


Books support the Schoolyard mission of LTER sites by emphasizing:

  • Connection to the local community
  • Interdisciplinary ecological concepts
  • The importance of long-term perspectives
  • A connection to scientists and the scientific questions that are being studied at each LTER site