During the month of April the State Library of North Carolina is celebrating the environment and natural resources. We hope you will explore the sampling of resources listed below to learn about educational opportunities in the environmental field, or to find visitor information for one of the many beautiful trails in North Carolina. North Carolinians of all ages are embracing the opportunity to redefine citizen responsibility and increase awareness of the natural resources available in North Carolina and the United States.

back to topWhat are Natural Resources?

  • Natural resources are derived from the earth and include the soil and water and all that dwells in, on, or above it, as well as minerals and other raw materials. Natural resources are classified by:

  • Origin: Biotic (living beings) or Abiotic (non-living things, such as land, water, air, and ores);
  • Developmental stage: Potential natural resources are assessed based on their ability to be manipulated or extracted for use, and are considered reserves if they have potential capital value, while Actual natural resources are those currently being utilized; and
  • Renewability: These are resources that are either able to be replenished, or cannot be replenished once used (non-renewable), such as coal and petroleum.

back to topExploring North Carolina

  • North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
  • The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is the "lead stewardship agency for the preservation and protection of North Carolina's outstanding natural resources. The organization administers regulatory programs designed to protect air quality, water quality, and the public's health. DENR also offers technical assistance to businesses, farmers, local governments, and the public and encourages responsible behavior with respect to the environment through education programs. DENR strives to enhance and ensure quality of life."
  • North Carolina Environmental Education Centers
    Environmental Educations Centers are facilities that provide quality environmental education for the public, including outdoor experiences, exhibits, and programs. There are currently more than 200 Environmental Education Centers identified in North Carolina. They consist of federal, state, and local government facilities, as well as non-profit, corporate-sponsored and university-operated centers.
  • NC Museum of Natural Sciences
  • The Museum's scientists maintain zoological collections; conduct primary research in the natural sciences; collaborate on research projects with universities, state and federal agencies and international organizations; and interpret natural history to the public.The Nature Research Centeris an 80,000 square foot wing that opened in April, 2012 and drew over 1.2 million visitors by the end of 2012. The museum facilitates participation in a number of citizen science research projects. Citizen science involves people of all ages and backgrounds in partnerships with scientists to gather valuable data for research.
  • NC Coastal Federation
  • The NC Coastal Federation exists to provide citizens and groups with the assistance they need to take an active role in the stewardship of North Carolina's coastal water quality and natural resources.
  • NC Wildlife Commission
  • NC Wildlife Commission provides resources for "wise-use, conservation, and management of the state's fish and wildlife resources."
  • Endangered and Threatened Species of North Carolina
  • Maintained by the Raleigh Ecological Services office of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, this page provides links to information about North Carolina's threatened or endangered mammals, birds, reptiles, fish, insects, plants and more.
  • DID YOU KNOW? The General Assemby of 2005 adopted the Venus Flytrap as the official state carnivorous plant. Although it is cultivated throughout the world, it is native only to a small 75 mile radius surrounding Wilmington in the Coastal Plain of North and South Carolina.

    Venus Fly Trap

back to top Natural Resource Management

  • US Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
  • Established in 1946 by combining the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service, the BLM is responsible for carrying out a variety of programs for the management and conservation of resources on 253 million surface acres, as well as 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate. These public lands make up about 13 percent of the total land surface of the United States and more than 40 percent of all land managed by the Federal government. In addition, the BLM administers mineral leasing and oversees mineral operations on Federal mineral estate underlying other state, private, or Federally-administered land, and manages most mineral operations on Indian lands.
  • US Department of Agriculture (USDA)
  • The USDA provides leadership on food, agriculture, natural resources, and related issues based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
  • Since 1935, under the US Department of Agriculture, the NRCS has provided education, advising, and training to private land owners on best practices for land, water, and soil conservation and management. Check out the Plants Database!
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Formed in 1970, the EPA leads the nation's environmental science, research, education and assessment efforts. The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency is to protect human health and the environment. Since 1970, EPA has been working for a cleaner, healthier environment for the American people.
  • US Forest Service
  • Established in 1905 the Forest Service manages public lands in national forests and grasslands. Check here for up to date information on National Forests in North Carolina.
  • Division of Pollution Prevention and Environmental Assistance (DPPEA)
  • DPPEA promotes greener business and industry, a better environment and more efficient use of natural resources by providing a wide range of non-regulatory technical assistance on the elimination, reduction reuse and recycling of wastes and the conservation of water and energy.


back to topNatural Resource Industry

  • North Carolina Museum of Forestry
  • A satellite office of the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, located in Whiteville, NC, the North Carolina Museum of Forestry celebrates the cultural history and heritage of our forests and forestry industry.
  • U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
  • The mission of USGBC is to transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life. Known for introducing the LEED green building rating system in 1998, USGBC is a leader in green initiatives and education.
  • US Geological Survey (USGS) Earth ArtUSGS serves the Nation by providing reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect our quality of life. Check out their Science in Your Backyard resource for North Carolina and their Earth as Art image collection.



back to top Digital Collections

back to topResearch

Government & Heritage Library resources include books, videos, state reports, and legislative mandates. Additional resources may be found in libraries across the state, some of which are highlighted below.

back to topEducation

In addition to K-12 educators integrating environmental education into their lesson plans, many universities have begun offering inter-disciplinary majors and courses to better prepare students for the changing landscape of employment. Others are directed at continuing education for working professionals or at individuals interested in knowing how human activities impact our environment.

back to topTravel

  • National Parks in North Carolina
    Over 17.7 million people visited North Carolina's ten national parks in 2012.
  • NC Division of Parks and Recreation
    Find information about North Carolina's state parks.
  • Tea CeremonyNC Environmental Education Centers
    Provides a directory of state, local, federal and non-profit environmental education centers.
  • NC Bike Maps and Routes
  • Find information about bike touring maps covering different portions of the state, maps of county and regional bicycle route systems, and urban maps that show cyclists how to get around town by bike for most of the state's metropolitan areas. Digital images are provided for many maps, as well as ordering information.
  • NC State Transportation Map
  • The map features the state's extensive highway system, as well as important safety information. Find information on how to get a paper copy and learn about the history of the map.

back to topImage Credits

Header: Image courtesy of North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission.

Exploring NC: Venus Flytrap: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. Accessed from Wikipedia 1 March 2010. Image courtesy of markus, uploaded 27 April 2009.

Interact: Climate Connections: A Global Journey. Courtesy of NPR. Producer: Vikki Valentine; Senior Editors: Alison Richards, David Malakoff; Designer: Lindsay Mangum; Project Manager: Scott Stroud; Developer: Threespot Media, LLC

Listen to a Podcast & Earth Art images are USGS-authored or produced data and are considered to be in the U.S. public domain.

Read This : The Natural Gardens of North Carolina. From The University of North Carolina Press, image courtesy of UNC Press.

Nature's Champion. From The University of North Carolina Press, image courtesy of UNC Press.

Exploring North Carolina's Natural Areas. From The University of North Carolina Press, image courtesy of UNC Press.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens: Japanese Tea Gathering Photo by Jon Gardiner, Duke Photography, accessed at Gardens@Duke Blog