Image description: This color-coded map shows how persistent, scorching heat in the central and eastern regions of the United States shattered long-standing temperature records last month, making it the fourth warmest July nationally. In the South, the heat exacerbated drought conditions as dry as the historic droughts of the 1930s and 1950s, though not as long lived. The average U.S. temperature was 77 degrees F, which is 2.7 degrees above average. Learn more about this historic heatwave.
If you’re looking for cheap family fun this summer, national wildlife refuges are full of free or low-cost outdoor summer adventures.
There’s a national wildlife refuge within an hour’s drive of most major U.S. cities where you can hike, fish, go bird watching or just enjoy a quiet escape from your daily life.
Some refuges hold special events during the summer, like lighthouse tours or bike rides through the refuge to learn about the animals that live there.
Find the closest national wildlife refuge to you and learn about special events.
The U.S. Department of Education launched their annual summer campaign, Let’s Read, Let’s Move. The campaign encourages children to participate in summer reading programs and parents to read to their children more often.
Through summer reading, kids may discover a favorite author that sparks a lifelong love of reading. Summer reading can also prevent learning loss and help prepare a child for the next academic year.
Check out a few reading resources for kids:
Image description: This map shows the areas of the country currently experiencing extreme heat.
Large parts of the United States are currently experiencing dangerous levels of heat and humidity. Heat causes more fatalities per year than floods, lightning, tornadoes, and hurricanes combined. Here’s how to stay safe in the heat this summer:
- Go to locations with air conditioning, such as public libraries, shopping malls, and local cooling centers. This is especially important for the elderly, infants, and children.
- Drink plenty of fluids that do not contain alcohol or large amounts of sugar.
- Never leave children or pets in a parked car, in any season. Deadly temperatures can be reached in mere minutes.
- Wear loose clothing and stay in the shade. Use hats and umbrellas.
- Apply SPF 15 or higher sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. Sunburn reduces your skin’s ability to shed heat.
- If you or someone you know is unable to leave a dangerous heat situation, contact your local authorities.
Heat illnesses can lead to death if untreated. The warning signs are dizziness, nausea, throbbing headaches, and rapid pulse. Call 911 if you suspect that you or someone else is a victim of heat illness and cool the person down immediately.
Find more information on how to stay safe from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you’re looking for a summer volunteer opportunity, learn about the Strong Minds reading program.