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From the Spring 2013 Conservationist for Kids

image of pH test strips with different liquids

The Outside Page

By Gina Jack

Acid Rain Experiments

Researchers learn about our world by studying and conducting experiments. The U.S. EPA has a list of simple experiments you can do at home to learn firsthand about acid rain. They include making your own pH indicator so you can measure the pH of a substance, and looking at the effects of acid rain on plants, water bodies and metal.

Effects of Acid Rain on Architecture and Monuments

image of a statue taken 60 years apart showing the effect of acid rain
The photo on the left was taken in 1908. The effects of acid rain on the statue
are clear in the photo on the right, taken 60 years later, in 1968

In your community, walk through an area that has older buildings with ornate stonework. Look closely at the carvings. Are the features on carved faces clear or do they look like they're partially dissolved? Depending upon the kind of stone they're made of, headstones and monuments in cemeteries may show similar signs of damage from acid rain. Take photographs of the carvings you see. Look for historical photos of the same buildings showing the stonework. (Your town historian or local library may be able to help you find some.) Compare your photos to the historic photos. What changes to the stonework do you notice?

For More Information

Acid Rain: Our Planet in Peril by Louise Petheram (Bridgestone Books/Capstone Press, Mankato, MN, 2003)

What Can We Do About Acid Rain? by David J. Jakubiak (Power Kids Press/The Rosen Publishing Group, Inc., New York, 2012)

DEC's Acid Rain webpage
EPA's educational resources regarding acid rain
EPA's Acid Rain Kids Site (grades 1-3)
EPA's Acid Rain Students Site (grades 4-6)
National Atmospheric Deposition Program
Adirondack Lakes Survey Corporation
Whiteface Mountain Observatory