BHL Resources to Support Distance Learning

yellow and red flower

Illustration of a Cactus Dahlia from Revue horticole (1908). Contributed in BHL from the New York Botanical Garden, LuEsther T. Mertz Library. This image is one of over 160,000 that are freely available for download and reuse through the BHL Flickr.

BHL’s digital library provides free and open online access to over 250,000 volumes from the 15th-21st centuries on a wide range of biodiversity subjects. These collections offer great resources to support distance learning.

All of our content can be accessed online for free and in full through our digital library portal at No login, account, or membership is required. You can also freely download anything in our library in a variety of formats. Our FAQ provides information on how to search the library and download content.

In addition to our general collections, we’ve identified a selection of materials that may be of particular interest to educators and students. Explore these resources below.

Thematic Collections

Looking for curated content? Our Collections offer a pre-selected set of materials on a variety of subjects, from Antarctic Exploration & Discovery to Seed & Nursery Catalogs and Latino Natural History.

graphic with BHL collections highlighted

Explore over 50 thematic collections on a range of subjects.

Image Resources

If you need image resources for your distance learning activities, we have a rich collection of over 160,000 free nature images in our Flickr. Here’s how to search and download those collections.

Instructions on how to find images in the BHL Flickr

Instructions on how to search for specific subjects and species in the BHL Flickr.

Looking for an educational activity to do online around nature art? Tagging images in the BHL Flickr with species and artist names is a great option. It’s not only a fun way to learn about taxonomy, investigate individual species, and explore artists and artistic practices, but it also makes these images more accessible and discoverable for others to support their research and educational activities.

Learn more about tagging and get started with our instructional guide.

Coloring Books

Looking for more hands-on educational resources? Explore and download our free coloring books created from images in our collection.

cover of the female illustrators in natural history coloring book

Our “Female Illustrators in Natural History” coloring book is one of several freely available from BHL. Explore and download our coloring books.

Women’s History Month Educational Resources

Looking for resources to support educational activities around Women’s History Month? Our #HerNaturalHistory collections offer a range of content related to women’s contributions to natural history. Explore our book and image collections, coloring book, Facebook videos, and blog series.

Her Natural History graphic

Our Her Natural History collections on women in science include book and image collections, a coloring book, Facebook videos, and informative articles.

Avatar for Grace Costantino
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Grace Costantino served as the Outreach and Communication Manager for the Biodiversity Heritage Library from 2014 to 2021. In this capacity, she developed and managed BHL's communication strategy, oversaw social media initiatives, and engaged with the public to excite audiences about the wealth of biodiversity heritage available in BHL. Prior to her role as Outreach and Communication Manager, Grace served as the Digital Collections Librarian for Smithsonian Libraries and as the Program Manager for BHL.