13 stunning photos of animals now protected by the world's largest marine reserve.

Lewis Pugh is the patron of the oceans, and he's super pumped.

First of all, can I comment on how cool that job title is? He got it from the United Nations. It sounds like it should be from Greek mythology.

He's pumped because we just turned Antarctica's Ross Sea into the world's largest marine sanctuary.

24 countries plus the European Union came together on Friday to declare a new marine reserve twice the size of Texas off the coast of Antarctica.


This designation, which will come into effect in December, will turn 70% of the area into a no-fishing zone.

16,000 species of life are estimated to live in or visit the Ross Sea, turning it into a polar Garden of Eden.

That's what the United Nations Environment Programme called it, anyway. And Pugh is pretty happy about that.

"The Ross Sea is one of the most magnificent places on Earth," he said. "It is one of our last great wilderness areas. This is a dream come true."

This new designation will protect a huge range of creatures. Creatures like:

1. Entire colonies of emperor penguins.

Photo via iStock.

2. Humpback whales!

Photo via iStock.

3. This lovely pelagic snow petrel.

Photo via iStock.

4. And their less-snowy but still pretty cousin, the Antarctic petrel.

Photo via iStock.

5. This kind of adorable krill! Run, krill! Don't you know there are whales around here?!

Photo via iStock.

6. We're not done with the penguins, by the way. These chinstrap penguins are now protected!

Photo by Eitan Abramovich/AFP/Getty Images.

They're more common elsewhere, but there's at least one breeding colony in the Ross Sea.

7. From birds that never fly to birds that almost never land – the albatross!

Photo via iStock.

8. Oh wait, you thought we were done with whales? Nope! Here's a sperm whale.

Photo via iStock.

9. And an orca whale! Whales! Whales for everybody!

Photo via iStock.

10. I know, little crabeater seal, it's a whale extravaganza.

Photo via iStock.

11. How 'bout some birds? Like these skuas, which are like seagulls crossed with bikers.

Photo via iStock.

12. Or this leopard seal, which is like a regular seal crossed with, well, a leopard.

Photo via iStock.

Listen, sometimes animal names are pretty apt, OK?

13. Or how about this bizarre icefish, which is like a cod crossed with a bucket of antifreeze.

Icefish have natural antifreeze chemicals in their blood.

This is a big step in protecting our natural places.

Watching the news, it's easy to get depressed when we hear that we've crossed climate change benchmarks or that a significant portion of wildlife is in danger of disappearing. And these are things we should be concerned about.

But there are still a lot of things that we as a planet can do too. And I know of at least 13 species that might be breathing a little easier today.

Photo courtesy of Macy's
True

Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

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Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

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Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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