Drill holes in some wood and put it outside. Good job — you just helped save the bees.
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Disneynature's Born In China

You know what's great? Animals.

This is not new information, I know. But in case you need a reminder...

Exhibit A: A baby seal making an entrance.


Exhibit B: This slow loris needs you to just give him a minute, please.

Exhibit C: A hedgehog enjoying bath or stuck upside down but either way is adorable.

Exhibit D: LOOK AT THIS PANDA'S TONGUE.

And Exhibit E: in which this baby bat is me, all the time, always.

See? You'd forgotten how great animals were, hadn't you?

There are some animals who need our help, though.

As the environment comes under increasing threat of harm, so do the animals that live in it. The good news is, there's a lot we can do right in our hometowns.

Here are 25 easy things you can do to get started on your path to becoming a wildlife warrior.

1. Create or restore your backyard wildlife habitat.

Find out what species live in your area, then add places for them to eat, drink, and sleep in your backyard.

2. And once you've done that, set up another one wherever you work!

3. Build a bee house.

Bees don't need much to make a home — just a cozy hole in some wood. Drill holes in your spare lumber and scatter them around your yard to give them someplace to live.

Image via iStock.

4. Start composting your waste.

It helps keep the soil rich, which in turn makes sure animals' natural plant food is happy and healthy! (Plus it cuts down on garbage waste.)

If soil had a mouth, it would be watering. Photo via elbrozzie/Flickr.

5. Learn how (and why) to shop for local, sustainable produce.

Non-locally sourced food uses up a lot of resources traveling to the grocery store. It's a lot better for the environment (and the animals that live in it) to shop locally, buying only what's in season.

6. If you live near a bat population, build an easy bat house to give them a place to rest.

Bringing a bat colony to your backyard will also cut down on the amount of mosquitoes hanging around. Bonus! Image via iStock.

7. Take this World Wildlife Fund pledge.

By doing so, you'll be committing to raise your voice in support of various environmental efforts around the world — and the WWF will help you find out where your efforts are most needed.

8. And apply to become a panda ambassador!

If you're feeling ambitious, apply to work in partnership with the WWF in your community.

9. Make a butterfly feeder, then put it near a window so you can admire its visitors!

10. Avoid buying products with microplastics, like face scrubs with plastic beads.

Tiny plastics might seem harmless, but they pollute the environment with chemicals and are dangerous to animals that swallow them.

11. Join the Endangered Species Coalition's activist network.

12. If you have large glass windows or doors, buy decals to prevent birds from colliding with them.

13. Learn how to care for your lawn and garden without using herbicides or pesticides.

It's actually not that hard. Undiluted white vinegar is an alternative to weed killer, and you can spread corn gluten in the spring to solve problems like dandelions and crabgrass.

14. Disinfect your birdbath to prevent the spread of disease.

15. Plant native, bee-friendly flowers in your yard.

Flowers like lavender, white clover, and goldenrod — just to name a few — provide our fragile bee population with homes to pollinate and populate. (Just make sure you're not introducing plant species that aren't native to your area.)

16. Buying souvenirs? Make sure they're not made from threatened or endangered species, like ivory or coral.

Image via iStock.

17. Participate in Clean Ocean Action's annual Beach Sweeps (or go out and do your own sweep whenever you're in the mood).

Clean Ocean Action's annual event not only serves to clean up beaches, it also provides scientists with data on pollution patterns that help them design solutions for the future.

18. Always cut up your six-pack soda rings before recycling them, and never let balloons loose outside.

Releasing balloons can seem like a cool idea, but it's devastating to nature. Balloons and bags that end up in the ocean create a hazard to turtles and other sea animals that mistake them for tasty jellyfish.

Image via iStock.

19. Avoid buying single-use items, like coffee pods, plastic water bottles, and disposable utensils.

Even if they're recyclable, it's still better for the Earth to get the permanent version and wash it between uses. The plastics in single-use items put harmful chemicals into animal environments, and it takes valuable resources (like pollutive fossil fuels) to melt them down and recycle them.

20. Build a frog pond in your backyard.

Image via iStock.

21. Sponsor an animal at your local zoo or through the World Wildlife Fund.

22. Find out what bills are currently being proposed to protect America's wild animals, then call your congressional representatives and ask them to support them.

23. Conserve water and electricity in your house by taking shorter showers, turning off electronics, and buying energy-efficient appliances.

Keeping our carbon footprint small helps slow climate change, which causes harm to animals that need a cold climate to live.

24. Only buy MSC-certified fish.

Certain populations are susceptible to overfishing, so make sure you're eating the right ones. There are over 20,000 certified sustainable seafoods to choose from with the Marine Stewardship Council, so it shouldn't be too hard.

Image via iStock.

25. Above all, stay informed.

The best way to help any animal species is to do research, get the facts, and find out more about how to get involved with organizations that are working to help.

There are plenty of things you can do at home to help save wildlife. From fun projects to small tweaks in your routine, simply being more mindful of the environment we inhabit can help us understand better what the animals around us need.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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Canva

Prior to European colonization of North America, millions of bison roamed the Great Plains. By the turn of the 20th century, those numbers had dropped to less than 1,000. The deliberate decimation of buffalo herds was a direct attack on the Native American people, who colonizers saw as an obstacle to their "Manifest Destiny," and who the U.S. government engaged in a systematic attempt to eliminate or force into docile submission.

For thousands of years, bison were a sacred, inseparable part of life for Indigenous tribes of the Great Plains, used for food, shelter, utensils, and clothing, in addition to spiritual and emotional well-being. Wiping out the bison population nearly wiped out the Native tribes they were connected to.

Though bison numbers have increased significantly thanks to conservation efforts, governments are still grappling with the ugly legacy, and some municipalities are taking steps to try to repair some of the damage done. As one example, the city of Denver, Colorado has taken the step of giving some of the city's bison population managed by Denver Parks and Recreation to Native American tribes engaged in bison conservation efforts.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less