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Need a break? Here are 6 videos of nature to watch LIVE right now.

Everyone should spend time outdoors. But for folks who don't happen to live near elephants or puffins, these six live nature webcams provide a fantastic taste of wildlife and beauty from around the world.

Sometimes, all you want to do is get out and appreciate Mother Nature.

Goro the adventurous Corgi on Mount Fuji. Image via Goro@Welsh corgi.


But sometimes (OK, a lot of the time), it just isn't feasible to spend your entire day staring at Niagara Falls or hoping an elephant walks by your window.

So for those of us who need to bring the great outside world into our homes or offices or computer screens or what have you, I present to you …

Six of the best* free live nature cams on the Internet.

*Entirely based on my own opinion and research. Got a better one? Come at me, bro.

And hey, DISCLAIMER: The ones I picked are all pretty reliable (they've worked well for me so far), but they are live streams. Sometimes the video goes out for a bit. Don't despair! Just check back later.

1) Underwater view of Cayman coral reef

Screenshot taken June 19, 2015. Image via Teens4Oceans and explore.org.

How could this one not make the list? It's UNDERWATER! THAT'S THE COOLEST.

This camera is located just off the island of Grand Cayman in the Caribbean Sea. It's kind of like having an aquarium in your room, but score! you don't have to clean it.

Better take a look at this beautiful reef while you can. Globally, 32% of monitored reef formations are at risk of being lost in the next 32 years due to human activities in oceans. Womp womppp.

Maybe catching a glimpse of a real live coral reef every day on this live stream will help us remember how important it is to take care of our oceans.

Watch the Cayman reef cam here.

2) International Space Station looking at Earth

Screenshot from the cam taken June 19, 2015. Image via NASA.

WHAAAAT how cool is this!?

This one's a live view of Earth from the International Space Station (ISS), the low-orbit space station research lab launched in 1988.

According to NASA, the ISS orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes. So if you watch the live stream for a while, you should see a sunrise or sunset about every 45 minutes. I didn't catch one, but the view of Earth steadily moving beneath the camera was still pretty darn amazing.

Watch the ISS cam here.

3) Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge — puffins!

Screenshot from cam taken June 19, 2015. Image via Audubon Project Puffin and explore.org.

Seal Island is a National Wildlife Refuge in Maine that's managed by the National Audubon Society and a division of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The island is home to a few different seabirds, including a restored — you guessed it — puffin population.

In 1984, nearly 1,000 young puffins were transferred to the island from Newfoundland in an attempt to boost the local puffin population. Before that, puffins hadn't nested in the area since the late 1800s — they were pushed out by excessive hunting, egging, and displacement. But by 2012, more than 500 pairs of puffins were nesting again thanks to the restoration efforts.

Go puffins, go!

Watch the puffin cam here.

4) African animal lookout in Kenya

Screenshot of off-air video. Image via Mpala Research Centre and Wildlife Foundation, and explore.org.

Chances are, you're not in Kenya right now. And chances are, you can't see elephants from your window, either.

This is a fun one where you can get a taste of some exotic animals that aren't at a zoo. Toggle between the animal lookout, a watering hole cam, and a couple other options for a variety of exotic animal views (giraffes! hippos!). Bonus: chirping birds pretty much all the time.

When the video is offline (like when it's dark out in Kenya), it will sometimes show recorded highlights of animals like these elephants. At those times, a little "off air" tag shows up in the bottom-right of the video.

Watch the animal lookout cam here.

5) Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Screenshot from cam taken June 9, 2014. Image via National Park Service.

It may not be a live stream (the camera shows a new still image every 15 minutes), but the view from Purchase Knob in Great Smoky Mountains National Park is ridiculous.

After Andrew Jackson forcefully relocated over 16,000 native people from this region in the 1800s (thousands died along the way), logging became the main industry in these beautiful mountains. But as the decades passed, folks started to worry that clear-cutting was destroying the area, and they began a push to protect the land with a national park.

It took many years, but piece by piece, the park was put together. Now it's the most visited national park in the U.S.

You gotta check out the view on this one. 10/10, would refresh page again.

Check out the Purchase Knob view here.

6) Niagara Falls, Canadian side

Screenshot from the cam taken June 17, 2015. Image via niagarafallslive.com.

This camera shows the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, sometimes called the Horseshoe Falls. Don't worry about missing out on the American side (psh!) — most of the water that flows over all the falls actually flows over the Canadian side.

The plus side of this cam is that there's pretty much always something to look at (spoiler alert: that something is water). Also, the live stream is accompanied by the most lovely and soothing sound of a gigantic waterfall. I used to be a fan of using a white noise generator occasionally, but I def will be replacing it with this never-ending video of Niagara Falls.

Watch the Niagara Falls cam here. NOTE: This one uses Adobe Flash Player.

Honorable mentions:

There are so so so so many other amazing nature cams out there, I couldn't possibly include them all.

One great one I left out is the Pennsylvania bald eagle nest cam, where you can actually watch eagles hatch from eggs. Seriously! The prime viewing season for this one is February-March, which is when the eggs develop and hatch.

And if all you need right now is a fix of pure CUTE, check out the cameras from Warrior Canine Connection (via explore.org), an organization that trains therapy service dogs for veterans. Alert: Do not click on this one if you don't have five minutes to squeal about puppies.

Connections Academy

Wylee Mitchell is a senior at Nevada Connections Academy who started a t-shirt company to raise awareness for mental health.

True

Teens of today live in a totally different world than the one their parents grew up in. Not only do young people have access to technologies that previous generations barely dreamed of, but they're also constantly bombarded with information from the news and media.

Today’s youth are also living through a pandemic that has created an extra layer of difficulty to an already challenging age—and it has taken a toll on their mental health.

According to Mental Health America, nearly 14% of youths ages 12 to 17 experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. In a September 2020 survey of high schoolers by Active Minds, nearly 75% of respondents reported an increase in stress, anxiety, sadness and isolation during the first six months of the pandemic. And in a Pearson and Connections Academy survey of US parents, 66% said their child felt anxious or depressed during the pandemic.

However, the pandemic has only exacerbated youth mental health issues that were already happening before COVID-19.

“Many people associate our current mental health crisis with the pandemic,” says Morgan Champion, the head of counseling services for Connections Academy Schools. “In fact, the youth mental health crisis was alarming and on the rise before the pandemic. Today, the alarm continues.”

Mental Health America reports that most people who take the organization’s online mental health screening test are under 18. According to the American Psychiatric Association, about 50% of cases of mental illness begin by age 14, and the tendency to develop depression and bipolar disorder nearly doubles from age 13 to age 18.

Such statistics demand attention and action, which is why experts say destigmatizing mental health and talking about it is so important.

“Today we see more people talking about mental health openly—in a way that is more akin to physical health,” says Champion. She adds that mental health support for young people is being more widely promoted, and kids and teens have greater access to resources, from their school counselors to support organizations.

Parents are encouraging this support too. More than two-thirds of American parents believe children should be introduced to wellness and mental health awareness in primary or middle school, according to a new Global Learner Survey from Pearson. Since early intervention is key to helping young people manage their mental health, these changes are positive developments.

In addition, more and more people in the public eye are sharing their personal mental health experiences as well, which can help inspire young people to open up and seek out the help they need.

“Many celebrities and influencers have come forward with their mental health stories, which can normalize the conversation, and is helpful for younger generations to understand that they are not alone,” says Champion.

That’s one reason Connections Academy is hosting a series of virtual Emotional Fitness talks with Olympic athletes who are alums of the virtual school during Mental Health Awareness Month. These talks are free, open to the public and include relatable topics such as success and failure, leadership, empowerment and authenticity. For instance, on May 18, Olympic women’s ice hockey player Lyndsey Fry will speak on finding your own style of confidence, and on May 25, Olympic figure skater Karen Chen will share advice for keeping calm under pressure.

Family support plays a huge role as well. While the pandemic has been challenging in and of itself, it has actually helped families identify mental health struggles as they’ve spent more time together.

“Parents gained greater insight into their child’s behavior and moods, how they interact with peers and teachers,” says Champion. “For many parents this was eye-opening and revealed the need to focus on mental health.”

It’s not always easy to tell if a teen is dealing with normal emotional ups and downs or if they need extra help, but there are some warning signs caregivers can watch for.

“Being attuned to your child’s mood, affect, school performance, and relationships with friends or significant others can help you gauge whether you are dealing with teenage normalcy or something bigger,” Champion says. Depending on a child’s age, parents should be looking for the following signs, which may be co-occurring:

  • Perpetual depressed mood
  • Rocky friend relationships
  • Spending a lot of time alone and refusing to participate in daily activities
  • Too much or not enough sleep
  • Not eating a regular diet
  • Intense fear or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Suicidal ideation (talking about being a burden or giving away possessions) or plans

“You know your child best. If you are unsure if your child is having a rough time or if there is something more serious going on, it is best to reach out to a counselor or doctor to be sure,” says Champion. “Always err on the side of caution.”

If it appears a student does need help, what next? Talking to a school counselor can be a good first step, since they are easily accessible and free to visit.

“Just getting students to talk about their struggles with a trusted adult is huge,” says Champion. “When I meet with students and/or their families, I work with them to help identify the issues they are facing. I listen and recommend next steps, such as referring families to mental health resources in their local areas.”

Just as parents would take their child to a doctor for a sprained ankle, they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if a child is struggling mentally or emotionally. Parents also need to realize that they may not be able to help them on their own, no matter how much love and support they have to offer.

“That is a hard concept to accept when parents can feel solely responsible for their child’s welfare and well-being,” says Champion. “The adage still stands—it takes a village to raise a child. Be sure you are surrounding yourself and your child with a great support system to help tackle life’s many challenges.”

That village can include everyone from close family to local community members to public figures. Helping young people learn to manage their mental health is a gift we can all contribute to, one that will serve them for a lifetime.

Join athletes, Connections Academy and Upworthy for candid discussions on mental health during Mental Health Awareness Month. Learn more and find resources here.

That first car is a rite of passage into adulthood. Specifically, the hard-earned lesson of expectations versus reality. Though some of us are blessed with Teslas at 17, most teenagers receive a car that’s been … let’s say previously loved. And that’s probably a good thing, considering nearly half of first-year drivers end up in wrecks. Might as well get the dings on the lemon, right?

Of course, wrecks aside, buying a used car might end up costing more in the long run after needing repairs, breaking down and just a general slew of unexpected surprises. But hey, at least we can all look back and laugh.

My first car, for example, was a hand-me-down Toyota of some sort from my mother. I don’t recall the specific model, but I definitely remember getting into a fender bender within the first week of having it. She had forgotten to get the brakes fixed … isn’t that a fun story?

Jimmy Fallon recently asked his “Tonight Show” audience on Twitter to share their own worst car experiences. Some of them make my brake fiasco look like cakewalk (or cakedrive, in this case). Either way, these responses might make us all feel a little less alone. Or at the very least, give us a chuckle.

Here are 22 responses with the most horsepower:

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Photo by TR on Unsplash

Companies and organizations are on the side of their employees in light of stricter abortion laws.

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People are also organizing over social media. They’re helping locate nonprofits that will help cover the cost of travel from a restricted state to states where abortion will remain legal. Secret Facebook groups are popping up to help arrange transportation and accommodations for those who need access to safe reproductive care. People are coming together in ways you see in movies, all in an effort to prevent inevitable deaths that would occur if people attempt home abortions. It’s both heartwarming and heart-wrenching that this is something that needs to be done at all. It doesn’t stop with determined activists and housewives across the country, this fiery spirit has reached corporations as well.

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via Pexels

If you know how to fix this tape, you grew up in the 1990s.

There are a lot of reasons to feel a twinge of nostalgia for the final days of the 20th century. Rampant inflation, a global pandemic and political unrest have created a sense of uneasiness about the future that has everyone feeling a bit down.

There’s also a feeling that the current state of pop culture is lacking as well. Nobody listens to new music anymore and unless you’re into superheroes, it seems like creativity is seriously missing from the silver screen.

But, you gotta admit, that TV is still pretty damn good.

A lot of folks feel Americans have become a lot harsher to one another due to political divides, which seem to be widening by the day due to the power of the internet and partisan media.

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