Heroes

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.

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

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.

Courtesy of Tiffany Obi
True

With the COVID-19 pandemic upending her community, Brooklyn-based singer Tiffany Obi turned to healing those who had lost loved ones the way she knew best — through music.

Obi quickly ran into one glaring issue as she began performing solo at memorials. Many of the venues where she performed didn't have the proper equipment for her to play a recorded song to accompany her singing. Often called on to perform the day before a service, Obi couldn't find any pianists to play with her on such short notice.

As she looked at the empty piano at a recent performance, Obi's had a revelation.

"Music just makes everything better," Obi said. "If there was an app to bring musicians together on short notice, we could bring so much joy to the people at those memorials."

Using the coding skills she gained at Pursuit — a rigorous, four-year intensive program that trains adults from underserved backgrounds and no prior experience in programming — Obi turned this market gap into the very first app she created.

She worked alongside four other Pursuit Fellows to build In Tune, an app that connects musicians in close proximity to foster opportunities for collaboration.

When she learned about and applied to Pursuit, Obi was eager to be a part of Pursuit's vision to empower their Fellows to build successful careers in tech. Pursuit's Fellows are representative of the community they want to build: 50% women, 70% Black or Latinx, 40% immigrant, 60% non-Bachelor's degree holders, and more than 50% are public assistance recipients.

Keep Reading Show less
via Taber Andrew Bain / Flickr

The tiniest state with the longest name may soon just be the tiniest state after November 3. Rhode Island is voting on whether to change its official name from "The State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations" to "The State of Rhode Island."

Lawmakers in the state would like to shorten the name because the term "plantations" has a historical connection to slavery in the United States.

This isn't the first time the state has attempted to remove "plantations" from its name. Rhode Island attempted the change ten years ago and 78% of voters opposed the idea.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo courtesy of Claudia Romo Edelman
True

When the novel coronavirus hit the United States, life as we knew it quickly changed. As many people holed up in their homes, some essential workers had to make the impossible choice of going to work or quitting their jobs— a choice they continue to make each day.

Because over 80 percent of working Hispanic adults provide essential services for the U.S. economy, the Hispanic community is disproportionately affected. Hispanic families are also much more likely to live in multigenerational households, carrying the extra risk of infecting the most vulnerable. In fact, Hispanics are 20 times more likely than other patients to test positive for COVID-19.

Claudia Romo Edelman saw a community in desperate need of guidance and support. And she created Hispanic Star, a non-profit designed to help Hispanic people in the U.S. pull together as a proud, unified group and overcome barriers — the most pressing of which is the effects of the pandemic.

Because the Hispanic community is so diverse, unification is, and was, an enormous challenge.

Photo credit: Hispanic Star

Keep Reading Show less

Electing Donald Trump to be president of the United States set an incredibly ugly example for the nation's youth.

We know how it's affected the national discourse of regular adults. But there's no denying the conduct of a president impacts how children around the world see the example being set for them. Every day for the past four years, children have been subjected to the behavior of a divisive figure that many of their parents chose to exalt to the most powerful office in the world.

Sure, adults can make excuses for him saying he's an "imperfect messenger" or that they "didn't vote for him to be reverend," but these are all just ways to rationalize voting for a man with zero character. What a message to send to children: Act awful and you'll be handsomely rewarded.

But what if you took away the "Trump" name and examined the character traits of him as an ordinary person? More specifically, what if your daughter came to you and said this was the kind of person she was planning to date? Well, one MAGA family found out and the results are funny, insightful and quite revealing about how we somehow hold our leaders to different and lower standards than we expect from ourselves in our day to day lives.

Keep Reading Show less
File:Delta Airlines - Boeing 767-300 - N185DN (Quintin Soloviev ...

Want to land yourself on a no-fly list? Refuse to wear a mask on an airplane. Delta is actually having to ban people from flights for not wearing masks. "As of this week, we've added 460 people to our no-fly list for refusing to comply with our mask requirement," Delta CEO Ed Bastian said in a message to employees per CNN. The number is up from 270 people in August. It's kinda nuts that people are so against covering their nose and mouth that they're actually willing to get kicked off an airline, but here we are.

We're a good seven months in to the pandemic, so having to wear some kind of protective covering isn't new anymore. Delta flights have been requiring face masks on flights since May 4th, and has been barring rule breakers from traveling since June. Delta is also one of two major U.S. airlines that keeps the middle seat open (at least until the end of 2020).

Keep Reading Show less