Remember how much you cared about endangered animals when you were a kid? We've got some news...

Sometimes it can seem like the government can't do a thing whether they pass a law or not, but that's not always the case!

In the '60s and '70s, Congress passed a set of laws to get endangered animals OFF the endangered list. Guess what? It worked!

So, let's reflect on the progress we've made in 40+ years! Especially when that progress can be shown via adorable (and, when possible, baby) animals.


What still exists thanks to laws? Well...

1. Bald eagles

In 1962, there were only a little more than 400 eagles left (?!?!). This was because DDT (a chemical used to control pests) was thinning their eggshells, their wetland habitats were disappearing, and people were actually hunting them (holy moly).

But we've come a long way, baby! DDT was eventually banned, and a lot was done to protect the eagles in their natural habitat. In 2007, the American bald eagle was *removed* from the endangered species list ... meaning over 11,000 were counted zipping majestically through the clouds!

Not cute enough yet?

p.s. Did you know a baby eagle is called an eaglet?

"Thank you for saving me, and let freedom ring! I hope to grow up to inspire millions and be in commercials maybe." — Baby Bald Eagle

If you want more info, you can read up on all the details at this site by the Center for Biological Diversity.

2. Grizzly bears

While their natural homes were disappearing, grizzly bears were also being killed (again?) and having major problems with their food chain. By 1975, there were just over 1,000 bears total — down from 50,000 grizzlies in the 1880s! But, thanks to the Endangered Species Act, they were eventually removed from the endangered species list in 2010.

"Don't mess with my mom, and tell Stephen Colbert I say hiiiii." — Baby Grizzly Bear, who's so hip she knows that Stephen Colbert doesn't trust bears

For more info on how it all happened, here's a link.

UPDATE: While grizzlies are off the endangered list, they are still extremely threatened. We found this out because the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service emailed us about it! There are some interesting complexities related to the Yellowstone population, but FWS says all grizzlies in the lower 48 states retain threatened status at this time (check out information on recovery areas from the FWS). You can see the official status of the grizzly bear (and any other federally listed species) by searching the FWS Environmental Conservation Online System (ECOS). Stay vigilant!

3. American alligator

People were hunting them AND their habitats were disappearing (notice a theme yet?), but when they were put on the endangered species list in 1967, things started improving. For example, with Florida alligators, the population went from just 350 in 1975 to 2,085 as of 2005.

"Hello, friend. I'm glad you're OK." — Me, talking to this tiny baby alligator

Here's a bit more info on alligator numbers.

4. Utah prairie dog

Livestock and agriculture were getting in the way (and actively poisoning) these pesky yet adorable lil' guys. Not to be * dramatic*, but the population was down to just over 3,000 in 1972! As of 2010, it's back up to over 11,000.

Teeny hands! Weird nails!

"DUN DUN DUNnnnn" — Dramatic Prairie Dog

All the prairie dog details you can handle here.

*BONUS NON-ANIMAL FLORA RESCUE*

5. Tennessee coneflower

Residential and recreational development were threatening this naturally rare (it only lives in cedar glades) wildflower's life! But they're back, and ain't they pretty!

Check out the natural beauty of the Tennessee Smoky Mountains webcam, where many of these flowers live. Sometimes I look at it and feel calmed by the majesty of nature.

More info on the dangerous life of the Tennessee coneflower here.

Now, I know many of you — myself included — might say to yourselves, "Who cares about a flower or a pesky prairie dog? There are much HUGER PROBLEMS happening!"

But that's the thing — seeing that Congress was able to pass an act and work together with states and local government gives me hope.

If we can save a flower or a baby alligator, we can save ... America!

Why not? I know it's cheesy, but it makes me feel better.

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On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

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Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

WE Teachers
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via KGW-TV / YouTube

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"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

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