Picture a young sea lion — let's call him Joey — taking an afternoon swim along the coast of Alaska and coming upon a long, shiny plastic loop.

Of course, Joey doesn't know the loop is plastic. All he knows is that he's never seen something like this wriggling through the water before, and he'd love to play with it.  

"Sea lions are curious and playful creatures by nature," explains Sue Goodglick, a wildlife biologist with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game program that studies and tracks Steller sea lions like Joey. So, she says, when they come across plastic objects like this, they usually like to play with it.

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Heroes

Ralph Pace’s career as a photographer didn’t start underwater. In fact, it started with a jaguar.

He'd decided to go to graduate school for oceanography, but before he could do so, he needed to get some research experience under his belt.

So he headed to Costa Rica.

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Nature Valley

Losing a loved one is hard for a number of reasons.

While the grieving process itself takes a toll, you might also find yourself needing to make several difficult decisions. There are legal issues, people to notify, decisions about the person's property or belongings, and a million choices about funeral arrangements.

If the death is unexpected or isn't thoroughly planned for, those decisions get even harder.

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