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Why it matters that climate change is shrinking birds

Scientists have long predicted that increasing temperatures would drive reductions in body size across the tree of life, but testing this requires huge amounts of data collected consistently over decades. This type of data is only available for a tiny fraction of the world’s species, including some North American birds.

Recently, a study based on over 70,000 North American bird specimens found that warming temperatures have been shrinking birds for the past 40 years…

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Amanda Gorman

“Earthrise” by Amanda Gorman

“On Christmas Eve, 1968, astronaut Bill Anders
Snapped a photo of the earth
As Apollo 8 orbited the moon…”

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Schools and solar: Taking action, saving money

As school districts struggle to adapt to a nationwide budget crisis brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, many K-12 schools are shoring up budgets with a switch to solar power. Find out more inside this third edition of Brighter Future: A Study on Solar in U.S. Schools, including new data and trends on solar uptake at schools nationwide, how schools are saving millions in energy bills (with little-to-no upfront investment), and a national ranking of all states for solar on schools…

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Kids On Trail

Psychologists are learning how to bolster the health of humans and the environment as the planet warms

“We are concerned about the findings,” said Clayton, a psychology professor at the College of Wooster in Ohio. “Negative emotions and pessimistic beliefs can be a source of stress that leads to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.” Nearly half of the participants reported that their feelings about climate change negatively affected aspects of their daily lives, such as sleeping, socializing, school, and work…

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Judy Anderson

U.S. eyes wetland restoration as hedge against climate change

Researchers found that conserving existing wetlands, restoring 35 percent of marshes that have been impounded or drained, and allowing coastal wetlands to naturally migrate toward land as sea levels rise could create a substantial sink for CO2 and human-caused methane by 2050…

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A new study on regenerative grazing complicates climate optimism

A new, peer-reviewed paper on White Oak Pastures’ practices advances our understanding of the climate impact of beef and the potential for regenerative grazing to store carbon in the soil….

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Brown Bird

Shared morphological consequences of global warming in North American migratory birds

“Increasing temperatures associated with climate change are predicted to cause reductions in body size, a key determinant of animal physiology and ecology…”

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Declining body size: a third universal response to warming?

“Because body size affects thermoregulation and energetics, changing body size has implications for resilience in the face of climate change.”

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MN Board of Water and Soil Resources

Rotational grazing revives the prairie

Foraging sheep, prairie plants, and soil health all benefited from a two-month experiment that allowed Chris Schmidt to rotationally graze on neighboring land enrolled in the federal Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

The 45-acre prairie restoration was overdue for mid-contract maintenance… “Songbirds. Butterflies. Bees. All that stuff is intertwined one way or another. We can’t have one without the other. Increase that diversity not only in plants but wildlife,” Schmidt said of grazing the landscape…

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Dino Skull

What is mass extinction and are we facing a sixth one?

“Extinction is a part of life, and animals and plants disappear all the time. About 98% of all the organisms that have ever existed on our planet are now extinct.

When a species goes extinct, its role in the ecosystem is usually filled by new species, or other existing ones. Earth’s ‘normal’ extinction rate is often thought to be somewhere between 0.1 and 1 species per 10,000 species per 100 years. This is known as the background rate of extinction…”

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