Newswise: New Course Helps Awaken Curiosity About Nature

Newswise: New Course Helps Awaken Curiosity About Nature. “Adults who want to connect kids with nature now have some expert guidance, thanks to a new online course from Bird Academy, the e-learning arm of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. ‘Let’s Go Outside: How to Connect Kids with Birds and Nature,’ contains six lessons with dozens of field-tested activities to reduce screen time for kids and boost their curiosity about the natural world.”

PsyPost: Colorful urban environments promote wellbeing, even if they are just in virtual reality

PsyPost: Colorful urban environments promote wellbeing, even if they are just in virtual reality. “A new study in Frontiers in Virtual Reality tested the effects of vegetation and colorful patterns in an urban environment. Employing virtual reality, the study found that green vegetation caused volunteers to walk more slowly, while also increasing their heartrate, indicating a pleasurable experience. Meanwhile, colorful patterns increased alertness, fascination and curiosity.”

MakeUseOf: 5 Apps for Spending Time Outside and Connecting With Nature

MakeUseOf: 5 Apps for Spending Time Outside and Connecting With Nature. “If you want to spend more time in nature but need a little nudge to get out there, then look to your smartphone or tablet for help. Whether you want to spend more time hiking and camping or simply take a lap around the block occasionally, this collection of apps can help you make the most of your time in nature.” I had no idea this category of app existed.

The Guardian: Five ways AI is saving wildlife – from counting chimps to locating whales

The Guardian: Five ways AI is saving wildlife – from counting chimps to locating whales. “AI is helping to protect species as diverse as humpback whales, koalas and snow leopards, supporting the work of scientists, researchers and rangers in vital tasks, from anti-poaching patrols to monitoring species. With machine learning (ML) computer systems that use algorithms and models to learn, understand and adapt, AI is often able to do the job of hundreds of people, getting faster, cheaper and more effective results. Here are five AI projects contributing to our understanding of biodiversity and species.”

Scienmag: Global database of plants reveals human activity biggest driver of homogenization of plant communities

Scienmag: Global database of plants reveals human activity biggest driver of homogenization of plant communities. “In a study published December 6 in Nature Communications researchers have compiled a dataset of over 200,000 plant species worldwide to demonstrate the extent to which species extinctions and non-native invasive plants reorganize plant communities in the Anthropocene, the current geological age dominated by human activity.”

Arizona Secretary of State: Float along the early days of Lake Powell on the Arizona Memory Project

Arizona Secretary of State: Float along the early days of Lake Powell on the Arizona Memory Project. “A new partnership between the State of Arizona Research Library and the Glen Canyon Conservancy- John Wesley Powell Museum has resulted in the Stan Jones’ Glen Canyon Log Books collection. From 1966 to 1986, as Lake Powell filled behind the newly completed Glen Canyon Dam, Stan Jones explored the changing shorelines in his motorboat, writing down his notes and observations as the waters rose. Though the collection only contains two journals, their handwritten findings fill nearly 400 pages of material that Jones would later use in his books about Lake Powell.”

Newswise: Lockdown wellbeing: children who spent more time in nature fared best

Newswise: Lockdown wellbeing: children who spent more time in nature fared best. “A study has found that children who increased their connection to nature during the first COVID-19 lockdown were likely to have lower levels of behavioural and emotional problems, compared to those whose connection to nature stayed the same or decreased – regardless of their socio-economic status. The study, by researchers at the University of Cambridge and the University of Sussex, also found that children from affluent families tended to have increased their connection to nature during the pandemic more than their less affluent peers.”

ScienceNordic: What our online lives can tell us about how much we value nature

ScienceNordic: What our online lives can tell us about how much we value nature. “For the past eight years, several research groups, including ours, have spent a lot of time understanding whether we can eavesdrop on social media posts to figure out where and when people interact with nature. It turns out that we can. We tend to take photos and describe the part of our nature experiences that mattered. So suddenly our online lives is opening the possibility to figure out, at a global scale, where people go to experience nature and what it is they are actually enjoying when doing so.”

New York Times: Offices Dangle Beehives and Garden Plots to Coax Workers Back

New York Times: Offices Dangle Beehives and Garden Plots to Coax Workers Back. “Office workers who were sent home during pandemic lockdowns often sought refuge in nature, tending to houseplants, setting up bird feeders and sitting outdoors with their laptops. Now, as companies try to coax skittish employees back to the office and building owners compete for tenants when vacancy rates are soaring, many have hit on the idea of making the office world feel more like the natural world.”

DTU Aqua: Photo posts reveal huge interest for real coastal nature

DTU Aqua: Photo posts reveal huge interest for real coastal nature. “Tourists are generating more social media attention about marine protected areas than about other neighbouring coastal areas. In those protected areas they focus more on nature as such, wildlife or wild landscapes, whereas photos from nearby, ‘control’, coastal zones are more focused on human infrastructure like roads, trains, restaurants as well as cultural and historical sites….The photographers also described their photos taken in marine protected areas in a more positive manner than those taken outside MPAs. The social media followers viewing photos of those experiences liked and commented more on MPA photos than they did for non-MPA photos.”

The Conversation: From CRISPR to glowing proteins to optogenetics – scientists’ most powerful technologies have been borrowed from nature

The Conversation: From CRISPR to glowing proteins to optogenetics – scientists’ most powerful technologies have been borrowed from nature. “Three cutting-edge techniques – the gene-editing tool CRISPR, fluorescent proteins and optogenetics – were all inspired by nature. Biomolecular tools that have worked for bacteria, jellyfish and algae for millions of years are now being used in medicine and biological research. Directly or indirectly, they will change the lives of everyday people.”

Harper’s: The Crow Whisperer

Harper’s: The Crow Whisperer. “Last May, as the number of coronavirus deaths continued to rise, many of the animals that live among us in cities and towns—residing in gutters and trees and parks and crawl spaces—had their worlds turned upside down. City centers were empty; dumpsters were no longer filled with scraps of food; fewer cars were on the road; neighborhood parks were thick with people who would otherwise have been working or at school. If it weren’t for the coronavirus, Mona would never have been outside that morning chasing fledglings, because Adam and Dani would have been where they usually were in the middle of the day—at work.”