Field Guide

  Released from factories, powerplants, and vehicles, toxic particles and chemicals can have detrimental effects on both human health and the environment—yet it wasn’t until 1970 that the United States started regulating how much of these pollutants can be emitted into the atmosphere. Today, scientists are still learning about the long-term effects of air pollution,…

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  Fifty years ago, Congress passed arguably the most important environmental and public health legislation to date: the Clean Air Act (CAA). By setting emissions standards for vehicles and industrial factories, the act has removed harmful, airborne pollutants in and around cities, as well as improved the air high above sea level. Georgia Murray, AMC’s…

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One of every three bites of food we eat comes from a plant that was pollinated by something. Despite their size, pollinators—those tiny bees, birds, bats, and insects that aid in the reproduction of plants by carrying pollen from one flower to another—are vital to the success of a healthy ecosystem. “We’ve come to a…

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  Seeing animals in the wild is thrilling. Whether you’ve spotted a common merganser hen swimming with her ducklings trailing behind, a five-lined skink basking on a rock, or—if you’re lucky—an ambling moose in the woods, you know that the encounter is a rarity. Experts encourage tracking for its own sake—even if the animal itself…

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Visitors leaving the eastern Pennsylvania wilderness could find they’ve picked up a hitchhiker—or 20. A large swath of the state, from the Poconos to Philadelphia, has since 2017 been under quarantine for the spotted Pennsylvania lanternfly—an invasive, plant-hopping bug that threatens $14 billion worth of crops and hardwoods in the Keystone State. As researchers work…

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A red-tailed hawk with a bullet to its wing. A bobcat hit by a car. A toad with a wounded leg. Patients like these are often admitted in serious pain, according to Dr. Florina Tseng, director of the Tufts Wildlife Clinic at Tufts University’s Cummings Veterinary Medical Center in North Grafton, Mass. Determining pain levels…

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One million animal and plant species are on the verge of extinction, according to a United Nations report released in May, and we humans bear much of the blame. Climate change, overfishing, pollution, and urban expansion are all threatening Earth’s biodiversity, and with it our own food security, health, and quality of life, according to…

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When it comes to toxic mercury levels that can harm wildlife, the Northeast is “the tailpipe of the world,” says David Evers, executive director and chief scientist of the nonprofit Biodiversity Research Institute, in Portland, Maine. Global wind patterns carry mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants across the United States and from as far away…

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If you hike past a Northeastern pond this spring, you might spot one of nature’s great sunbathers: the painted turtle. This species is so fond of basking, its nickname is the “sun turtle.” Painted turtles can spend up to six hours a day in the spring lying in the sun, often perched with other turtles…

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You probably know squirrels bury nuts to eat another day. But did you realize other animals store food to help them through lean times? “It blows people away how many animals cache food,” says Kent McFarland, a conservation biologist and cofounder of the Vermont Center for Ecostudies. “It’s another strategy to make it through the…

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