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Today is May 21

Endangered Species Day

Have you ever seen a rhino at the zoo? How about polar bears? For many people, sea turtles are the big draw. Did you know these animals are all endangered species?

You may have heard about giant pandas being endangered. You may even know that bald eagles are on the list. However, there are thousands of other endangered species. And they’re not all animals! Many endangered species are plants.

How does a species become endangered? It has to do with risk of extinctionExtinction is when no more members of a species are alive. You probably know about dinosaurs. They’re one example of animals that are extinct.

When a species is at risk of becoming extinct, experts call them either “threatened” or “endangered.” A species is threatened when its population has dropped 30-50 percent. When a species is endangered, its population has dropped 50-70 percent. A species is also endangered if there are fewer than 250 remaining.

Species can become endangered because of many factors. Often, they’re hurt by changing environments or predators. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) keeps track of endangered species. As of 2019, the IUCN has studied over 96,500 species. Of those, around 28,000 are threatened. 7,755 are endangered.

Many countries have passed laws to help endangered species. Some laws ban hunting. Others restrict land development. They also make special places for habitats. But experts believe very few threatened species benefit from these laws. Many more species face the threat of extinction without the public taking notice.

Any person can ask the government to list a species as endangered. However, it can take more than two years to get the species listed. Some believe that governments make it too hard for a species to be added to the endangered list.

For a species to be listed as endangered, experts must determine its conservation status. That’s the measure of the chance of extinction. To find this, experts must look at many factors. They need to know how many members of the species are living. They also need to find out how much the population has dropped over time. Other factors are the breeding rate and any threats to the species. With all of this information, experts can decide whether the species is endangered.

Despite these challenges, progress has been made. More than 196 countries around the world have agreed to make plans to protect endangered species. In the United States, these plans are made using guidelines from the Endangered Species Act. Overall, this act is seen by wildlife experts as helpful. As of 2019, 50 species have been taken off the list due to recovery.

What can you do to help endangered species? The best thing you can do is learn more about the problem. Then, share information with those around you. You can also work to keep habitats safe. You can recycle, conserve water, and reduce your carbon footprint. Don’t ignore endangered species—they need your help!

For more information visit here.

For educational resources visit here.

For success stories by state click here.

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International Tea Day

Learn to steep tea for ideal flavor

Tea is an ancient beverage enjoyed for millenia. It is derived from the leaves of a plant called camellia sinensis. One theory regarding the origins of tea suggests it was accidentally discovered in China when tea leaves from a wild tree blew into Emperor Shen Nung’s pot of boiling water in 2732 B.C. and he drank the brew.

The tea information site Tea How says tea is the second most consumed beverage on the planet behind water. People throughout much of the Middle East and Asia have been drinking tea as a key component of their cultures for thousands of years. The Dutch East India Company first introduced tea to western countries, but tea remains more integral to eastern cultures than it is in the western hemisphere.

Cultures have embraced different ways of brewing and serving tea. For example, English afternoon tea is a tradition in Great Britain and is served between 3 p.m. am 6 p.m. If it is served any later than that, it is called “high tea” and more substantial food should be offered with the beverage. Butter tea is a popular tea in Tibet that is made using black tea, salt and yak butter. Some Japanese enjoy genmaicha, which is roasted brown rice and green tea mixed together.

All tea starts with water and tea leaves. How tea is steeped can affect how the finished product tastes. The Republic of Tea, a company that offers more than 300 premium teas, says that fine tea should be steeped with care. Here are some steps to follow.

· Start with fresh water, preferably filtered, spring or bottled.

· Fill a tea kettle with cold water and heat to a rolling boil for black teas. If making green or 100 percent white tea, stop just short of boiling to avoid “cooking” the delicate tea leaves.

· Use roughly one teaspoon of tea leaves per six-ounce cup. Six ounces is the size of a traditional tea cup. Coffee mugs tend to be larger than six ounces.

· If using full loose tea, place tea in an infuser into a teapot or cup; otherwise, you will later need to strain tea leaves if loose leaves are placed directly in the vessel.

· Pour the heated water from the kettle over the tea leaves. Cover and allow to steep to taste. Black tea should be steeped for three to five minutes. The time required to steep tea may change depending on the tea variety. Do not over-infuse or the tea may taste bitter.

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Learning how to brew a perfect cup can make tea even more enjoyable

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In 1891 the first bicycle is introduced to New York.

Reasons to embrace cycling now

As warm temperatures return, many people renew their interest in spending time outdoors. Spring and summer are peak times of year to enjoy the great outdoors.

A popular activity in spring, summer and fall, cycling benefits the mind and body in various ways.

Mind

One of the more common mental health benefits of exercise is that working up a sweat can help alleviate physical and mental stress. Reducing stress is important for overall health and can reduce a person’s risk of developing certain illnesses.

Cycling is a great way to get outdoors, meet people and see the scenery. Getting outside to exercise also can reduce anxiety and depression.

A study conducted in 2007 by researcher Charles Hillman indicated that exercise boosts brain power and may be able to stave off Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly. Dr. Phil Tomporowski has studied how children with ADHD may be positively affected by bike riding, and how control issues were improved without the use of medication.

Body

The Victoria State Department Better Health Channel says that cycling for health and fitness is a good idea. Riding a bicycle is a low-impact form of exercise for people of all ages. Cycling can be fun and doesn’t require expensive equipment. Cycling generally causes less strain on joints and other areas of the body because it is low-impact. However, cycling provides enough resistance to be an effective muscle workout.

People who want to improve their cardiovascular health and manage their weight can turn to cycling to achieve their goals. Cycling raises one’s metabolic rate to help the body burn fat when combined with a healthy diet. Cycling Weekly says cycling burns between 400 and 1,000 calories an hour, depending on the intensity of a ride and the rider’s weight. Individuals can modify the distance and intensity of a cycling workout to suit their fitness goals.

Disease risk and adverse health outcomes can be reduced by hopping on a bike. A study conducted by researchers at the University of Glasgow examined more than 260,000 individuals over the course of five years. The study found that cycling to work can cut a rider’s risk of developing heart disease or cancer in half.

Those eager to get started on cycling are encouraged to begin slowly, especially if it has been awhile since they last exercised. It’s also important to find the right-sized bicycle to reduce strain and injury. A full-service bike shop can help bike shoppers find one that is the right height and frame size for the rider’s body. The height of the handlebars and the seat also can be adjusted for comfort.

Always consult with a physician prior to exercise to ensure that the regimen is safe. Those with prior injuries or health problems should be doubly careful, though cycling is generally safe for beginners.