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​7 Instagram Accounts Every Nature Lover Should Be Following​

It's hard to believe Instagram is only five years old since now it is ubiquitous. By December 2010, Instagram had 1 million registered users. By September of 2011, it was up to 10 million. As of December of last year, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom announced that Instagram has 300 million users accessing the site per month. That is some crazy growth. And of course that many users means an insane amount of uploaded photos.

So, choosing who to follow can be an overwhelming task. If you're like me, you love beautiful shots of nature and should follow these seven Instagram accounts:

1. U.S. Department of the Interior is home to the National Park Service, this department posts some insanely beautiful photos on the daily. Seriously, it was so hard to pick just one to feature.

2. National Geographic is, of course, renowned for its stunning images, and its Instagram account is definitely one to follow.  

3. Conservation International: I could easily scroll through this organization's pictures for hours. Who cares what Kim Kardashian is up to? Look at this!

People need resources and services from the #ocean. But are we using them in a way that can continue into the future?

A photo posted by Conservation International (@conservationorg) on

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4. National Marine Fisheries Service: This is the work of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and they've got some awesome shots of our friends in the sea.  

NOAA’s newest research ship, the Reuben Lasker, departed San Diego last week on its first scientific mission that includes surveying gray whales along the West Coast. The survey will also search the Gulf of Alaska for right whales, among the most rare and endangered whales on Earth. The population of gray whales in the eastern Pacific Ocean is estimated at about 20,000, but biologists want to know how many of those summer south of the Aleutian Islands and whether they are genetically distinct from whales that summer farther north in the Bering and Chukchi seas. Learn more about the Reuben Lasker here: http://www.afsc.noaa.gov/News/newest_noaa_ship.htm #whales #Pacific #ocean #biology #research #ReubenLasker #NOAAFisheries #NOAA Credit: Wayne Perryman/SWFSC/NOAA A photo posted by NOAA Fisheries (@noaafisheries) on

5. Oceana: Whales and dolphins playing together. Does it get any better? I challenge you to scroll through their page and not have your heart instantly warmed.

6. The Nature Conservancy: This conservation organization has some truly breathtaking photos like this one taken in Costa Rica.  

The scene at Campanario Point and Cano Island Biological Preserve in Costa Rica—by Sergio Pucci. A photo posted by The Nature Conservancy (@nature_org) on

7. National Parks Foundation: If this organization's photos don't make you want to go visit America's beautiful parks and natural areas, then I don't know what will. Maybe you should listen to Bill Nye and Michelle Obama tell you why you need to "find your park" for some extra motivation.

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

A powerful volcano on Monday rocked an uninhabited island frequented by tourists about 30 miles off New Zealand's coast. Authorities have confirmed that five people died. They expect that number to rise as some are missing and police officials issued a statement that flights around the islands revealed "no signs of life had been seen at any point,", as The Guardian reported.

"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

The eruption happened on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island, an islet jutting out of the Bay of Plenty, off the country's North Island. The island is privately owned and is typically visited for day-trips by thousands of tourists every year, according to The New York Times.

Michael Schade / Twitter

At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.