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An overpass to help wildlife safely cross a highway in Banff, Canada. Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative

By Tara Lohan

Animals today live in a shrinking world. Development, resource extraction and roadbuilding have fragmented landscapes and reduced wild spaces making it harder for animals to find food, search for a mate and adapt to a changing climate. To help address these problems, ecologists and conservationists have been working for decades to create wildlife corridors — areas of natural habitat that can reconnect fragmented habitats. These projects have ranged from small-scale efforts to build safe passage over highways to major conservation efforts protecting millions of acres.

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Ghislain & Marie David de Lossy / Stone / Getty Images

By Sam Nickerson

Having access to green spaces such as parks and forests as a child may be beneficial to your mental health later in life, new research out of Aarhus University in Denmark suggests.

According to a study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America, Danish children who grew up with less greenery nearby from birth to age 10 were as much as 55 percent more at risk of developing a mental disorder later in life. Moreover, the researchers found that the risks actually decreased the longer children spent living close to nature — regardless of whether they lived in urban or rural areas.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Jerome Gorin / PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections / Getty Images

The U.S. House of Representatives voted 363-62 to pass the Natural Resources Management Act Tuesday, which means the biggest public lands bill in more than a decade has now passed both houses of Congress with bipartisan support.

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The Grand Canyon celebrates its 100th birthday as a national park this month, but it just earned itself a protector who is even older!

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Pexels

Today, the U.S. celebrates Presidents Day, a day to commemorate the leadership and legacy of the so-far only men who have governed the country since its founding.

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Death Valley National Park ranger and a group of students. The new bill codifies an Obama-era act that allows students and their families to visit national parks for free. NPS / Kurt and Edwige Moses

In a rare bipartisan push, the U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of a major public lands package on Tuesday.

The Natural Resources Management Act, approved 92-8, establishes 1.3 million acres of new wilderness, adds 694,000 acres of new recreation and conservation areas, creates four new national monuments, among other important conservation measures, according to Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), who introduced the bill with Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

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Center for Biological Diversity screenshot

Drone footage of new border wall in New Mexico shows that the Trump administration's border militarization is already damaging ecosystems and wildlife. Trump waived 25 laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands and endangered wildlife to speed construction of 20 miles of new walls.

The video, taken by the Center for Biological Diversity and available for media use, shows the 18-foot-tall bollard-style barrier constructed in the remote Chihuahuan Desert. The wall replaced waist-high vehicle barriers that allowed wildlife to move back and forth across the border.

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Donald Trump, Mike Pence and acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt in Washington, DC on Jan. 21. MANDEL NGAN / AFP / Getty Images

President Donald Trump officially nominated David Bernhardt—a former energy lobbyist environmental groups have described as a "walking conflict of interest"—to officially take over as interior secretary after Ryan Zinke stepped down in December 2018 following various scandals.

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Steve Hillebrand / USFWS

By Tim Lydon

The Trump administration is barreling ahead with plans to drill for oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest refuge in the country and an area of global ecological importance.

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Ruins at Chaco Canyon. pedrik / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is pushing ahead with the sale of oil and gas leases on land outside of Chaco Culture National Historical Park and other sites revered by Native American tribes, The Associated Press reported.

The latest listing—which quietly appeared on the BLM website not long after the government reopened after the shutdown—comes about a year after then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke postponed a lease sale in the Greater Chaco Region in response to intense public pressure over cultural and environmental concerns.

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An offshore oil drilling rig. Arbyreed / CC BY-NC 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Two years into the Trump administration, its attacks on environmental regulations, policy and science are already well documented. But the current partial government shutdown, now more than a month long, provides a unique lens through which to view the administration's priorities. The list of what isn't being done is long and troubling, but equally concerning is what is being done during the shutdown.

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