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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

California’s Estuaries Go Virtual This Summer

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Monday, June 15, 2020   

IMPERIAL BEACH, Calif. -- The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way families, educators and students can experience state parks -- through expanded online programs.

The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, on the U.S.-Mexican border south of San Diego, showcases the salt marsh where the Tijuana River meets the Pacific Ocean.

Education coordinator Anne Marie Tipton says the reserve's virtual field trips teach classrooms around the state about the estuary's role in the environment.

"It filters out pollution, and it will also buffer storms," she points out. "It's a nursery for the ocean. We actually are a nursery for halibut. And we sequester or grab carbon out of the atmosphere. "

California has lost 90% of its wetlands to development. The reserve is an important stop on the Pacific Flyway and shelters 370 species of birds. The visitor center is closed due to the pandemic, but trails are still open.

Check out the reserve's Facebook page to sign up for virtual junior ranger programs.

Tipton says the salt marsh in the estuary boosts the fight against climate change.

"They grab that carbon through photosynthesis better than any other plant community in the world because no one eats it," she explains. "It doesn't burn. The salt water impedes methane production, which is a big heat-trapping gas. Salt marshes are really the unsung heroes of the world. "

California's two other National Estuarine Research Reserves at Elkhorn Slough near Monterey Bay and in San Francisco Bay also offer virtual programs this summer.

Support for this reporting was provided by The Pew Charitable Trusts.


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