Current Event April 7, 2021
Sharks are known as the ocean’s top predators, but some of them have a skill that is less widely known: they can glow. Several species of sharks are bioluminescent, or able to produce their own light. Many other ocean creatures have a similar ability, which leads scientists to believe that it is easier than it may seem. Listen to hear how one scientist hunted for a glow-in-the-dark shark and learn about how sharks benefit from bioluminescence.
Current Event March 31, 2021
Cold-blooded animals like turtles depend on their environment to maintain their body temperature. When water in the Gulf of Mexico recently turned freezing, thousands of sea turtles were “cold-stunned,” or forced into a trance-like state where they could no longer swim, which is life-threatening. A group of volunteers joined in a huge effort to collect the turtles and bring them to an animal rehabilitation center. Listen to learn more about the largest “cold-stun” event in history, and hear what happened to the turtles after they were rescued.
Current Event March 28, 2021
Listen to hear about a golden retriever celebrating a milestone birthday.
Vocabulary: milestone, breed
Current Event March 17, 2021
Coral reefs, home to fish and plant life in oceans throughout the world, have been severely damaged by climate change, among other human impacts. In the Caribbean Sea, the dead and dying reefs have been taken over by seaweed that has choked out any new coral reefs trying to grow. To tackle the problem of dying reefs and to figure out a way to restore them, scientists paired up with an unlikely partner – the Caribbean king crab. Listen to hear a marine scientist explain how seaweed hurts coral reefs and how crabs may be able to help bring them back.
Current Event March 14, 2021
Listen to hear about an endangered Australian mouse that has proved to be a survivor.
Vocabulary: rodent, location, extinct, endangered
Current Event February 24, 2021
Bats and humans may look very different, but it turns out they have something surprising in common. A bat researcher discovered that mommy bats change their voices when they talk to their babies, just like human mothers often do. For both species, this special tone is a way to help the young learn language. Listen to hear recordings of adult and baby bats vocalizing, and learn more about how mother bats teach their pups to communicate.
Current Event February 10, 2021
A lot of new baby elephants have recently been born in Kenya’s Amboseli National Park. Elephants need just the right environmental conditions to have babies, and the mothers spend years nursing and rearing their young. The unusual baby boom means that elephants are thriving in one part of Kenya, but their rising population could also mean trouble for their future survival. Listen to hear a journalist and his guide search for baby elephants in a safari truck, and learn how long the babies stay with their moms.
Current Event February 7, 2021
Listen to hear about a rare hybrid turtle competing in a sea turtle race. Track Maisy’s travels here.
Vocabulary: contender, migration, hybrid
Current Event February 4, 2021
President Biden is bringing pets back to the White House. After four years without animals, the White House has become home to Biden’s two German shepherds, Major and Champ. Biden adopted the dogs from a shelter, and they are helping to raise awareness of the joys of rescue animals and the benefits that shelters bring to the community. Listen to hear a past president howling with his hound and learn the story of Major’s journey to the Biden household.
Current Event February 3, 2021
The world's billion-and-a-half cows produce huge amounts of methane, a gas that contributes to global warming. Methane is made in cows’ guts as they digest their food. When they burp and fart, they spew the gas into the air. Now, scientists have found a simple, unexpected way to reduce methane production in cows. Listen to learn about a surprising solution to the problem of gassy cows and how it may help address climate change.
Current Event January 31, 2021
Listen to hear about a dog who traveled a long way to lounge on a porch.
Vocabulary: resident, lounge
Current Event January 27, 2021
Beavers love to build dams – even inside houses. That’s what an animal rehabilitation worker discovered when she agreed to raise an abandoned baby beaver in her home. “Beave” gathers shoes and other household objects for his dam and displays other typical baby beaver behaviors, like whining for his dinner. Millions of fans watch his antics on TikTok. Listen to hear more about a popular rescued beaver and learn why living with others, even humans, is important for his health.
Scapegoating, or blaming others for things they didn’t do, happens among both children and adults. While many children understand that lying is wrong, they might be hesitant to explore how it feels to be lied to or unfairly blamed for something for fear of feeling embarrassed or exposed. In this audio story, a children’s author discusses her humorous take on how a number of lies affect a little goat on a farm. Listen to hear how humor can help children feel safer exploring such topics.
Current Event January 13, 2021
Dogs and humans have long had a special relationship. Part of the reason they get along so well is that dogs can understand human language, at least some of it. But why can’t they learn more? To find out, researchers played words for dogs and observed how their brains responded. Listen to learn what scientists discovered about how dogs learn words and why it’s unlikely they will ever be able to understand Shakespeare.
Current Event January 5, 2021
The human microbiome, a community of tiny organisms that live inside us, is important to our health in a variety of ways. Scientists have discovered that the microbes living inside bees also play an important role in their survival. Microbes give bees a particular body odor, a scent that can communicate to the hive if the bee is a friend or enemy. Listen to learn why bees invade the hives of other colonies and hear about the role that bees’ body odor plays in defending against such intruders.
A whale inhales and exhales air through the blowhole at the top of its head. The plume that rises when the whale exhales is made up of blow, a scientific term for whale snot. Whale snot can reveal important information about whale stress, but collecting the snot can be challenging. Listen to hear a scientist describe how she collects whale snot and what it can tell us about how whales are coping with the effects of climate change.
Current Event December 23, 2020
An unusual baby possum was dropped off at an animal rehabilitation center in Texas. The tiny creature had no hair! Workers at the center started nursing the undernourished possum back to health, but the hairless critter had trouble keeping warm. When word of the animal’s plight got out, tiny sweaters and other clothing started pouring into the center. Listen to hear more about the stylish possum’s wardrobe and how she may one day help educate visitors about marsupials.