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Join Jessi and Squeaks as they talk about some things you can do to make the earth a better place!

#scishowkids #earthday #environment #recycling #earth #science #education #elementary #fun
From the team behind the YouTube series SciShow comes SciShow Kids!

Join Jessi, Mister Brown, Squeaks the Robot Lab Rat, and all their friends at the Fort as they conduct experiments, research new questions, and talk with experts to learn about the science-filled world around us.

There's always something new to discover with SciShow Kids, no matter what your age!

SciShow Kids is ideal for early-elementary learners, Grades 1-3, and many episodes are structured around the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) curriculum.
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Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Earth Day is a special day celebrated all over the world on April 22 every year. On Earth Day, people come together to learn about how we can protect the environment and keep Earth clean and healthy.

The reason it's important to protect the environment is that we share the Earth with lots of amazing plants and animals, and some of the things that we do, like chop down trees, generate electricity, and drive cars, can affect the places those plants and animals live.  Sometimes we can affect those places so much that animals have a hard time finding food and shelter or having babies and they become endangered. Here's some information about a few of those endangered animals and what we're doing to help them. What do pandas, orangutans, rhinos, and gorillas have in common?

Aside from being animals that you probably only see at the zoo, these animals are all endangered. Scientists say that an animal is endangered when there aren't many of them living in the wild anymore. And any kind of animal can become endangered: birds, insects, reptiles, and, of course, mammals.

For example, meet the Amur leopard. This kind of leopard lives in a small area in eastern Asia and there are only a very few of them left in the wild. Scientists think that, not counting the ones in zoos, there are only about 60 Amur leopards left on the entire planet, so they're definitely endangered.

But how do animals become endangered? There are a few good answers to that question, but probably the common cause of animals becoming endangered is when they lose too much of their habitat. An animal's habitat is the place where it lives. *squeak noises*   That's right, Squeaks!

An animal's habitat is its home. It's where an animal can get all the things that it needs to stay alive. Animals need things like enough food to eat, space to move around, and shelter.

Plus, mother animals need a safe place to lay their eggs or to have and raise their babies, so habitats can be very different for different kinds of animals. One animal's habitat might keep it dry and warm. For another, it might keep it stay cool, wet, and well-hidden from predators.

An animal's habitat might be large or it might be very small, but there's one thing all habitats have in common. They can only support so many animals. If a habitat starts to get smaller, that means that fewer animals can live in it.

This is what happened to the Amur leopard. Its habitat used to be a lot bigger, but people started to cut down trees in the forest where the leopard live to use for lumber and to make space for them to build houses, so, over time, the leopards' habitat got smaller and smaller. The leopards started to have a hard time finding enough food and finding enough safe spaces to raise their cubs.

So, after a while, there were fewer and fewer Amur leopards in the wild. Until there were so few that scientists said that this kind of leopard was endangered. Pollution can also change an animal's habitat. Pollution is anything that makes the Earth unhealthy, like litter and trash, or the dirty smoke that comes out of cars and power plants. Pollution can also prevent the eggs of certain kinds of birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians from hatching.  Pollution changed the habitat of a bird called the brown pelican.

The brown pelican lives near the ocean where it eats fish. And, about 70 years ago, people sprayed a chemical around to try to get rid of pesky insects like mosquitoes. But the chemical polluted the water in the brown pelican's habitat.

Some pollution ended up in the fish that the pelicans ate which made the birds sick and kept many of their eggs from hatching. Soon, there were fewer pelicans.  For a while, the brown pelican was endangered. But scientists and other people solved the problem they told other people about the problem and, soon, everyone stopped using the chemical and the pelicans habitat became clean again.

More baby pelicans began to hatch and, in most places, the brown pelican is no longer endangered. This big brown bird is a great example of what can happen when we find out an animal is endangered. People can work together to try and clean up an animal's habitat if it's polluted or if an animal's habitat is getting too small, like the Amur leopard's forest, people can try to plant more trees to make the habitat bigger again.

Now you may not know it, but you're helping endangered animals right now. One of the best things that kids can do to help is to learn about animals that are endangered. You can also help out animals that live in your area by taking care of their habitats.

That means doing things like recycling and throwing away garbage instead of littering and working with other kids and grownups to clean up your neighborhood. Everyone deserves a clean and healthy habitat. There are lots of ways that we can pitch in and help the environment.

One thing that you can do is find ways to make less garbage that ends up in a dump. And a great way to do that is by recycling. When you recycle things like plastic and paper, it gets taken away and made into new things instead of just being thrown in a dump.

Here's how that works.  Nice work, Squeaks. We're taking out the trash. You probably don't spend much time thinking about trash, at least, not until it starts to smell and you have to take it out.

But we all make trash everyday like the eggshells left over from breakfast, or the plastic bag from your lunch or metal cans that your mom or dad might open up at dinnertime. Plus, we bring a lot of papers home from school and they don't all fit on the refrigerator. We usually throw a lot of this trash or waste into the garbage can but did you ever wonder what happens to all this waste?

Well, it doesn't just magically disappear and what happens to it depends on what it's made of. For example, some waste decomposes. When something decomposes, it breaks down or rots.

If you've ever taken a walk in the woods, then you've probably noticed things decomposing like the leaves that fell last autumn or an old log. You can tell that those things are decomposing because they are very slowly getting brown and mushy. They decompose because those things came from something that was once alive.

The leaves and the logs were once parts of a tree. And we make waste that decomposes too. 

Usually this waste was also made of things that were once alive, like apple cores, egg shells, banana peels, and pretty much all of the leftover food from your table. This kind of waste can be put to good use as food for your garden called compost.

We're gonna talk about how you can make compost in another episode. But what about the waste that doesn't rot or break down? Some of this waste goes into a dump, also known as a landfill.

And it basically just sits there, making a big, smelly mess. And it'll keep sitting there, for a long, long time. Luckily, there is a way that you can get rid of your waste without adding to that mess.

By recycling! Recycling means taking waste, and making it into something else. Maybe you have a recycling bin like this in your school, or even in your own house.

Things that we can recycle include metal, plastic, and paper. So let's check out what happens to the waste that you put into the recycling bin. First, all of the recycling is collected, and sorted into different kinds of waste.

All of the plastic goes into one pile. All the metal, in another. And the paper gets its own pile.

The metal is taken to a special factory where it's crushed, and then squished together with the metal for other recycling bins. This big lump of metal is then chopped into little tiny pieces. Next, those pieces are melted in a big oven, and then poured into molds shaped like blocks.

These new blocks of metal are then sent to other factories, where they can be used to make other things out of metal. So the metal cans that you throw into the recycling bin don't go to the dump. They get a whole new life as a new can!

Or a piece of foil, or even part of a bike or a car. And your old milk jug made of plastic can be turned into something new too. It's also taken to a special factory where the plastic is shredded into tiny bits, and then melted in a really hot oven and made into little pellets.

Factories can take these pellets and make them into new things like water bottles and food containers. And even bigger things like park benches, carpet, and even some kinds of clothing. So what, about all those papers that you've brought home?

Paper is recycled in a way that's a little different from metal and plastic. It's taken to a recycling center where it's mixed with other paper, and a whole bunch of water until it gets all goopy. This goop is then smashed between two rollers, which squish it into big, flat sheets.

These sheets are then left out to dry. Then, they're cut into new sheets of paper, which we can use for art projects. If you think about it, when we recycle, we're breaking down waste that doesn't decompose in its own.

And that makes less waste for all of us. So keep recycling. Another great way to make less waste is to re-use things.

Squeaks and I have turned empty plastic bottles into terrariums, glass jars into fun ocean dioramas, and scraps of paper and fabric into awesome art. Our friend Dino stopped by to teach us another way to re-use things and help animals in our neighborhood at the same time. Hi everyone, it's me, Dino!

Jessi's on spring break, so she said that I could come visit and teach you about two of my favorite things: birds, and recycling. Now, you may not know this, but birds love recycling. Not only does it help make the world cleaner, you can also recycle some things that you might usually throw away, and turn them into bird feeders.

Bird feeders for feeding birds, like me! So, first things first. Let's talk about what we birds like to eat.

We love things like insects and works and ticks for sure. I can't get enough of those delicious ticks. But we can also eat some kinds of people food like nuts, sunflower seeds, peanut butter, and fruit, including my own personal favorite, apples.

And even though we love to eat lots of things humans like, there are some human foods that can be dangerous for birds. The first big one to avoid is chocolate. You might think chocolate is really yummy, but it's no good for birds.

So if you're gonna put peanuts or other things in your feeder for me, help me out and make sure they don't have any chocolate on them. Thank you in advance! Another food you should avoid is bread.

I mean, I'll eat it, but it doesn't really give me the nutrients that I need. Plus it can attract mice and rats, and as good as I am about sharing, I do like to have my food all to myself.  Now that we've got our food basics down, let's make some bird feeders! This one is really fun and easy to make.

All you'll need is a toilet paper roll -- heh, I said toilet paper -- and also some string, some peanut butter, a butter knife or a spoon, a plate, and some bird food. And may I suggest, my personal favorite, sunflower seeds. Yum yum yum.

Now this might get messy, so make sure you're in a place where it's okay to make a mess. First, set out your plate and pour some bird seed on it. Set this aside for now.

You'll use it later. Take some peanut butter and spread it all over your toilet paper roll. Yay!

You're on the right track. Next, roll your toilet paper roll across the bird seed until it's well-covered. You're almost there!

And I'm starting to drool! All you have to do now is pull your string through the middle of the roll. Then, just tie your bird feeder to a tree!

That'll be a great place for me to take a quick snack break later. This next bird feeder is really fun, because you can keep filling it up over and over. You'll need an empty plastic jug, a marker, bird seed, and scissors.

For this feeder, you should ask for help from a grown-up. First, draw a on one side of the jug, where you want your birdy friends to get their food. On the opposite side, draw another circle.

Next, ask for help from a grown-up, and cut the circles out. That looks great! Now you can fill your bird feeder with bird food.

And finally, you can hang your bird feeder on a branch using the jug's handle. No string needed. Okay, I have one more fun bird feeder to show you that's really easy to make.

All you'll need is an empty plastic bottle, some string, scissors, bird seed, and wooden spoon. And if you have an extra pencil lying around, that'll work too. First, mark a spot on the bottle near the bottom, about the width of wooden spoon or pencil.

Now, flip your bottle over and mark a spot opposite the one your just made. Make a third mark about an inch above that one. Then get some help from a grown-up to cut out those three holes.

Once the holes have been cut, slide your wooden spool or your pencil through the two lower hole. Now you've made a perch for birds to stand on! And a hole for the seed to spill out.

All that's left is to fill the feeder up and hang it outside. By recycling your leftover stuff and returning your bird feeders, you're helping the environment, which keeps you healthy and you're giving your neighborhood birds a meal, which keeps us healthy. Which is just so sweet of you.

Recycling and reusing are great ways to cut down on how much plastic, papers, metal, and glass you throw away. But did you know there's another super cool super useful way that you can use things like fruits and vegetables and food scraps? That's right, Squeaks!

You can use them to make compost! When you compost, you're not only reducing waste, you can also use it to grow your own amazing garden! Do you remember when we were talking about recycling? And how we can turn things like old paper, metal, or plastic into new things?

Well, did you know that we can also recycle plants? It's true! And you do it by turning stuff like dead leaves, apple cores, and kitchen scraps into compost!

Compost is a special kind of dirt that you can make by setting aside certain kinds of trash, and letting it rot. It might seem kind of yucky to keep a bunch of old banana peels and dead leaves around, but this waste will eventually turn to compost which you could use in your garden to grow flowers or vegetables or anything you want!  So, how do we get from what we might consider trash to... yummy vegetables?  Have you ever been out on a walk and seen an apple core that someone dropped on the ground? After a while, it gets all brown and mushy and kind of slimy.

And eventually, it seems to sort of... disappear. But, it doesn't just go away, it decomposes. When something decomposes, it breaks down into teeny tiny pieces.

And decomposing is helped along by a group of living things called: "decomposers." That's a pretty great name, because decomposers get their energy by breaking down things that were once alive.  That apple core? It was once part of an apple tree. And that bread crust from your sandwich?

It was made from ground up parts of the wheat plant. Decomposers use these parts of once living things as their own food. They basically eat our garbage!

Decomposers include things like mushrooms that grow on rotting logs and insects and worms that eat the scraps that come from that sandwich that you didn't finish! They even include tiny living things too small for us to see! These guys might sound like they have a pretty gross job, but it's a really important one.

Because decomposers turn those left over parts of living things into compost.  And compost is important because it's full of nutrients! Your body uses nutrients from the food you eat to build a healthy body. And plants need nutrients too!

They use nutrients to grow taller and maybe sprout some flowers and make all of the plant parts that we eat such as fruits and vegetables. So without decomposers, plants wouldn't be able to get the nutrients that they need.  Now, let's see if we can put some decomposers to work to make some compost! Many people who make compost have a big bin in their yard somewhere.

But if you don't have a yard, you can still make compost in a small container, like a special compost bucket or even an empty soda bottle! No matter what you use, to get good compost, you need to follow a kind of a recipe. Just like cooks do in the kitchen!

Let's start by looking at our bin. The bin can be made of metal, wood, or plastic, but it should have holes in it, so that air can get in and out.  Air is an important ingredient in making good compost, because many decomposers like insects and worms need air to breathe, just like you and I do.  Next, we need our waste, and we should group it into two main colors. That's right- colors!

The waste you use to compost is generally either green or brown.  Green waste includes things like kitchen scraps, but we can't use all the stuff that we throw out in the kitchen. Meat and cheese, for example, can attract animals that might dig through our compost. So stick to fruit and veggie scraps, which is what we call the green stuff.  Brown waste is usually, you guessed it! Brown!

This kind of waste includes dead leaves, straw, and saw dust. We need about two times as much brown waste as green waste.  Put the green and brown waste into your bin in layers and add some water to make it moist. Now, all we need are.. our decomposers!

If your bin is outside, you can just wait. Decomposers like insects and worms will move right in and start munching on your waste. If you're composting inside, you can add some earthworms to your compost bin or even find special red worms that are really good at making compost.

Oh, and I almost forgot, we need patience because composting takes time. Depending on how big your bin is, it can take months for decomposers to do their jobs and break down all of the waste. If you wanna help them out a little bit, give your compost pile a little stir.

Or turn it over with a shovel. And while you're waiting, you can do some observing. If you watch your compost pile over time, you'll see some pretty cool things.

You might see some mushrooms start to grow on it, and you should see a whole bunch of insects and worms. If they're doing their job well, and you've done a good job adding your ingredients, the compost won't even smell bad. Once the wait is over, and your compost is ready, it'll look like dirt.

But compost is more than just plain old dirt, because it's packed full of nutrients that the waste still had inside of it. So, in a way, compost is a way you can recycle old plants into new plants. It lets you turn garbage into greenery.

So, now you know lots of ways that you can help keep the planet clean so that every living thing can be happy and healthy. Do you have any questions or ideas about how you can protect the environment? Or maybe you have a compost bin, or a homemade bird feeder you'd like to share with us?

Grab a grown-up to leave a comment down below or email us at Thanks for joining us here at the fort! And have a great Earth Day!