How Do Animals Safely Cross a Highway? 動物們如何安全穿越公路？
The engineers were used to building overpasses for vehicles, not wildlife. But every spring and fall, collisions with mule deer and pronghorn spiked in the Pinedale region of Wyoming, where Route 191 disrupted their age-old migration paths. So the state Department of Transportation joined with the state wildlife agency and nonprofit groups to create a series of crossings. Collisions have dropped by roughly 90%.
"It felt like we finally found something that works," said Jennifer Hoffman, an engineer at the Wyoming Department of Transportation. "People are pretty hesitant to do something new. Once you've done it, and it does what you said it would do, they're willing to do it more."
Examples like that, along with earlier success stories from Canada and Europe, have led to a broad consensus on the value of animal crossings, according to environmentalists and transportation officials alike.
"This is the time of the wildlife crossing," said Mike Leahy, director of wildlife, hunting and fishing policy at the National Wildlife Federation. "This issue has been building for decades, and it was like pulling teeth. And now everyone who works on these issues seems to get it."
Research shows that, across the country, there are 1 to 2 million collisions between vehicles and large animals each year. These accidents cause more than 26,000 human injuries and about 200 human deaths.
Funding for crossings is a challenge, but that may get easier, too: A bipartisan Senate version of the transportation bill being hammered out in Congress includes $350 million for wildlife crossings and corridors.
While transportation officials emphasize that human safety is the main motivation for these new projects, the structures do not come a moment too soon for animals. Development continues to erode wildlife habitat, disrupt migration corridors and fragment groups, leading to population collapse and unhealthy genetic isolation. Looming large is another threat: climate change. As certain species move in search of cooler, moister conditions, they will have to contend with busy roadways.
There are more than 1,000 dedicated wildlife crossings in the United States today, up from just a few in the 1970s and '80s, according to Patricia Cramer, an ecologist who has studied and worked in the field for two decades. But only 10 or 20 are overpasses.
While overpasses tend to get the most attention, underpasses and tunnels are far more common.
In a Dark Year on Campus, Some Surprising Glimmers of Light 大學生活因疫情縮水 有得有失
It was the year of college without the college experience.
No packed stadiums and arenas. No intimate, small-group seminars or serendipitous encounters with strangers. No (or fewer) ill-advised nights of beer pong and partying.
It is not likely, if given the choice, that many college students would opt for the past year of distance, separation and perpetual wariness. Still, perhaps surprisingly, for many students, there was much that was gained as well as much that was lost in their unwanted suspension of campus life during the pandemic.
Madison Alvarado, who graduated from Duke last month, could no longer enjoy the camaraderie of painting herself blue and the giddy tumult of Duke basketball, which to her was as much about community as sport. As companies stopped hiring last summer, she snagged a summer internship only at the last minute and was still job-hunting this year.
But she is grateful for an invaluable lesson in dealing with how unpredictable life can be.
"I was the person with a plan," she said. "A lot of people are following a preset track — premed, financial analyst, Ph.D. The pandemic put that in stop mode. It's made me realize that not knowing the next step doesn't mean my world is going to crumble. I think it made me less scared to face the unknown."
At the end of this most unusual of academic years, students interviewed at colleges around the country said they would not miss the regimen of virus testing and quarantining, the classes on Zoom, the zero tolerance for straying from prescribed rules, the distance they felt from one another.
"It's just been a lot of grieving almost — grieving what we could have had," said Raina Lee, a freshman at the University of North Carolina, who started the year in a dormitory but almost immediately had to move to an apartment off campus because of a COVID outbreak. "My life physically became a lot smaller, just this apartment."
But for many it has also been a time of self-discovery. Some applied themselves to academics in a way they never would have if offered the familiar buffet of campus amusements. Some bonded with a tight group of friends. Many, like Alvarado, found that for the first time in their lives, they had been liberated from their carefully planned lives and their focus on getting the approval of others.