Western Big Game Benefits from New Tracking Tool / Public News Service

A 2019 poll by the National Wildlife Federation found nearly 85% of respondents in New Mexico said they'd like to see increased efforts to safeguard wildlife corridors. (dog.gov)

A 2019 poll by the National Wildlife Federation found nearly 85% of respondents in New Mexico said they’d like to see increased efforts to safeguard wildlife corridors. (dog.gov)

December 2, 2020

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – A new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey includes detailed maps of Global Positioning System tracked migration routes for mule deer, elk, pronghorn, moose and bison. The tracking tool will help stakeholders, from conservation groups to transportation agencies, understand how big-game species move across the landscape.

Jesse Deubel, executive director of the New Mexico Wildlife Federation, said the new study maps more than 40 big-game migration routes to provide connectivity among multiple states.

“Wildlife doesn’t recognize state borders,” said Deubel. “So cross-jurisdictional collaboration when it comes to the management of wildlife, and when it comes to the protection of key wildlife corridors, is absolutely critical.”

A poll last year found more than eight in ten residents of New Mexico and Colorado support protecting wildlife migration routes.

Deubel said in the Gila region, all kinds of species are moving between New Mexico and Arizona – but it isn’t a seasonal migration. Instead, big-game animals are looking for water.

Forest fires, many due to climate change, also affect big game migration in New Mexico. That’s another important reason to maintain habitat connectivity, according to Nicole Tatman – big game program manager with the state’s Department of Game and Fish.

“Animals will move out of an area when a wildfire is occurring,” said Tatman. “But they’ll move back into that area after the fire has gone and maybe rains have come and brought up some green vegetation that they can take advantage of.”

In addition to wildfires, drought can make finding that green vegetation harder for big-game animals, according to Matthew Kauffman, wildlife researcher with the U.S. Geological Survey.

Kauffman, the report’s lead author, said food is often absent along ancient migration corridors.

“Drought disrupts that ‘green wave,’ and makes it more difficult for animals to surf,” said Kauffman. “They still try, they do their best given the drought conditions, but they just can’t be in the right place at the right time.”

The new study builds on more than two decades of research by state wildlife agencies including GPS tracking-collar data, mapping migration routes in Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Utah and Wyoming.

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

Roz Brown, Public News Service – NM

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LinkedIn’s new ‘career explorer’ tool helps find best job to transition into

If you’re in an industry hit hard by the pandemic, you may be considering making a career change.

However, it can be hard to know where to begin and you may not feel like you’re qualified.

LinkedIn has a new tool called “career explorer” that could help you figure out the best career to transition into.

You put in the job that you have or had most recently and it shows you in demand jobs that are a strong match for those same skills.

“When it comes to retail positions, soft skills, there’s a lot of soft skills that are acquired being in retail and we know from hiring managers that soft skills are highly in demand right now, especially in a COVID world,” said Blair Heitmann, a LinkedIn career expert. “Those are skills like communication, thought leadership, management and we know that those are just as important to those hard skills.”

You want to make sure you’re listing those skills. LinkedIn found people who have five or more skills on their profile are discovered by recruiters 27 times more.

“You could have been on a team of servers that was a part of the restaurant that was the fastest growing restaurant in the area,” said Heitmann. “That demonstrates the quality of the service, so you want to make sure that you really word about the impact that you had on the role.”

If you were a food server, the career experts at LinkedIn say you have three quarters of the skills you need to be a customer service specialist, which is one of the most in demand jobs. The similar skills include customer service and time management.

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A mobile flood tool for the nation unveiled

USGS unveils mobile flood tool for the nation
In addition to current conditions provided by USGS observation stations, the NWD allows you to connect with valuable forecast information from the National Weather Service. The red shaded areas display current hurricane watches, while the orange areas are warnings. Find and click on a blue circle. Doing so will provide the latest information about a streamgage site that is above normal flow status. If flooding is above NWS flood stage, the circle will have a magenta halo around it (no sites are experiencing NWS flood stage on the shown map). Credit: USGS

The U.S. Geological Survey announced Friday the completion of a new mobile tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather and flood forecasts all in one place on a computer, smartphone or other mobile device.

The new USGS National Water Dashboard, or NWD, provides critical information to decision-makers, emergency managers and the public during flood events, informing decisions that can help protect lives and property.

“The National Water Dashboard is a much-needed advancement that will help keep communities across the country safe during extreme weather conditions,” said Tim Petty, Ph.D., Department of the Interior Assistant Secretary for Water and Science, from an agricultural round table with the Water Subcabinet in Janesville, Wisconsin. “The development of a comprehensive tool that can provide real-time, critical information on mobile devices is great news for areas in our country that are prone to flooding or drought. In addition to giving the public key information on what’s happening in their communities, it will also help improve the response of federal, state and local agencies during storms, floods and drought conditions.”

“Our vision is the National Water Dashboard will be a one-stop resource for all available USGS water data used by the public to make decisions that can preserve life and property,” said Jim Reilly, Ph.D., director of the USGS. “The USGS will continue to build out this tool incorporating future advances in water information so the public will have the latest and best information on hazards and resources.”

USGS unveils mobile flood tool for the nation
Hurricane Zeta’s landfall on the Gulf coast. Flow conditions can be explored by clicking on the option in the Layers menu, along with other dataset choices such as weather radar and GOES satellite data. Blue circles show where streamgage water levels are rising, while orange/red dots show sites where levels are receding. Clicking on the legend button will bring up information about the symbols used in the map. Credit: USGS

Information from the NWD will help inform forecasting, response and recovery efforts for agencies such as the National Weather Service, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and other federal, state and local agencies. The tool can be used by forecasters and local emergency managers as they issue flood- and evacuation warnings, verify safe evacuation routes and coordinate emergency response efforts. The NWD can assist the USACE as they manage water supplies in river basins and operate flood-control reservoirs. During a drought, the tool can help state resource managers identify

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LinkedIn Begins Rolling Out Career Explorer Tool

LinkedIn’s new “Let’s Step Forward” spot takes on the stigmas surrounding unemployment, and the professional network rolled out some new features and updates Thursday to further help those who are out of work.

Global head of product Tomer Cohen said in a blog post Thursday, “The economic toll of the Covid-19 pandemic has left more than 140 million people out of work and another 1.6 billion at risk of income loss—with low-income workers, women and underrepresented communities the hardest hit. LinkedIn is in a unique position to help. With 14 million-plus open jobs and a professional community of more than 722 million people worldwide, we have the tools and resources to help many of those derailed by the pandemic reclaim their careers. We’re seeing people come to LinkedIn in record numbers to search for jobs—nearly 40 million each week—and despite a challenging job market, three people are getting hired on LinkedIn every minute.”

LinkedIn rolled out the beta version of its new Career Explorer tool in English Thursday, with more locations and updates to come.

Career Explorer maps the skills members list on their profiles to job titles that they may not have otherwise considered pursuing, also highlighting additional skills that might be helpful and LinkedIn Learning courses that can help on that front.


Cohen offered the following example: “A food server in the U.S. has a 71% skills similarity to customer-service specialist, one of the in-demand jobs we identified with Microsoft as part of our broader reskilling commitment, making it a possible career transition based on skills.”

He added that LinkedIn data shows that 26 million members worldwide are just two skills away from qualifying as customer service specialists, one of the most in-demand jobs on its platform.

LinkedIn data also indicated that nearly 150 million additional technology-related jobs could be created in the next five years, so the platform identified the top trending skills among professionals and added more skill assessments to enable members to showcase their related skills.

Cohen said candidates who complete skill assessments and display the badge on their profiles are up to 20% more likely to get hired.

Since debuting its Open to Work profile photo frame in July, over 3 million members used the feature, receiving an average of 40% more InMails from recruiters and becoming 20% more likely to receive messages from the broader LinkedIn community.

So, the professional network took it one step further, introducing a Hiring profile photo frame that enables members to add jobs directly to their profiles and let job seekers see that they are hiring.


Cohen said the ability to post jobs free-of-charge will be available to all members globally in the coming months.

Finally, LinkedIn is extending its interview preparation tools, including most commonly asked questions, to in-demand jobs including project manager and software engineer.


Cohen concluded, “We know the challenges facing job seekers today can feel overwhelming and daunting, and we are here to provide the tools, resources and community to help

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LinkedIn’s new tool helps users make a career change through overlapping skills

LinkedIn launched a new tool aimed towards helping recently unemployed Americans make a career change. 


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The business social network unveiled the Career Explorer feature, which displays careers job seekers can transition into by finding skills that overlap with their previous jobs. The tool ranks the skills in order of importance depending on the job position. 

LinkedIn users can also identify skills that they would need to build to make the career pivot they want. Once a user clicks on a skill they need to build, they are launched to a list of LinkedIn courses users can take to improve that skill. 

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The feature also shows the popularity rate for a specific career transition, and helps users connect with people in the field they are interested in through LinkedIn. 

“We know that the majority of hiring managers say that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills,” said LinkedIn’s Career Expert, Blair Heitmann.  “Soft skills like communication and problem solving are especially important because they translate across industries and have become increasingly more valuable to employers as COVID continues to change the way we work.”

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The move comes as 8.4 million Americans continue to receive unemployment benefits due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant and retail workers are among the hardest hit as lockdowns temporarily closed businesses in these industries, while some closed for good. 

According to LinkedIn, the new tool can help food servers make the transition to a customer service role. The company said there is a 71% skills similarity between the two roles, with some of them including customer service, time management, teamwork, cashiering and others. 

As for a store manager, the networking platform found the job position has a high similarity with a salesperson role. The tool identified retail, inventory management, merchandising and others as common skills, and highlighted customer service, Microsoft Office, sales operation and others as skills to build. 

Over 45% of job seekers have not tried to make a career change because they don’t know where to start, while 33% don’t think they are qualified for the industry, according to a LinkedIn and CensusWide survey. Over a third of those surveyed also believe they don’t have the connections in other industries. 

The new tool is also part of LinkedIn’s initiative, in partnership with Microsoft, aimed at teaching digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of this year by giving free access to training sessions. Some of the sessions include software development, graphic design and financial analysis. 

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LinkedIn’s new tool helps users make a career change through overlapping skills

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Education Department Scrapped Tool for Defrauded Students to Recoup Money and Lied About it: Documents

Newly obtained documents released Tuesday by congressional panels showed that the Department of Education ditched an online system—reportedly because it was too easy to use—earlier this year for student borrowers who were defrauded by their colleges or universities to recover their lost funds via loan forgiveness.

The documents, which consisted of emails between a website builder and the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid office that were released by the House Oversight and Education Committees, also revealed that a department spokesperson lied at least twice about its handling of the web tool.

Students with federal loans who attended higher education institutions that misled them, such as deceptive job placement statistics, or that violated certain laws, can apply for loan forgiveness.

“The Department of Education continues to undermine and harm these defrauded students at every turn,” Oversight Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Education Chairman Bobby Scott (D-Va.) said in a joint statement. “Regrettably, the department lacks any credibility to carry out this program fairly for these borrowers and their families.”

An email from a Federal Student Aid office employee on May 21 to Accenture, the company building the online tool, confirmed that all work on the program was to cease. Such an order was first reported by U.S. News & World Report in June.

“I know this is disappointing, as many of us have done a lot of work to get to this point,” Jessica Barrett Simpson wrote.

Still, the Education Department went on to issue aggressive—and false—public denials.

Betsy DeVos
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos attends the “Getting America’s Children Safely Back to School” event in the State Room of the white House in Washington, DC, on August 12.

“Anyone who says that there has been any effort by anyone at the Department to delay or obstruct the development of a new borrower defense form or website is lying,” Education spokeswoman Angela Morabito told U.S. News in June, as the outlet reported about a whistleblower complaint. “It’s as simple as that.”

A whistleblower complaint to the Education Department’s inspector general at the time accused a top official, Principal Deputy Undersecretary Diane Auer Jones, of axing the online loan forgiveness application because it would have been “too easy” for students, according to U.S. News.

The Education Department did not immediately respond to Newsweek‘s request for comment about the revelations and its prior false claims. U.S. News was first to report about the new documents unveiled Tuesday by the Democratic-led House committees.

The emails also showed that after U.S. News’ original inquiry, the Education Department sought to reinstate the project one week later with a total cost of $1 million. Its completion is not expected until November—four months after the Education Department’s new borrower defense loan forgiveness rules went into effect.

However, the same department spokeswoman continued to deny there was ever such an order to halt construction of the web tool.

“There has been no reversal on this at all,” Morabito falsely claimed. “There can’t be a ‘reversal’ on

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Schools Need an Education-Specific Video Conferencing Tool

Though the current school year is still in its beginning stages and more COVID-19 motivated changes will certainly occur, it’s now obvious in education — as well as business, health care, and our personal lives — that one particular tool has become the go-to pandemic solution: video conferencing.

Video conferencing isn’t new. It’s been around in some form since AT&T introduced its Picturephone at the 1964 World’s Fair. And since then, it has morphed into what we know today as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and others.

Since the early days of video conferencing, education has attempted to put it to good use for a range of distance learning and training solutions. And though it may work okay for static instructor-led lectures and courses, it can’t capture many of the critical elements that take place in high-functioning classrooms. “Good enough” may suffice while education remains in its pandemic-induced punt mode and tries to figure out how best to do virtual learning. But there are real opportunities for video conferencing to improve and better support effective classroom instruction. And moreover, to provide both teachers and students with resources they don’t have in physical classrooms.

Any discussion of video conferencing for education must begin with bandwidth. I’ve written about this, and the title of a recent Education Week article, Internet Access Is a Civil Rights Issue, pretty much sums it up. Bandwidth remains priority one, and getting high-speed Internet access to all students’ homes will require a historic coordinated effort by government and industry.

So, with that said, what does education need from video conferencing today? And how can educators leverage these tools to advance their instruction and better meet students’ needs?

What education needs from video conferencing tools
Education-specific applications. A purpose-built educational video conferencing tool is sorely needed. Such solutions have been created for health care and other sectors that require secure data and private access. And the market now hopefully recognizes education is equally fertile ground. Though Zoom has shrewdly offered its application free to educators (on a temporary basis during the pandemic), education requires a video conferencing solution built specifically to its unique needs.
Ease of use. To meet the requirements of K-12, video conferencing must be scalable, making it easy enough for a second grader to use without parental assistance, yet sophisticated enough for high schoolers working together on collaborative projects.
Integrations and features. Picking up on the purpose-built and ease-of-use themes, having a fully functional video conferencing app integrated with a core classroom tool — like a learning management system (LMS) — will help address education’s requirements. And having features incorporated into the tool for whiteboarding, closed captioning, transcription and translations, while linking to productivity applications, will also be key. As will video storage with searchable archives that allow students to find and replay video segments — such as one where a teacher is explaining a complex math function. Interestingly, per EdSurge, a former CEO and founder of the Blackboard LMS

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