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Used Christmas trees help protect wetlands restoration: They can slow erosion and protect new wetland growth Read about how old holiday trees are making a difference, in Yale Climate Connection.

More than two-thirds of Illinois public schools already offering mental health screenings: A new report focused on improving access to mental health services for Illinois schoolchildren shows that 71 percent of the state’s schools are already providing the screenings, with smaller schools being less likely to screen for mental health. Read WREX-13’s summary of the report and how kids’ mental health is being bolstered by Illinois’ Children’s Behavioral Health Transformation Initiative, signed by Gov. JB Pritzer in February 2022.

Reynolds calls out Trump for “misleading” Iowans with campaign ads: Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says campaign ads from the Donald Trump campaign for president that feature old clips of her praising him are “unfair to Iowans,” reports The Hill. Reynolds has actually endorsed Florida Gov. Ron De Santis, running a distant third behind Trump and Nikki Haley for the Republican presidential nomination, with the state’s caucuses less than a month away.

New Ebony Alerts will help focus on missing Black children and women: Almost 40 percent of missing children in America are Black, even though Blacks account for 14 percent of the population. In addition, Black children are more likely to be reported as “runaways” (instead of “missing”) than white kids, says the Black and Missing Foundation. Ebony Alerts are how the state of California is trying to address this imbalance; read KRON-4’s report about the program that starts in January.

Rural outreach increasing among colleges, universities: Rural areas typically have higher higher school graduation rates than suburbs and cities, yet fewer of those graduates go to college, writes The Hechinger Report. Read in Hechinger about new efforts among elite and public colleges and universities to visit schools in rural areas.

(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)