October 9 — Vajont Dam Disaster (1963)

It was the perfect place to build a dam.  The Italian Alps had formed a deep, steep-sided valley that could provide the site for a tall, narrow dam capable of providing enormous amounts of hydro-electricity.  So, the Italians built it—the Vajont Dam, highest arched dam in the world at the time.  The tragic flaw would […]

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October 11 — Big Cypress and Big Thicket National Preserves Created (1974)

This date in 1974 represents the creation of a new category of U.S. National Park Service units—the “national preserve.”  Two national preserves were created on this date—the Big Cypress in southern Florida and the Big Thicket in southeastern Texas.             National preserves are much like national parks—they must be functioning ecosystems that contain outstanding natural, […]

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October 15 — Isabella Bird, Pioneering Eco-traveler, Born (1831)

Imagine a combination of John Muir and Mark Twain, one an astute observer of nature and the other a journalist of his worldwide travels.  Both were enormously popular during their lives—and both are still popular today.  Now, imagine them as a British woman doing the same things at about the same time—and you have Isabella […]

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October 8 — World Octopus Day

No, it isn’t an official day, endorsed by the United Nations or the U.S. Congress or even Charlie the Tuna.  The origins are as murky as a cloud of octopus ink.  According to one site, it began in 2007, but no one has claimed responsibility.  And it is on October 8 because, well, because the […]

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October 6 — Mad Hatter’s Day

Absolutely nothing happened in conservation and the environment on October 6.  At least I can’t find anything.  Happily, however, October 6 is Mad Hatter’s Day, so designated because Lewis Carroll’s Mad Hatter character has a sign in his hat that reads “In this style 10/6.”  The 10/6 refers to the cost of the hat in […]

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October 3 — James Herriot, English Veterinarian, Born (1916)

Ask anyone to name a famous veterinarian, and they are likely to name James Herriot, author of the best-selling book, All Creatures Great and Small.  Herriot was a veterinarian in northern England from 1930 through the 1980s.  He tended to farm animals and pets during his career.  I know this isn’t a website about domestic […]

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October 2 — San Diego Zoo Founded (1916)

The greatest zoo in the world—the San Diego Zoo—was founded on this date in 1916.  Why?  Because a medical doctor heard a lion roar and decided his city needed to hear that roar forever.             San Diego’s Balboa Park was the site for the 1915-16 Panama California Exposition.  The two-year event celebrated the opening of […]

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