August 13 — Roald Amundsen Completes Northwest Passage (1905-1906)

The Northwest Passage—a sea route across the Arctic region between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans—had been a dream for centuries.  It became a reality in 1905 when Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen completed the journey.  Today, climate change has made what was once a dream into a certainty. The mariners who tried to find the Northwest […]

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August 12 — “The Lorax” Published (1971)

We know it by heart:  “I am the Lorax.  I speak for the trees.  I speak for the trees, for the trees have no tongues.”  The trees got their voice on this day, August 12, in 1971, when Dr. Seuss published The Lorax. Dr. Seuss is one of the most beloved authors in 20th Century […]

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August 10 — John Kirk Townsend, Pioneering Naturalist, Born (1809)

Townsend’s Warbler, Townsend’s Solitaire, Townsend’s chipmunk, Townsend’s ground squirrel, Townsend’s mole.  Ever wonder who this Townsend fella was, who has all these animals named after him?  He is a largely forgotten early ornithologist and naturalist who died a much-too-early death.  Let’s restore his history a bit. John Townsend was born in Philadelphia on August 10, […]

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August 9 — Smokey Bear Born (1944)

Perhaps “born” isn’t quite the correct verb.  Smokey “was conceived” on August 9, 1944, when the first poster bearing his imaged was commissioned.  Since then, Smokey Bear has become one of America’s best known and best loved images, filling out the trio of Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus. Smokey was, from the beginning, a patriotic […]

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August 8 — World’s Biggest Dam Disaster (1975)

This is a day for dams—or against dams.  In the U.S., on August 8, 1937, the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River began generating power.  The Bonneville Dam was the first on the river, part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal programs, bringing jobs and electricity to the Pacific Northwest.  Dams generate huge benefits in […]

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August 6 — Rajendra Singh, the Waterman of India, Born (1959)

The Avari River, in the northwestern Indian state of Rajasthan, had not flowed for 60 years.  When a young doctor arrived to help local communities, they told him what they needed wasn’t doctoring, but water.  Rajendra Singh listened, and today the Avari River flows again, thanks to the “Waterman of India.” Rajendra Singh was born […]

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August 5 — First Traffic Light Installed in U.S. (1914)

One of Robert Frost’s most beloved poems speaks of being faced with choosing one of two roads and taking “the road less traveled.”  In the U.S. today, he might have trouble finding a road less traveled—or so it seems with congestion on our highways and byways. The city of Cleveland faced that dilemma itself when […]

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August 2 — White Giraffes Found in Kenya (2017)

The reports had been coming in for some time—a pair of white giraffes, a female and cub, were roaming around the northeastern Kenyan countryside near the Ishaqbini Hirola Conservancy.  On August 2, 2017, wildlife rangers finally filmed the pair, confirming the existence of the rare animals.  Soon thereafter, the video went viral! The pair are […]

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