January 30 — England Claims Antarctica (1820)

On January 30, 1820, Edward Bransfield, a British seaman, landed on the continent of Antarctica, the first known person to do so.  He claimed the continent for the British Empire.  But that isn’t how the story ends. In truth, no one knows who was the first person to set foot on Antarctica.  Polynesian fishermen and […]

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January 26 — Benjamin Franklin Disses the Bald Eagle (1784)

The Bald Eagle is our nation’s symbol.  But Benjamin Franklin didn’t like it.  Or so he wrote to his daughter, Sally Bache, in a letter on January 26, 1784. Designing the national seal for the newly formed United States of America was a serious concern.  So serious that a committee to create the design was […]

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January 23 — Sweden Bans CFCs in Aerosols (1978)

Sweden became the first country to regulate the use of chloroflourocarbons (CFCs) when it banned their use in aerosols on January 23, 1978.  Other countries followed, including the U.S., leading to the eventual worldwide ban known as the Montreal Protocol. Like so many chemicals produced after World War II, , CFCs seemed like miracle compounds.  […]

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January 22 — Iraq Sabotages Kuwaiti Oil Fields (1991)

The first Gulf War lasted for just a few weeks in early 1991, as American military forces overwhelmed Iraqi troops that had invaded Kuwait.  But, as the Iraq army was driven out of Kuwait, they committed unforgivable large-scale environmental sabotage—they set the Kuwaiti oil fields on fire. Beginning on January 22, 1991, retreating Iraqi forces […]

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January 21 — The Wilderness Society Founded (1935)

The Wilderness Society, America’s largest and foremost advocate for preserving wilderness, was founded on January 21, 1935.  Since then, The Wilderness Society has grown to being the voice for “1 million wilderness supporters.” The Wilderness Society was the dream of Bob Marshall (learn more), who was the head of recreation and lands for the U.S. […]

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January 20 — Penguin Appreciation Day

Who are the comedic stars of the bird world?  Penguins, of course!  Stars of the big screens, they wear tuxedos, wobble when they walk, and their feathers stick out of their heads like clowns.  Today is a good day to think about penguins—Penguin Appreciation Day! The origin of Penguin Appreciation Day is lost in history, […]

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January 19 — Acadia National Park Established (1929)

Acadia National Park, on the Maine coast, was established on January 19, 1929.  The park, which today covers more than 47,000 acres, covers a substantial portion of Mount Desert Island and a number of islands in the surrounding region.  The park hosted more than 3.3 million visitors in 2017, placing it in the top 10% […]

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January 18 — White Sands National Monument Created (1933)

My atlas shows a long narrow rectangle in purple, extending from the southern border of central New Mexico to the north for about 150 miles.  The purple rectangle is the White Sands Missile Range, and buried inside it is the White Sands National Monument, a place of natural beauty like none other in the world. […]

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