November 29 — U.S. Rations Coffee (1942)

Coffee rationed.  Imagine that.  No longer could you just get a cup of coffee whenever you wanted.  No double French vanilla latte with skinny cream!  No senior decaf with three sugars!              But, it was World War Two, and the U.S. was rationing everything—food, gas, clothing.  So, no reason that coffee shouldn’t be added.  Interestingly, […]

Read More →
November 28 — Elsie Quarterman, Plant Ecologist, Born (1910)

There are only a few conservationists who have achieved lasting international fame.  But there are many who have done remarkable things at a somewhat smaller geographic scale.  Today I write about such a person, who concentrated her career on one particular type of ecosystem—and made the earth a lot more sustainable.             Elsie Quarterman was […]

Read More →
November 27 — Bill Nye, the Science Guy, Born (1955)

I’ll say a phrase, and you say the first thing that comes into your mind.  I say, “Bill Nye,” and you say what?  The Science Guy, duh!  But we might just as well answer, the Environment Guy.  Whatever you call him, he’s our guy for today.             Bill Nye—or William Sandford Nye, as he parents […]

Read More →
November 26 — Anna Maurizio, Swiss Bee Expert, Born (1900)

Bees are among the world’s most important insects.  And a great deal of what we know about bees comes from the career of Dr. Anna Maurizio, who became one of the world’s leading melissopalynologists.  You do know what a melissopalynologist is, don’t you?             Anna Maurizio was born in Switzerland on November 26, 1900 (died […]

Read More →
November 24 — “On the Origin of Species” Published (1859)

“I have called this principle, by which each slight variation, if useful, is preserved, by the term of Natural Selection.”             And so, in one brief sentence—and one long book—Charles Darwin changed our understanding of the world.  That long book was published on November 24, 1859.  Its proper title is On the Origin of Species […]

Read More →
November 23 — National Eat-A-Cranberry Day

Well, it’s almost Thanksgiving, so why not a day about that most American of fruits,  the cranberry? According to all the nonsensical “national day” calendars on the Internet, November 23 is that day.  I can’t find anyone who claims to have started eat-a-cranberry day or any history about it, so let’s just give the day […]

Read More →
November 22 — Grofe’s “Grand Canyon Suite” Premiered (1931)

Pundits often say that the truly American contributions to literature, philosophy, and the arts all stem from the American landscape.  As Woody Guthrie wrote and sang, “…From the redwood forest to the gulf stream waters…,” this land was made for stirring the imagination and creativity of America’s artists and writers.  A prime example of that […]

Read More →
November 21 — Lava Beds National Monument Created (1925)

President Calvin Coolidge was known as a man of few words (his nickname was Silent Cal), and he characteristically used few words to proclaim a new national monument on November 21, 1925.  The lands, he said, “contain objects of such historic and scientific interest as to justify their reservation and protection….”  And so, Lava Beds […]

Read More →
November 20 — John Merle Coulter, Pioneering Botanist, Born (1851)

Today is a day for botanists.  Two famous plant guys were born on November 20.  Augusto Weberbauer, born in 1871, was a German botanist who studied the flora of Peru, publishing the first comprehensive catalogue of Peruvian plants.  Twenty years Weberbauer’s senior,  John Merle Coulter was born on November 20, 1851 (died 1928), and became […]

Read More →