September 15 — Darwin reaches the Galapagos Islands (1835)

On September 15, 1835, H.M.S. Beagle sighted land and dropped anchor at the Galapagos Islands.  The naturalist on board, Charles Darwin, started collecting specimens and taking notes—and the science of evolution and ecology began its own evolution in his brain.  Neither the islands nor the world would ever be the same again. Captain Robert FitzRoy […]

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September 14 — Marc Reisner, Author of Cadillac Desert (1948)

Our understanding of the importance of water management in the West, including the pros and cons of massive water projects, began with the publication in 1986 of Cadillac Desert:  The American West and Its Disappearing Water.  The author was Marc Reisner, born on September 14, 1948.  He died at the early age of 51, from […]

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September 13 — Walter Reed born (1851)

Walter Reed, the U.S. Army doctor for whom the world-renowned Walter Reed Army Medical Center is named, was born on September 13, 1851.  His legacy derives from his experimental work that unmasked the true source of yellow fever epidemics, thereby saving the lives of countless millions in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world.  From […]

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September 8 — UN Millennium Declaration ratified (2000)

On September 8, 2000, more than 150 leaders of nations endorsed the United Nations Millennium Declaration.  The declaration committed the countries of the world to pursue a set of specific goals and quantitative targets to improve the quality of life for people throughout the world. The new millennium spawned many analyses and strategies to address […]

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September 7 — Edward Birge, Father of Limnology, born (1851)

The science of limnology—the study of freshwater lakes and rivers—is synonymous with the name of Edward Asahel Birge, born on September 7, 1851 (died 1950).  Along with his colleague, Chancey Juday, the pair are considered among the founders of freshwater science throughout the world.     Birge was born in New York and received Bachelors […]

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September 3 — Wilderness Act passed (1964)

President Lyndon B. Johnson held a White House Rose Garden ceremony on September 3, 1964, signing into law the Wilderness Act.  The Wilderness Act created the system that legally preserves our wildest lands from development of any kind. Various kinds of “wilderness” areas had been created during the first half of the 20th Century, but […]

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August 31 — John Muir Home preserved (1964)

August 31, 1964, was a busy day for the National Park Service.  On that day, four National Historic Sites and one National Memorial were signed into existence by President Lyndon Johnson.  The sites include Fort Lamed (Kansas), the Allegheny Portage Railroad (Pennsylvania), the Johnstown Flood Memorial (Pennsylvania), Saint-Gaudens (New Hampshire), and the John Muir homestead […]

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August 22 — Loch Ness Monster first seen (565)

Although the Loch Ness monster has been a mythological legend throughout time, the first recorded observation of the creature occurred on August 22, 565.  On that date St. Columba, an Irish priest traveling through Scotland, is said to have confronted the beast as it attempted to eat one of his colleagues. St. Columba raised his […]

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August 20 — The Great Fire (1910)

Raging forest fires have become a regular news item in the summers of recent years, but no fire has ever come close to the fire that burned in Idaho during the summer of 1910.  Known as the Big Blow and the Great Fire, it started on the night of August 20. The year had begun […]

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August 19 — Cickamauga and Chattanooga Battlefield established

The first military battlefield protected by the U.S. government was the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Memorial Park, established on August 19, 1890.  The park preserves various locations in and around Chattanooga, Tennessee, that comprised an important Civil War confrontation during the second half of1863. The park pre-dated all other battlefield parks, including Gettysburg (established five […]

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