June 29 — Mesa Verde National Park Created (1906)

On June 29, 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the law that created Mesa Verde National Park.  It was the sixth national park created, but the first established to “provide specifically for the preservation from injury or spoliation of the ruins and other works and relics of prehistoric or primitive man….”             Mesa Verde was the […]

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June 28 — Mark Shand, Asian Elephant Conservationist, Born (1951)

British conservationist and playboy Mark Shand was born on June 28, 1951 (died in 2014).  After an early life of adventure and high-living, Shand committed himself to the conservation of Asian elephants in India.              Mark Shand was born into a privileged family in England; his sister is Camilla Parker Bowles, Duchess of Cornwall and […]

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June 26 — United Nations Chartered (1945)

The Charter establishing the United Nations was signed on June 26, 1945, at a meeting of the world’s nations in San Francisco, California.  President Truman signed on behalf of the United States and, just six weeks later, on August 8, 1945, he signed the legislation ratifying the U.S. commitment to the UN—the first country to […]

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June 27 — Tajik National Park Added to World Heritage List (2013)

The 2013 annual meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Program ended on June 27, the date on which I consider the formal decisions of the meeting occurred.  At that meeting, UNESCO added five sites to its World Heritage List.  The five comprise three mountainous ecosystems (Mount Etna, Italy; the Tian Shan mountains, China; Tajik National […]

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June 25 — David Douglas, Pioneering Botanist, Born (1799)

If you’ve ever wondered why a species is named what it is—for example, why is that horse from Mongolia named Przewalski’s horse?—today can solve one of those questions.  Not about Przewalski’s horse, but about the Douglas-fir.             David Douglas was born in Scotland on June 25, 1799 (died 1834).  As a boy, Douglas loved nature, […]

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June 23 — Antarctic Treaty Implemented (1961)

Ask any fifth-grader to name the seven continents, and you’ll get the right answer, including Antarctica as one of the seventh.  But Antarctica is different than the other six.  Antarctica belongs to all of the world’s people, but can be used only certain ways.  The Antarctic Treaty, which entered into force on June 23, 1961, […]

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June 22 — Cuyahoga River Burst into Flames (1969)

What many people consider the precipitating event of the modern environmental movement occurred on June 22, 1969, when the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio, burst into flames.             On that Sunday morning, floating debris, coated in oil, jammed under two railroad bridges that crossed the river.  A spark from a passing train ignited the fire.  […]

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June 21 — World Hydrography Day

You know that sonar thingee on your bass boat that you use to find structure where the big ones hang out?  There is a day for that—World Hydrography Day, celebrated annually on June 21.  The date, chosen by the United Nations in 2005, honors the establishment of the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) on June 21, […]

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June 24 — David McTaggart, Greenpeace Leader, Born (1932)

The name Greenpeace is today synonymous with the environmental movement.  It evolved from a small organization to an international powerhouse largely because of one man, David McTaggart, through what we might call the perfect storm.             David McTaggart was born in Vancouver, British Columbia, on June 24, 1932 (died 2001).  He was a talented athlete, […]

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