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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August 3 — Arbor Day in Niger

August 3 is a special day in the West African nation of Niger.  It is Independence Day, when, in 1960, the country changed from being a French colony to a fully independent nation.  But it is also Arbor Day, the day of the year on which every Niger citizen is expected to plant a tree—to […]

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August 1 — Hawaii National Park Created (1916)

On August 1, 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed the bill establishing Hawaii National Park as the nation’s 13th national park.  The original park included three volcanoes—Kilauea and Mauna Loa on the island of Hawaii and Haleakala on the island of Maui.  In 1961, the areas on the two different islands were separated into two parks—Hawaii […]

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May 29 — Stephen Forbes, Pioneering Ecologist, Born (1844)

In my generation of fisheries biologists, we were all required to read the 1887 paper, The Lake as a Microcosm.  The paper was an early expression of ecological principles—the relationship of organisms to their habitat, the cascading of the food chain, the role of birth rates and death rates in maintaining populations.  The author was […]

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May 28 — Sierra Club Founded (1892)

John Muir didn’t like organizations of any kind—churches, political parties, clubs, even nations.  Although he lived in the U.S. for most of his life, he never really thought of himself as belonging to the country.  He listed his address as “earth-planet, universe.” He only became a U.S. citizen late in life to obtain a passport […]

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May 27 — A Day for the birds

We revel in the glory of the African elephant, giant panda or Galapagos tortoise—the charismatic megafauna that gets most of our attention, whether on television or at the zoo.  But I think the group that deserves the award as the world’s number one animal group—perhaps we should call them the charismatic omnifauna—are the birds. We […]

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May 25 — Lacey Act Created (1900)

In the United States, wildlife belongs to the state in which it lives.  And the individual states have the authority to regulate the management of that wildlife.  Before 1900, unscrupulous hunters took advantage of a legal loophole by poaching animals in one state and then moving them to another state where the harvest and sale […]

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