May 31 — The Johnstown Flood (1889)

At the time it happened, the Johnstown Flood was the worst natural disaster in the history of the United States.  It was the biggest news story since the assassination of President Lincoln, 24 years earlier.  And it is a lesson of tragic proportion that dams, which do much good, are also tremendously dangerous.             The […]

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May 30 — Everglades National Park Created (1934)

Everglades National Park stands as one of North America’s great ecosystems and parks, taking its place on the podium alongside Yellowstone, Yosemite and Grand Canyon.  But the Everglades lacks the grandeur of those other parks—which makes its creation and existence so much more meaningful.             The southern end of Florida is more water than land.  […]

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May 26 — Last Model T Rolls Off the Assembly Line (1927)

It is the machine that changed the world.  It started mass manufacturing.  It created a huge middle class.  It gave good jobs to unskilled workers, and they created labor unions.  It put average Americans on wheels.  It was the Tin Lizzie.  And after two decades of production, the last Model T—the 15th million one—rolled off […]

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April 29 — Dancing with Nature’s Stars

In 1982, the International Theatre Institute, working through UNESCO, created International Dance Day, occurring on April 29 each year.  The date recognizes the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, the originator of modern ballet, who lived from 1727-1810.             In support of each year’s recognition, a prominent representative of dance pens a message regarding the universality and […]

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April 28 — Chernobyl Nuclear Accident Announced (1986)

It took two days before the government of the Soviet Union admitted that something had happened to their nuclear power facilities at Chernobyl.  They might never have admitted anything, if Scandinavian scientists hadn’t begun to detect increased levels of radiation in the air on Monday morning, April 28, 1986.             What the Soviet Union had […]

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April 27 — Soil Conservation Service Created (1935)

Normally I would title an entry like this one with the current name of the agency or park under discussion.  But today I’ve used the original name—Soil Conservation Service—because it represents more directly the nature of the agency.  Today, the agency is called the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a nice name but much more ambiguous […]

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April 25 — Theodore Roosevelt National Park Established (1947)

When Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, died on January 6, 1919, it wasn’t long before conservationists began advocating for a park in his name.  Roosevelt was, after all, our “conservation president,” a leader who established 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks and 18 national […]

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April 23 — World Book Day

Normally, this calendar notes the birth dates of important conservationists and environmentalists.  But today is noted because it was the date when three famous authors died—William Shakespeare, Miquel de Cervantes, and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.  Not only did they die on the same date, April 23, but they all died on the very same […]

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