National Audubon Society incorporated in 1905. Named after the naturalist and ornithologist, John James Audubon, the society now has 500 local chapters. The group continues to focus on birds, as evidenced by its annual Christmas bird count that this year occurs between December 14th and January 5th. The Audubon Society works to protect other animals as well and lobbies for conservation. It also provides education. Children can visit the group’s website at: http://www.audubon.org.
Nellie Tayloe Ross became the first woman governor. She became Wyoming’s top executive in 1925. Her husband was governor, but he died of complications from an appendectomy. She then ran for the governorship and won. The National Governors Association provides a great database regarding governors at: http://www.nga.org/cms/home.html. Children could find out how many of today’s governors are women.
George Washington Carver Recognition Day remembers his death in 1943 in Tuskegee, Alabama. Carver’s exact birthday is unknown, but he was probably born a slave in 1864. He worked hard to earn an education. Booker T. Washington brought him to Tuskegee University in 1896, and Carver stayed there for 47 years. There he taught farmers to rotate crops and to grow crops other than cotton. He is famous for devising many uses for peanuts and sweet potatoes. Children could read more at: George Washington Carver.
Alvin Ailey (born Rogers, Texas, 1931; died New York, New York, December 1, 1989) was a choreographer and dancer. He created the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and he strove to increase the importance of African Americans in dance. Idea: Children could learn more about different types of dancing.
Lynne Cherry (born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1952) is a children’s author and illustrator. She has over 30 books to her credit. Her books include The Great Kapok Tree and A River Ran Wild. Children could visit her website at: Lynne Cherry.
Stephen Decatur (born Sinepuxent, Maryland, 1779; died Bladenburg, Maryland, March 22, 1820) was a naval officer. He is famous for saying, “Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong.” He was killed in a duel with Commodore James Barron.
Kate Feiffer (born New York, New York, 1964) has written eleven books for children. Her father, Jules Feiffer, has illustrated at least four of the eleven books. Her books include Double Pink and Signed by Zelda. Children can check out her website at: Kate Feiffer.
Zebulon Pike (born Lamberton, New Jersey, 1779; died near Toronto, Canada, 1813) was an explorer. In 1805 he investigated the source of the Mississippi River. In 1806 he became intrigued with a large mountain in Colorado. Thinking the mountain was close, he and his party started walking toward it. They were fooled by the mountain’s height and its true distance from them. That mountain was named Pike’s Peak. Later he signed up to fight in the War of 1812. He was killed in battle. Idea: Pike’s Peak hosts a very important road race every year. Create a “road race” of questions regarding mountains. Each time a student answers a question correctly, he/she speeds more up the mountain. Children could also visit: http://www.zebulonpike.org/. The website provides maps of his explorations and information about him.