World Beach Day is today! The day reminds us that the beach is a necessary part of the world’s ecosystem. We must protect the beach, keep it clean, and encourage beach plant and animal growth. Birds, mammals, crustaceans, and insects thrive on beaches. Sea turtles nest on beaches. Many plants live in the dunes and slightly beyond. Children can visit a great site: Beaches.
Uzbekistan celebrates Independence Day. This doubly landlocked country withdrew from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991. Steppes and deserts are major land features of this country, with an area about the same as the area of California. Over 28 million people live in Uzbekistan, and Tashkent is the capital. Older children can learn more at: Uzbekistan.
Slovakia celebrates Constitution Day. Its constitution was ratified in 1992 and took effect January 1, 1993. This landlocked country’s area is about twice the size of the area of New Hampshire. About 5.5 million people live in Slovakia, and Bratislava is the capital. Older children could learn more at: Slovakia.
Martha, the last passenger pigeon, died in 1914. Named after Martha Washington, this bird lived for about 29 years in the Cincinnati Zoo. Some experts believe that between three and five billion passenger pigeons once lived in North America. However, destruction of its environment and large-scale hunting brought an end to the species. Older children could learn more at: Martha.
Drug Abuse Resistance Education (D.A.R.E.) became available to schools in 1983. Today about 75 percent of all United States schools use D.A.R.E., and 44 other countries are also trying it. Adults can visit the website at: http://www.dare.org/.
Titanic was found by Dr. Robert Ballard in 1985. The “Unsinkable Titanic” sank on April 15, 1912. The wreck was 500 miles off the coast of Newfoundland. Children can view an interesting video of the ship and its discovery at: Titanic.
Jim Arnosky (born New York, New York, 1946) is a children’s book author and illustrator. He stresses animals, plants, and nature. His works include Big Jim and the Whitelegged Moose and Turtle in the Sea. Children could visit his website, particularly the coloring pages, at: Jim Arnosky.
Bernard Fantus (born Budapest, Hungary, 1874; died Oak Park, Illinois, April 14, 1940) created the first blood bank at Cook County Hospital in Chicago on March 15, 1937.
Engelbert Humperdinck (born Sieburg, Germany, 1854; died Neustrelitz, Germany, September 21, 1921) was a composer. He is famous for his opera Hansel and Gretel. He also wrote incidental music for plays, including several works by Shakespeare.
Edgar Rice Burroughs (born Chicago, Illinois, 1875; died Encino, California, March 19, 1950) was, at various times, a soldier, gold miner, cowboy, and policeman. He is famous for writing the Tarzan books. He wrote twenty novels. They have been translated into fifty languages, and over twenty million copies have been sold. The character was also featured in movies, comic strips, and television. Children can read many of his works at: Project Gutenberg. Children can learn more at: Edgar Rice Burroughs.
National Hummingbird Day is today! Celebrated on the first Saturday of September, the day honors our smallest types of birds. About 336 species of hummingbirds exist, and they are native to the Americas. These small birds can quickly stop midair, and they are the only birds that can fly backward. Their needle-like bills allow them to extract flower nectar. Their eggs are about the size of a pea. They are called hummingbirds because their wings beat so many times in a second that they produce a low hum.
International Vulture Awareness Day is today! Designated for the first Saturday in September, the day recognizes vultures, birds that may be unattractive but are vital to the world’s ecology. Vultures eat carrion, dead animals. These scavengers help rid our planet of dead matter. Ornithologists list 23 species of vultures living today. Unfortunately several of the species are endangered or even critically endangered. Children could learn more at: Vultures.
Great Britain and the American colonies conducted a “Gregorian Correction” to the calendar in 1752. The day after September 2 became September 14. Angry mobs protested in the streets because they felt they lost eleven days. The country also changed New Year’s Day from March 25 to January 1. Most of Europe had adopted the Gregorian calendar almost two centuries earlier on October 4, 1582.