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Sep 22, 2023
World Rhinoceros Day
Keep the five alive! That is the mission of World Rhinoceros Day, rhino specialists, and fans around the globe. Those five species are: the Javan, Sumatran, greater one-horned, black, and white rhinoceros. It is the white rhino which can be seen on our homepage, identified by its two horns and square lip.
Sep 21, 2023
International Day of Peace
Every year on September 21, the United Nations celebrates the International Day of Peace, or World Peace Day. Established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly, the day begins with the Peace Bell Ceremony held at the UN headquarters in New York City. The bell was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan and is inscribed with a message of hope: "Long live absolute world peace."
Sep 20, 2023
Aqueduct, Arkadia Park, Poland
Founded in 1778 by aristocrat Helena Radziwiłłowa, Arkadia Park is an English-style landscape park in central Poland. The park displays architecture and landscapes that evoke ancient and medieval eras, like this recreation of a Roman-style aqueduct. These features are brought to life by the garden"s lush greenery, tranquil water, and intricately crafted sculptures throughout the grounds, which illustrate the beauty of intermingled nature and art. Today, Arkadia Park stands as a testament to Helena Radziwiłłowa"s lasting vision and creative legacy.
Sep 19, 2023
Splügen Pass, Switzerland
With their twists and turns, record heights, and breathtaking vistas, mountain roads are not for the faint-hearted. Pictured here is the historic Splügen Pass, which winds its way through the Lepontine Alps, on the border of Switzerland and Italy. Although its modern version was built between 1818-1823, the Splügen Pass existed in some form as far back as Roman times. At 6,936 feet high, it is one of the highest paved roads in Europe, with 51 marked hairpin bends. It is closed in winter but, if spectacular mountainside views and picturesque lakes tickle your fancy, you can enjoy this ascent between June and mid-October. Have we "peaked" your interest yet?
Sep 18, 2023
Fall Astronomy Week
The Milky Way has billions of stars; among them, our own sun finds its place. The galaxy"s name is derived from the radiant, pale appearance of the band of stars and gas clouds that graces Earth"s sky. Methodical observations of the night sky started with early civilizations but astronomy, the oldest natural science, remains a source of fascination today. It"s what brings stargazers to Portugal"s Southwest Alentejo and Vicentine Coast Natural Park, a site free from heavy light pollution. Now"s a good time to seek out your own celestial spectacle, as it is Astronomy Week and the main event, Saturday"s Fall Astronomy Day, this year coincides with the autumnal equinox.
Sep 17, 2023
Cuban tody, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Cuba
The tiny Cuban tody can only be found on Cuba and its neighboring islands. Despite their colorful plumage, including that sparkling green head, their size can make them hard to spot. However, they are easy to hear. The soft sound of "pprreeee-pprreeee" or a short "tot-tot-tot-tot" will tell you there"s a tody somewhere nearby.
Sep 16, 2023
Welcome to Oktoberfest, the world"s biggest beer festival, held each year in the German city of Munich. Dating back all the way to 1810, it began with the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig, later Ludwig I of Bavaria, and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The celebrations took place on the fields in front of the city gates, which were named Theresienwiese, or Theresa"s Meadow, in honor of the bride. The festivities lasted for five days, filled with exciting activities such as parades and horse races. It was so popular that Oktoberfest became an annual event that now draws more than 6 million people. This year"s festival starts today and lasts 18 days. Beyond Munich, it has become a popular celebration in multiple countries, and cities inside and outside of Germany imitate the festival and cherish its German traditions.
Sep 15, 2023
National Hispanic Heritage Month
From early Spanish colonialism to modern day civil rights struggles, the timeline of Hispanic and Latino history in the US is a rich one. Hispanic Heritage Month—September 15 to October 15—is dedicated to the history, culture, and heritage grounded in Latin America. It began as Hispanic Week in 1968 and has since evolved into a 30-day celebration. Why does it start in the middle of the month? September 15 sees the first of a series of independence days in several Latin American countries—El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. They are followed by Mexico, Chile, and Belize, which mark theirs on September 16, 18, and 21, respectively.
Sep 14, 2023
Przewalskis horses, Hustai National Park, Mongolia
Hustai National Park in Mongolia is home to a very special and rare breed, the Przewalski"s horse. Regarded by some as the only truly pure wild horse today, it is easily recognized by its pale yellowish-brown coat, a short, stiff mane, and short legs. The Przewalski"s horse, also called the "takhi" in Mongolia, was once extinct in the wild but has been successfully reintroduced through conservation efforts in the 1990s. An interesting fact about these horses is that they have 66 chromosomes, compared with 64 in domestic horses. Remarkably, Przewalski"s horses can mate with domestic horses to produce hybrids. These hybrids have 65 chromosomes and can breed and have their own offspring.
Sep 13, 2023
Hemakuta Hill, Hampi, India
Hampi is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Karnataka, India. The group of monuments—ancient temples, majestic palaces, and intricate ruins—are remnants of the former capital city of the Vijayanagara Empire, which ruled much of South India between the 14th and 16th centuries.
Sep 12, 2023
North Sea at sunset, Norddorf, Germany
The small village of Norddorf is one of the oldest on the island of Amrum, off Germany"s North Sea coast. Nestled amidst stunning natural beauty, Amrum is home to around 2,300 people and has a strong maritime heritage. Museums and lighthouses offer a glimpse into the island"s past. Tourists can also explore the unique wildlife of the Naturschutzgebiet Amrumer Dünen (Amrum Dunes Nature Reserve), home to various bird species, like the red knot and brent goose, as well as plants like the common sundew and ragged robin.
Sep 11, 2023
On September 11, Patriot Day is observed as a national day of service and remembrance to honor the 2,977 people who died in the attacks on the United States in 2001. Congress established the day in 2002 with bipartisan support, and ever since, US government buildings, both domestic and abroad, fly the American flag at half-staff. Many citizens and businesses do the same in remembrance. Patriot Day also honors the hard work and sacrifice of the first responders who bravely put themselves in harm"s way in the hours and days after the attacks.
Sep 10, 2023
Have you called your nana, abuela, pop-pop or lolo lately? No matter what you call them, there"s no better time to pick up the phone than Grandparents" Day, held on the Sunday after Labor Day. Grandparents play a special role in our lives, helping to raise new generations, passing down family history and sharing the wisdom of their experience. Wisdom is not always indicated by a thick Wilford-Brimley-esque mustache, but whiskers do lend a certain esteemed quality. Perhaps that"s why these Atlantic walruses look like they"re about to tell you why they voted for Hubert Humphrey.
Sep 9, 2023
Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
When the sun sets over Thailand, the Wat Chaiwatthanaram Buddhist temple lights up to welcome the night at the Ayutthaya Historical Park. These ruins are evidence of the area"s rich history as the capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom, which grew in power between the 14th and 18th centuries to rule Siam, or present-day Thailand. Around 1630, Wat Chaiwatthanaram was built on the orders of the dynasty"s King Prasat Thong, to symbolize the center of the universe and connote his aspiration to become the future Buddha.
Sep 8, 2023
International Literacy Day
Jane Austen, author of "Pride and Prejudice," is one of the best-known writers in English literature, so it"s not a surprise that there are multiple festivals honoring her legacy. The largest is held here, in the English city of Bath, where Austen lived from 1801 to 1806. On September 8, International Literacy Day, the city begins its annual 10-day Jane Austen Festival with hundreds of Austen fans walking the streets dressed in costumes from Britain"s Regency era, in the early 19th century.
Sep 7, 2023
Camels in the desert, United Arab Emirates
Desert-dwelling camels have been central to lives in the United Arab Emirates for thousands of years. A key mode of transportation for Bedouins, camels long helped them traverse the sweltering sands in search of water and supplies. These dromedaries were also used as currency to fulfill obligations such as dowries or zakat, an annual charitable fee in Muslim communities. Camel milk is a valuable and nutritious ingredient in many recipes in the region, while camel racing keeps people entertained to this day, illustrating the versatility of these hardy creatures.
Sep 6, 2023
Rethymno, Crete, Greece
The Venetian harbor in the Old Town of Rethymno, on the Greek island of Crete, invites you to time travel through history. Its Egyptian lighthouse and Turkish elements are proof of different nations leaving their mark on Crete"s old port. Forged in the 14th century under Venetian rule, this port has long served as a bustling hub for commerce and enterprise. For today"s visitors, a replica of an old wooden sailing ship offers a full historic adventure. For a nostalgic inland experience, visit the 16th-century Fortezza, Rethymno"s Venetian fortress. The citadel is visible from every corner of the town and offers a panoramic view of Rethymno.
Sep 5, 2023
Mount Segla, Senja Island, Norway
A beautiful island popularly known as "Norway in miniature," Senja"s diverse landscape boasts mountainous terrain as well as lush greenery. At 600 square miles, it is Norway"s second-largest island, connected to the mainland by the Gisund Bridge. The most notable spot on Senja is pictured today, Mount Segla, a magnificent peak that is visited frequently in summer, with a trail starting in Fjordgård, a fishing village in the north of Senja. It"s a tough hike to the top, more than 2,000 feet above sea level. Other tourist attractions include Ånderdalen National Park and Tranøya, an island off the south coast of Senja known for its tranquility.
Sep 4, 2023
Labor Day is a well-earned day of rest for many workers across America. The food we eat, the shelter over our heads, and the transportation that moves us around all exist thanks to our collective labor. Organized labor movements grew in the 19th century, along with calls for a day to honor workers" contributions. The first Labor Day was celebrated with a parade in New York City in September 1882 and similar events spread throughout the country. In 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill declaring the first Monday in September as Labor Day. Today, Labor Day marks the unofficial end of summer, but let"s not forget to take a moment to give thanks for the work we all put in to take care of our communities, our families, and ourselves.
Sep 3, 2023
Skyscraper Day pays tribute to the towering architectural wonders that dominate our city skylines. Observed on September 3, it also marks the birthday of Louis Henry Sullivan, a pioneer of modern architecture who is often called the "father of skyscrapers." Found in the world"s biggest cities, skyscrapers serve as symbols of progress, ambition, and reaching new heights. Manhattan, the dense, vibrant heart of New York City, boasts a mesmerizing skyline with an array of iconic skyscrapers. These structures, like the Empire State Building, One World Trade Center, and the Chrysler Building, define the city"s architectural and cultural legacy and captivate millions of visitors every year.
Sep 2, 2023
National Hummingbird Day
It"s National Hummingbird Day, a day to celebrate these tiny wonders. Their colorful plumage and ability to hover mid-air make them particularly eye-catching. The rapid flapping of their wings—an average of 53 times a second—creates their trademark humming sound and works up quite an appetite: These little birdies can feed every 10–15 minutes! Today"s homepage star is an Allen"s hummingbird, which grows to about 3.5 inches in length and is found along the west coast of North America, most commonly in California. National Hummingbird Day aims to boost the preservation of these mini marvels, by protecting them and their habitat.
Sep 1, 2023
National Mushroom Month
When the Mushroom Council decided it was high time to "champignon" these versatile fungi, they settled on September as the perfect time to do so. National Mushroom Month highlights their importance and encourages you to know your mushrooms. For example, poisonous jack-o"-lantern mushrooms are sometimes misidentified as edible chanterelles. Others have medicinal properties like today"s homepage species, turkey tail, used to treat lung conditions in traditional Chinese medicine. Recent research showed them exhibiting anti-tumor properties and helping fortify the immune system. Other mushrooms make great meal additions, and from portobello to shiitake mushrooms, there are thousands of edible species out there. Sautéed, stuffed, sliced, on a pizza, or in soup, it is time to bring some umami fun(gi) to your plate!
Aug 31, 2023
Saguaro cacti, Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona
Massive succulents against a mountainous backdrop, underneath the sun-kissed Arizona sky—it"s prickly perfection. Pictured here are saguaro (pronounced "sah-wah-roh") cacti at the Ironwood Forest National Monument in the Sonoran Desert. Even if you haven"t seen one in person, when you hear the word cactus, you"re probably thinking of saguaro—tall, green, cylindrical, with arms pointing upward. From tattoos to coffee cups, you"ll find this iconic symbol of Arizona on almost everything. Though they are slow growers, these plants have been known to live over 200 years and reach enormous heights, with a 78-footer setting the record. Another cactus, known as "Grandaddy," survived in the sweltering desert for about 300 years, eventually succumbing to old age in the early 1990s. Cacti may not be for everyone, but they tend to grow on you (figuratively, of course)!
Aug 30, 2023
International Whale Shark Day
Say hello to the largest fish in the world, the whale shark. On August 30, we celebrate International Whale Shark Day to honor these magnificent marine creatures. These gentle giants are not related to whales, despite their impressive size—they can reach up to 40 feet in length. Whale sharks are calm creatures which are usually safe for divers to swim alongside. These sharks are filter feeders and consume plankton and small fish by sieving them through their gill plates. There has been a significant decline in their populations, with an estimated 63% decrease in their numbers in the last 75 years. Threats include being hit by boats or tangled in fishing gear and their habitats are being damaged by pollution, coastal development and over-fishing. Advocates work through education and community engagement to help safeguard whale sharks and preserve our oceans.
Aug 29, 2023
American bison, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming
The bison is a majestic, massive creature, a true emblem of the American frontier spirit. These sturdy animals roamed North America"s prairies for thousands of years in numbers estimated to be as high as 60 million. But settlement of the American West caused habitat loss, and that, combined with overhunting, nearly wiped out the species altogether by the end of the 19th century. Ranchers, conservationists, Native American tribes, and politicians teamed up to save the bison and today, nearly 500,000 bison can be found in North America. About 15,000 animals are in free-roaming herds that graze on US public lands, like the bison in today"s image, shown at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.