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Plant a Flower Day

On March 12 we celebrate Plant a Flower Day!

Springtime is rapidly approaching, which means soon enough we’ll be surrounded by flowers and lush vegetation. Do your part in helping make the world more beautiful by celebrating Plant a Flower Day.

If you live in a warmer climate, pick out some beautiful bulbs or seeds and plant some flowers right in your own backyard. If it isn’t quite warm enough for gardening where you live, you can grow your plants indoors until spring has really sprung.

You should also check out our line of Green Pieces Puzzles. The puzzle pieces contain wildflower seeds that can be planted once you have successfully put it together.

Happy planting!

Sources: Examiner, NWF

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History and Origin of Daylight Saving Time

Daylight Saving Time is the practice of adjusting clocks so that the optimum amount of daylight is utilized; clocks are turned one hour forward in the spring (spring ahead) and one hour back in the fall (fall behind). It is observed in several parts of the world, most notably North America, with the exception of Arizona, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

What we know today as Daylight Saving Time was an idea originally introduced in 1895 by New Zealand entomologist George Vernon Hudson. He proposed a two hour daylight saving change to the Wellington Philosophical Society which received a lot of interest. Independently, outdoorsman William Willet proposed advancing clocks in the summer months in 1905, which was considered by British Parliament but not officially passed into law.

Germany launched observation of Daylight Saving Time on May 1, 1916 in an effort to conserve fuel during World War I. Many European nations followed suit, and the United States began observing Daylight Saving Time as mandated by the Standard Time Act of 1918. After the war, Daylight Saving Time was eradicated until World War II, when the federal government required states to observe the time change yet again as an endeavor to save energy for war production.

Following World War II, states chose independently whether or not they would adhere to Daylight Saving Time, which took advantage of later daylight hours between April and October. That is, until Congress passed the Uniform Time Act in 1966, legislation that would standardize Daylight Saving Time throughout the nation.

Daylight Saving Time was extended four weeks in 2007 as a result of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The reason behind this was an attempt to save 10,000 barrels of oil every day, and lengthened Daylight Saving Time from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.

The benefits of Daylight Saving Time are seen in retail and business, sports, and the decrease in the amount of traffic-related accidents. The time change does present challenges as well, most notably the disruption of travel, billing, record keeping, software updates, and sleeping patterns.

Sources: Geography, Wikipedia, National Geographic

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Winter Solstice

Winter solstice, or Southern solstice in the Northern hemisphere, is the time of year in which the sun is at its most southern point in the sky. This event occurs every year on December 21 to December 22. The Sun will appear at its lowest point above the horizon at noon and shine directly over the Tropic of Capricorn. Winter solstice also marks the point at which winter officially begins.

The reason for the seasons can be explained by Earth’s axial tilt, and Earth’s rotation on this axis as it also rotates around the Sun. The axis is tilted at about 23.5 degrees, causing the Northern hemisphere and the Southern hemisphere to experience different seasons at different times. Due to the Earth’s tilt, while the Northern hemisphere is receiving less sunlight, causing winter, our friends down under in the Southern hemisphere are soaking up more sunlight and experiencing summer.

Though not readily apparent except to those in high elevations, the winter solstice marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. For several days around the solstice, the sun’s maximum elevation in the sky is at its lowest. The word solstice was derived from the Latin word “solstitium,” from sol meaning “sun” and -stitium meaning “a stoppage.” After the solstice, the days once again start to become longer and the nights shorter.

Though winter is usually regarded as a time of dormancy, the return of light became a reason for celebration in many cultures. These celebrations and festivals vary from being astronomical to symbolic to ritualistic, and many have evolved depending on how cultures developed. For a full list of winter festivals, go here.

Happy Winter Solstice!

Sources: Infoplease, Wikipedia

 

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Look for an Evergreen Day

December 19 is Look for an Evergreen Day!

If you opt for a real Christmas Tree in your household, this may be your last chance to find the perfect pine, spruce, or fir. If you have already tracked down your tree, then this can be a day to simply admire those evergreens you pass on your daily commute.

The tradition of decorating a tree for Christmas dates back to 16th century Germany. The town would gather to decorate a single tree in the market square with candles and wax ornaments. Nowadays, you can find a decorated tree in almost every house that celebrates Christmas and the decorations are a bit more ornate.

If you have been procrastinating, today is the perfect push you need. Go Look for an Evergreen!

Sources: National Whatever Day, The Ultimate Holiday Site

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International Mountain Day

Happy International Mountain Day!

The United Nations designated the year of 2002 as the International Year of Mountains to increase awareness of the importance of mountains and sustainable mountain development.  International Year of Mountains was so successful that the United Nations General Assembly designated December 11 as International Mountain Day, starting in 2003.

International Mountain Day is an opportunity to create awareness about the importance of mountains to life, to highlight the opportunities and constraints in mountain development and to build partnerships that will bring positive change to the world’s mountains and highlands.

- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), UN agency leading the observance of International Mountain Day

Each year, International Mountain Day observance is centered around a particular theme. International Mountain Day 2011 will focus on mountains and forests:

It aims to raise awareness about the relevance of mountain forests and the role they play within a Green Economy as well as in climate change adaptation measures.

- FAO

Check out our great selection of Mountain Calendars.

Learn more about efforts to protect mountain environments and improve the lives of people living in those environments at mountainpartnership.org.

Sources: punchbowl.com, fao.org, timeanddate.com
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Rainforest Day

Rainforest Day is a day to celebrate rainforests and their impact on the earth and its inhabitants. For example, rainforests help regulate temperatures and weather patterns and are also responsible for 28% of the world’s oxygen turnover. Discover more facts about rainforests at Nature.org.

Rainforest Day was also created to increase awareness about rainforest threats and, as a result, losses. Check out the organizations below to see how you can help!

Rainforest Alliance
Rainforest Partnership
Rainforest Foundation 

 

Sources: The Ultimate Holiday Site, Stacy Reid, Wikipedia, The Nature Conservancy

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When does the Autumnal Equinox occur in 2012?

September 22, 2012 at 2:49 p.m.

Learn more about the Autumnal Equinox by clicking here.

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First Day of Summer

The first day of summer, also referred to as the Summer Solstice, occurs when the sun is at a point where it is farthest North. The Summer Solstice typically occurs on June 20 or 21.

The Summer Solstice also happens to be the longest day of the year! Celebrate your extra time out in the summer sun by swimming, having a barbecue with friends, or doing other summery activities.

Sources: Calendar Updates, Almanac.com

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Summer Solstice

Today is the Summer Solstice, which means June 20 is the longest day of 2012!

To learn more about the June Solstice, check out last years blog post.

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World Environment Day

OrmanWhat is World Environment Day?

Created in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly, World Environment Day (WED) is a global holiday that celebrates a healthy environment, creates environmental awareness, and encourages people all over the world to take positive environmental action.

Each year, the United Nations Environmental Programme centers WED around a specific theme and environmental area of interest. The theme for WED 2011 is “Forests: Nature At Your Service.”

Find out more about WED at the United Nations Environmental Programme’s WED website.

When is World Environment Day?

WED is celebrated on June 5 of each year to commemorate the opening of the 1972 Stockholm Conference.

How do I celebrate World Environment Day?

This year, celebrating WED is as simple as planting a tree, but if you’re looking for even more ways to celebrate WED or want to involve your whole community, check out the United Nations Environmental Programme’s suggested WED activities for ideas.

Don’t just help keep the environment clean on June 5. Go green and adopt eco-friendly habits and behaviors all year round by following these guidelines from the United Nations Environment Programme.

Sources: unep.org
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