The school day had just ended at Isaac Dickson Elementary School in Asheville, North Carolina. Most students had left, and the ones in the school's "supervised homework help" program were inside the campus. Fifth-grade teacher Betsie Stockslager Emry was also heading home when she noticed two playful black bears entering the empty playground. What happened next will bring a smile to your face.
One of the world's most iconic landmarks just got transformed into a work of art. From September 18 to October 3, 2021, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France, will be embellished with 25,000 square meters of shimmering silvery-blue plastic fabric, held in place by 9,842 feet (3,000 meters) of red rope. The installation, dubbed "L'Arc de Triomphe, Wrapped," is the brainchild of the late artist duo Christo and Jeanne-Claude.
Hawthorne, California-based SpaceX is known for making history. It was the first private spaceflight company to transport astronauts to the International Space Station and the first to develop a reusable rocket booster. On September 18, 2021, the American aerospace company did it again by completing the world's first-ever all-civilian mission to space.
The Sequoia National Park in California's southern Sierra Nevada mountains is best known for its namesake giant sequoias. The park boasts 40 groves of the massive trees, which occur naturally only on its western slopes. But the most beloved is the Giant Forest, a collection of 2000 trees that includes half of the Earth's largest and longest-living trees. This past weekend, the ancient wonders came dangerously close to being scorched by the KNP Complex Fire. But thanks to quick-thinking firefighters, the precious grove has been saved.
After years of intense public pushback, the now-shuttered Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus finally announced the retirement of their Asian elephant performers in 2016. While the decision was a resounding victory for animal lovers and activists, it raised a new issue. The mighty pachyderms were raised in captivity and lacked the skills to survive in the wild. Now, thanks to Florida-based White Oak Conservation, the animals have a new home — one where they can roam freely.
The western false asphodel — an herb-like plant found in abundance along North America's West Coast — has been known to science since 1879. But it is only recently that researchers from the University of British Columbia discovered the innocent-looking plant's penchant for insects. The finding is particularly exciting given that this is the first new predatory plant to be discovered in 20 years.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually in the US from September 15th to October 15th. The event honors the histories, cultures, and contributions of American Latinx and Hispanic communities. This includes all residents from — or descendants of someone from — Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The commemoration began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week. It was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.
The 2021 US Open Women's Singles final between 18-year-old Emma Raducanu and 19-year-old Leylah Fernandez was one of the most anticipated Grand Slam tournaments in recent history. It was the first all-teenage final since the 1999 US Open and the first major final — men or women — since 1968 to feature two unranked players.