How the Chesapeake Bay Formed American Identity

It's Been an Artery Through Which Democracy and Capitalism Flowed

When Captain Christopher Newport sailed into the Chesapeake Bay in 1607 to establish the first permanent English colony in North America, his goal was not freedom.

In that way, Newport, the explorer John Smith, and the other founders of Jamestown were radically different than their rivals in the English colonization of the New World: the Pilgrims, who landed farther north and established the Plymouth colony in 1620. The Pilgrims were religious separatists who endured (and often died) in the alien landscape because they hungered for religious liberty.

By contrast, Jamestown was set …

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Chimpanzee Behavior Isn’t Just Monkey Business. It’s Culture.

Grooming, Using Tools, and Fishing for Termites Show the Humanity of Our Primate Cousins

In 1961, famed primatologist Jane Goodall discovered that wild chimpanzees were fashioning tools from sticks and using them to fish termites out of their nests—revolutionizing our understanding of culture and …

Hiking Wisconsin With ‘Ghosts’ of the Ice Age

A Scenic Trail Takes Me To Centuries Past, and Forward Into a Climate-Changed Future

In “Marshland Elegy,” an essay in A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold described a dawn wind slowly rolling a bank of fog across a Wisconsin marsh. “Like the white ghost …

The Religious Roots of America’s Love for Camping

How a Minister's Accidental Bestseller Launched the Country's First Outdoor Craze

Summer 1868 passed as an unremarkable season at Saranac Lake in New York’s Adirondack Mountains. The weather was fine, the scenery delightful, and the usual array of 200 to …

The 1938 Hurricane That Revived New England’s Fall Colors

An Epic Natural Disaster Restored the Forest of an Earlier America

This morning, while driving in central Vermont, listening to the latest news about hurricanes in Florida and Texas, I caught up with my first leaf peeper of the season. …

Beekeepers and the Art of Urban Rebirth

How a Nature Sanctuary Eased the Sting of an Epic Public Housing Failure

The plight of public housing projects conceived with the best of intentions and then failing horribly is by now well-known in communities across America. Less known—and still unfolding—is the story …