Mysterious prairie mounds abound
Collections of these dome-like hills are common in landscapes throughout the United States. Depending on your region, you might know them as Mima mounds, hogwallow mounds, or even pimple mounds–and their origin isn’t always clear. Theories range from seismic activity to gophers—and even just an accumulation of sediment. The prairie mounds on our homepage today are part of Oregon’s Zumwalt Prairie, a unique landscape in northeast Oregon. Encompassing some 330,000 acres, It’s of one of the largest remaining intact tracts of bunchgrass prairie in North America. Once part of an extensive grassland in the region, this portion has remained preserved due to its high elevation, which made farming difficult.
A day to celebrate the sun
A few times each year, the rising and setting suns align with the east-west streets of Manhattan--commonly referred to as 'Manhattanhenge.' While the exact timing varies slightly from one year to the next, it usually occurs a few weeks before and after the summer and winter solstices. Tonight's sunset will find the full sun's golden rays streaming directly through Manhattan's major cross streets.
The name Manhattanhenge was created and popularized by NYC native and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson as an homage to Stonehenge. But Manhattan isn't the only place you can experience a 'henge' day--cities like Chicago and Toronto are also drawing crowds trying to capture a moment where the cosmos perfectly aligns with the modern.
Stravinsky Fountain in Paris, France © Alessandro Saffo/eStock Photo
A ‘circus of chaos’ for Stravinsky
The whimsical sculptures of Stravinsky Fountain in Paris are a bold, modern contrast to the Church of Saint-Merri, seen in the background of our photo today. The fountain—designed to inspire feelings of joy and playfulness—is a tribute to the groundbreaking symphonic composer and conductor Igor Stravinsky. Though he was born near St. Petersburg, Russia, Stravinsky wrote and debuted many of his career-making works while living in France in the early 20th century. It was this day in 1913 that Stravinsky’s ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’ debuted at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.
The ballet, choreographed by iconic dancer Vaslav Nijinksy, was not well-received by traditionalists. Those who preferred classical ballet clashed with ‘bohemian’ members of the audience who openly embraced the modern performance. The fracas soon led to heckling of the performers and fights within the crowd. The ensuing ‘riot’ is something of a legend, with most historians agreeing that it wasn’t quite the spectacle that some accounts suggest. Still, it’s fun to imagine a ballet inspiring such a passionate reaction from the audience. Imagine if the ballet fans of early 20th-century Paris had social media…
Britain's only coastal national park
The headland on our homepage is called Pitting Gales Point, located near the village of Marloes on the scenic south-west coast of Wales. It's part of the pleasant Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, home to a spectacular and varied landscape of rugged cliffs, golden beaches, wooded estuaries and vast hills. Many visitors are drawn by the world-famous Pembrokeshire Coast Path, which hugs the coastline for 186 miles (299 km), mostly at cliff-top level, passing 58 beaches and 14 harbours along the way. Spring is the perfect time to stretch your legs, as the path is lined with a carpet of colourful wildflowers in full bloom and migrating birds return to the coast. It takes around 12 days to walk the whole length of the path, and its 35,000 feet (11,000 m) of ascent and descent is said to be the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest!
圣米歇尔山 Mont Saint-Michel for its annual marathon (© Leroy Francis/Getty Images)
Racing toward history
Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful marathons anywhere, the Marathon de la Baie du Mont Saint-Michel has attracted runners from around the globe to this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The point-to-point route for the marathon was designed so runners can see the finish line at the base of the Mont Saint-Michel Abbey from the starting line, on the western side of the bay, and points along the way. But you don't need to be a runner to enjoy this historic location. Every year more than two million people travel to the tidal island, making it one of the top tourist destinations in France.
Sandcastle on Malvarrosa Beach in Valencia, Spain © Tony French/Alamy
Not your average sandcastle
Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer, so of course we're heading to the beach - the city beaches of Valencia, Spain. Valencia is famous for its beautiful, golden sand beaches, as well as their incredible sand sculptures, like this one on Malvarrosa Beach. An elaborate sand sculpture like this could take over a week and multiple people to build. In fact, the world's tallest sandcastle reached over 50 feet into the sky. But if you’ve got the time, sand, and water, you too can build a cool sandcastle.
Come out of your shell for World Turtle Day
Make way for the green sea turtle, which you'll find - if you're lucky - swimming in tropical and subtropical coastal waters around the world. You'll notice that despite its name, the green sea turtle's shell is not green at all. The name comes from the color of its fat, which takes on a greenish hue after the adult turtle starts eating seagrass and algae. Unfortunately, like many other sea turtle species, the green sea turtle is endangered and its population shrinking due to hunting, boat-propeller accidents, plastic pollution, and loss of nesting grounds.
World Turtle Day was established in 2000 to protect turtles and tortoises and their threatened habitats around the world. Conservation efforts are led by several nonprofit organizations such as the American Tortoise Rescue which focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation, adoption and protection of all turtle species. Since the organization's inception it's rescued or rehomed more than 4,000 turtles across the world through a combination of community outreach programs and financial contributions from donors.
'El Problema del Caballo' by Claudia Fontes in Venice, Italy © Marco Secchi/Getty Images
The artists come to Venice
Our photo today shows a small part of artist Claudia Fontes’ sculpture called ‘The Horse Problem.’ The Argentinian artist exhibited the large installation work—with smashed bits of stone surrounding the larger-than-life white horse, as if it has crashed into the exhibition space. The installation was shown at the Venice Biennale in 2017, where artists from around the globe bring their work to show off at this every-other-year arts and culture festival in the Italian city of Venice. The Biennale is just starting up again this month, and many of the programs and exhibits will be going on through the summer and into fall.