Why one couple gave 400 acres of pristine meadow to Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite is one of the crown jewels of the U.S. National Park Service.

It's also — pardon my French — très grand! (Very big!)

Yosemite National Park being huge. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images.


Clocking in at over 1,000 square miles, Yosemite takes up a massive chunk of California. It's so big you could fit over 63 million Cheez-It crackers in it (according to some math I did myself). I don't know why you would, but you could. Before you attempt it though, consider this:

400 acres are about to be added to Yosemite, and the new land is awesome in nearly every way.

It's the park's biggest expansion since 1949, and the land, named Ackerson Meadow, previously belonged to private owners Robin and Nancy Wainwright.

Ackerson Meadow was historically used for logging and cattle grazing. The land was ripe for development.

Dayum. Photo by Robb Hirsch for the Trust for Public Land.

It's like a Disney movie — picture a sprawling, pristine meadow filled with an abundance of happy, doe-eyed creatures. Now imagine a mean ol' land developer building a big strip mall on top of it. That's what could've happened to Ackerson Meadow.

Luckily, things never got that far. The Wainwrights, who recognized the natural beauty of their land, decided to sell it to the Trust for Public Land, a nonprofit conservation group, for $2.3 million. The trust then donated the land to Yosemite.

Photo by Robb Hirsch for the Trust for Public Land.

The Wainwrights reportedly lost a couple hundred thousand dollars on the sale but knew it was the right decision regardless.

"To have [the land] accessible by everyone to me is just a great thing. It was worth losing a little bit of money for that," Robin Wainwright explained.

The protection of the National Park Service is also a big deal, as the meadow is home to several endangered or protected species.

Including this stern-looking great gray owl.

"Sup." Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.

Great grey owls are huge, badass birds that hunt gophers with their bare talons and have been known to live up to 40 years. Males impress lady owls by kissing food into their mouths, a beautiful and delicate process that I would like to henceforth refer to as "gopher-frenching."

In California, they're an endangered species. In fact, the vast majority of great gray owls live in Yosemite, which means the newly added land will serve as further protected habitat.

Yosemite might be huge, but the 400 acres will still add some diversity to the park's already stunning landscape.

Ackerson is largely made up of wetlands and a grassy meadow, which is quite different from Yosemite's iconic granite cliffs.

"Neat! My lens cap is on!" Photo by Robb Hirsch for the Trust for Public Land.

Different landscapes mean biodiversity, and biodiversity means a healthier ecosystem as well as a host of benefits for the planet Earth, which is where we live!

A win like this for Yosemite is truly a win for all of us.

Pending a small legal snafu, Ackerson Meadow will be added to Yosemite National Park, and everyone will benefit.

Not only will a beautiful crop of land receive well-deserved protection and conservation from the National Park Service, but it'll be open to the public, which means we'll all get to enjoy it. You can even go try to spot one of those owls if they're not busy gopher-frenching potential mates.

"It's not funny." Photo by Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images.

Protecting that land will have a long-lasting effect on the environment writ large too, as protected forests help reduce greenhouse gases.

People come from all over the world to see national parks and marvel at their natural beauty. The land owners could've sold their magnificent plot for a hefty profit, but instead they decided to share it with the world.

In that sense, we all profit.

Photo by Robb Hirsch for the Trust for Public Land.

There have been many iconic dance routines throughout film history, but how many have the honor being called "the greatest" by Fred Astaire himself?

Fayard and Harold Nicholas, known collectively as the Nicholas Brothers, were arguably the best at what they did during their heyday. Their coordinated tap routines are legendary, not only because they were great dancers, but because of their incredible ability to jump into the air and land in the splits. Repeatedly. From impressive heights.

Their most famous routine comes from the movie "Stormy Weather." As Cab Calloway sings "Jumpin' Jive," the Nicholas Brothers make the entire set their dance floor, hopping and tapping from podium to podium amongst the musicians, dancing up and down stairs and across the top of a piano.

But what makes this scene extra impressive is that they performed it without rehearsing it first and it was filmed in one take—no fancy editing room tricks to bring it all together. This fact was confirmed in a conversation with the brothers in a Chicago Tribune article in 1997, when they were both in their 70s:

"Would you believe that was one of the easiest things we ever did?" Harold told the paper.

"Did you know that we never even rehearsed that number?" added Fayard.

"When it came time to do that part, (choreographer) Nick Castle said: 'Just do it. Don`t rehearse it, just do it.' And so we did it—in one little take. And then he said: 'That's it—we can't do it any better than that.'"

Keep Reading Show less
True

We're redefining what normal means in these uncertain times, and although this is different for all of us, love continues to transform us for the better.

Love is what united Marie-Claire and David Archbold, who met while taking a photography class. "We went into the darkroom to see what developed," they joke—and after a decade of marriage, they know firsthand the deep commitment and connection romantic love requires.

All photos courtesy of Marie-Claire and David Archbold

However, their relationship became even sweeter when they adopted James: a little boy with a huge heart.

In the United States alone, there are roughly 122,000 children awaiting adoption according to the latest report from the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. While the goal is always for a child to be parented by and stay with their biological family, that is not always a possibility. This is where adoption offers hope—not only does it create new families, it gives birth parents an avenue through which to see their child flourish when they are not able to parent. For the right families, it's a beautiful thing.

The Archbolds knew early on that adoption was an option for them. David has three daughters from a previous marriage, but knowing their family was not yet complete, the couple embarked on a two-year journey to find their match. When the adoption agency called and told them about James, they were elated. From the moment they met him, the Archbolds knew he was meant to be part of their family. David locked eyes with the brown-eyed baby and they stared at each other in quiet wonder for such a long time that the whole room fell silent. "He still looks at me like that," said David.

The connection was mutual and instantaneous—love at first sight. The Archbolds knew that James was meant to be a part of their family. However, they faced significant challenges requiring an even deeper level of commitment due to James' medical condition.

James was born with congenital hyperinsulinism, a rare condition that causes his body to overproduce insulin, and within 2 months of his birth, he had to have surgery to remove 90% of his pancreas. There was a steep learning curve for the Archbolds, but they were already in love, and knew they were committed to the ongoing care that'd be required of bringing James into their lives. After lots of research and encouragement from James' medical team, they finally brought their son home.

Today, three-year-old James is thriving, filled with infectious joy that bubbles over and touches every person who comes in contact with him. "Part of love is when people recognize that they need to be with each other," said his adoptive grandfather. And because the Archbolds opted for an open adoption, there are even more people to love and support James as he grows.

This sweet story is brought to you by Sumo Citrus®. This oversized mandarin is celebrated for its incredible taste and distinct looks. Sumo Citrus is super-sweet, enormous, easy-to-peel, seedless, and juicy without the mess. Fans of the fruit are obsessive, stocking up from January to April when Sumo Citrus is in stores. To learn more, visit sumocitrus.com and @sumocitrus.

You know that feeling you get when you walk into a classroom and see someone else's stuff on your desk?

OK, sure, there are no assigned seats, but you've been sitting at the same desk since the first day and everyone knows it.

So why does the guy who sits next to you put his phone, his book, his charger, his lunch, and his laptop in the space that's rightfully yours? It's annoying!

Keep Reading Show less
via Seresto

A disturbing joint report by USA Today and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting found that tens of thousands of pets have been harmed by Seresto flea and tick collars. Seresto was developed by Bayer and is now sold by Elanco.

Since Seresto flea collars were introduced in 2012, the EPA has received incident reports of at least 1,698 pet deaths linked to the product. Through June 2020, the EPA has received over 75,000 incident reports relating to the collars with over 1,000 involving human harm.

The EPA has known the collars are harming humans and their pets but failed to tell the public about the dangers.

Keep Reading Show less