Why that feeling you get when you see iconic American natural wonders is actually patriotic
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Sierra Club

In the far northeast corner of Alaska, with no roads going in or out, lay nearly 20 million acres of wildlife refuge.

It's the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the largest national wildlife refuge in the country.

Its goals are very specific: to conserve animals and plants in their natural diversity, to ensure a place for hunting and gathering activities, to protect water quality and quantity, and to fulfill international wildlife treaty obligations.


It's a beautiful place. And recently, Michael Brune of the Sierra Club was lucky enough to visit it.

During his trip up to the Arctic, he realized some important things.

All images via Sierra Club.

Contemplating the refuge, Michael says:

“One of the things that defines our country is the vast areas of magnificent wilderness that we have."


"These are part of what the American experience is."

"Protecting the Arctic is really about protecting and enhancing what it is that makes our country what it is."

America is made up of so many beautiful natural landscapes like this one.

The Grand Canyon. Niagara Falls. The redwood forests. These are just a few of the attractions that are not only cherished by us, but are admired by people all around the world.

Protecting them isn't just a noble cause, it's downright patriotic.

Why? Because these are a huge part of what makes America, well, American.

If this "America is our wilderness" theme sounds familiar, it's because you've probably heard it before. Henry David Thoreau spoke in 1862 of the importance of wild spaces left to decay and flourish.

When Michael Brune talks about wilderness, it's as if he is channelling some of America's great naturalists and most passionate environmentalists — like John Muir or Teddy Roosevelt, two founders of the Sierra Club.

Wilderness has been important to Americans for a long time. Hear Michael's voice in this video, tying our American identities to the wild places we protect:

Puts it in a kind of unique perspective, no?

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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4-year-old New Zealand boy and police share toys.

Sometimes the adorableness of small children is almost too much to take.

According to the New Zealand Police, a 4-year-old called the country's emergency number to report that he had some toys for them—and that's only the first cute thing to happen in this story.

After calling 111 (the New Zealand equivalent to 911), the preschooler told the "police lady" who answered the call that he had some toys for her. "Come over and see them!" he said to her.

The dispatcher asked where he was, and then the boy's father picked up. He explained that the kids' mother was sick and the boy had made the call while he was attending to the other child. After confirming that there was no emergency—all in a remarkably calm exchange—the call was ended. The whole exchange was so sweet and innocent.

But then it went to another level of wholesome. The dispatcher put out a call to the police units asking if anyone was available to go look at the 4-year-old's toys. And an officer responded in the affirmative as if this were a totally normal occurrence.

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