The air is crisp in autumn. Daylight dwindles. Colors fade into soft shades of earth. Animals gather and store food. Southerners unpack chili recipes, sweaters and boots. Even without the calendar’s glaring reminder, the change of season is evident, and it signals an inexplicable inclination to prepare for colder months. But as October and the desire to roost set in, one creature in particular is busier than ever to get out. 

By the time cooler temperatures kiss the Gulf, the Eastern monarch butterfly is already halfway through its 2,500-mile journey, headed to a place it has never seen before. It’s this instinctual migration, from as far north as Canada to the isolated mountaintops of Mexico and back, that makes it one of the most studied…

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There’s no holiday that’s more quintessentially American than Thanksgiving. Learn how it has evolved from its religious roots as Spanish and English days of feasting and prayer to become the football-watching, parade-marching, gut-stuffing event it is today.

1541: Spanish Explorers Hold a Feast

English settlers weren’t the first to celebrate a thanksgiving feast on American soil. According to the Texas Society Daughters of the American Colonists, the very first thanksgiving was observed by Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Accompanied by 1,500 men in full armor, Coronado left Mexico City in 1540 and marched north in search of gold. As the company camped in Palo Duro Canyon in 1541, Padre Fray Juan de Padilla called for a feast of…

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