• picture
  • picture
PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of September 19, 1997

Facts about... discoveries by the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Transcript

CURWOOD: A hundred and ninety one years ago this week, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark returned from their famous trek into the uncharted West. They had left more than 2 years earlier under orders from President Thomas Jefferson to find an all-water route to the Pacific Ocean. They didn't find the Northwest Passage, but they did find plenty else. Believing that mastodons and other prehistoric creatures still roamed this vast uncharted territory, the President had told the 2 explorers to be on the lookout for unfamiliar animal and plant species. Lewis and Clark recorded detailed observations of 40 mammalian species, as well as more than 50 kinds of birds, 14 reptiles and amphibians, and 12 fish. Of these, nearly a quarter were new to Western science, including the mountain lion, the grizzly bear, and even the harbor seal. The men returned East, but it took 8 years to put their findings into print. By then, most people had lost interest. But not everyone. Trappers swarmed to the Missouri River when they learned of the beavers and other fur-bearing animals Lewis and Clark described there. And as a result, the fur trade flourished for decades. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.

 

 

Living on Earth wants to hear from you!

P.O. Box 990007
Prudential Station
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Telephone: 1-617-287-4121
E-mail: comments@loe.org

Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.

Newsletter
Living on Earth offers a weekly delivery of the show's rundown to your mailbox. Sign up for our newsletter today!

Major funding for Living on Earth is provided by the National Science Foundation.

Committed to healthy food, healthy people, a healthy planet, and healthy business.

Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live.

Kendeda Fund, furthering the values that contribute to a healthy planet.

The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.

Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.