Northern spotted owlJune 24, 1497: Thinking he's found a shortcut all the way to Asia, Italian explorer Giovanni Caboto sets foot in Canada. Caboto, commissioned by England and sailing under the Anglicized name John Cabot, landed in either Nova Scotia or Newfoundland. A lack of evidence in either location leaves the issue in doubt more than 500 years later.

June 24, 1966: Jordan's King Hussein establishes the Royal Society for the Conservation of Nature as one of the first environmental organizations in the Middle East.

June 24, 1990: The northern spotted owl (at right) is listed as a threatened species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The owl, which lives only in old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest, becomes a symbol and a flashpoint in the battle over the Endangered Species Act.

Photo: John and Karen Hollingsworth, USFWS/Wikimedia Commons

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.