AppleMarch 18, 1870: The first wildlife refuge in the U.S. is approved by the California Legislature. Lake Merritt, a salt marsh attached to San Francisco Bay that is later dammed off, is the brainchild and namesake of Oakland Mayor Samuel Merritt.

March 18, 1845: John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, dies at age 70 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. He spent nearly half a century on what was then the American Frontier of Ohio and Indiana, preaching religion and planting apple trees.

March 18, 1925: The Tri-State Tornado stays on the ground for 219 miles, killing 695 people as it tears a path through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana. For nearly half its length, the storm cut a uniform swath about three-quarters of a mile wide, and at one point, its forward speed was measured at 73 miles per hour.

March 18, 1967: The oil tanker Torrey Canyon runs aground off England's Cornwall coast, fouling beaches and wetlands. Estimates range from 25 million to 36 million gallons of crude oil spilled. More than forty years later, scientists reported that oil could still be found in the soil and sand along on some Cornwall beaches.

Photo: s2art/Flickr

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

March 18
Johnny Appleseed dies, and Cornwall has an oil spill.