Nature Conservancy logoMay 5, 2002: Earl Shaffer dies at age 83. In 1948, Shaffer became the first person to "thru-hike" the entire 2,175 miles of the Appalachian Trail in a single season. He did the feat three more times, the last one at age 79.

May 5, 2003: Washington Post reporters David Ottaway and Joe Stephens begin a multi-part investigation of the Nature Conservancy (logo at right, laid over the BP logo), alleging that the $3 billion charity allowed perks and other benefits to top executives and board members. The Conservancy denies the charges, and is ultimately given a "four-star" rating from, a respected nonprofit watchdog.

May 5, 2005: The Newport Chemical Depot in Indiana begins incineration of its 300,000 gallons of VX nerve gas agent. The destruction, required by a global treaty on chemical weapons, concludes in 2008, and the depot shuts its doors in 2010.

Photo: Mike Licht,

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