National GeographicNat Geo Wild


  • The world’s oldest known living tree is a scraggly-looking, 13 foot tall spruce in Sweden. It sprouted during the last Ice Age, about 9,550 years ago.

  • There are approximately 20,000 types of trees and roughly 1,000 of these grow in the United States.

  • Stretching up 379 feet, the world’s tallest tree is a California redwood named “Hyperion.” It was only discovered in 2006.

  • Coast redwood trees take 400 to 500 years to reach maturity!

  • Volunteers and staff at Muir Woods National Monument and Redwood Creek Nursery have planted roughly 20,000 plants along Redwood Creek since 2003!

  • In 2014, a violent storm off the Welsh coast stripped away sand to reveal the remnants of a 6,000 year old forest.

  • Resembling a large cactus the unusual Boojum tree is native to Baja California and gets its name from Lewis Carroll’s poem, “The Hunting of the Snark.”

  • There are approximately 240 species of magnolia trees and shrubs native to North and South America, East Asia and the Himalayas.

  • The motion by which arboreal animals swing from branch to branch is known as “brachiation”.

  • Weighing one ounce, the pygmy mouse lemur is the world’s smallest primate!


  • Sometimes called “the father of aviation,” Sir George Cayley designed the first successful glider to carry a human.  

  • Paper was invented in China around 105 AD. By the fourteenth century there were paper mills in Europe. 

  • The word “origami” comes from the Japanese words “oru” meaning fold, and kami, meaning “paper”.

  • In 2012, workers restoring a chapel in England found paper “planes” up in the eaves thought to be more than a hundred years old.

  • The first book about recreational paper folding came out in Japan in 1797, and included the iconic “crane” design.

  • The world’s largest paper aircraft was built by the students and employees of the Braunschweige Institute of Technology in Germany in 2013. It had a wing span of almost 60 feet weighed over 50 lbs. 

  • Harris hawks exhibit a behavior known as “stacking,” standing on top of one another when perching spots are scarce. Up to three birds can perch atop another one.

  • Flying fish have been recorded taking “flights” over the water stretching up to 1,300 feet.

  • Famous people with a fear of flying include Stanley Kubrick, Whoopi Goldberg , and John Madden.

  • Together, Chinese and US paper mills combine to make forty percent of the world’s paper and paperboard.

  • The Harris's hawk was named after Edward Harris, a friend of John J. Audubon.

  • Kitty Hawk in North Carolina is the site of the first powered airplane flight. In 1903 the Wright brothers tested their biplane “the Flyer” on sand dunes outside the town.


  • Rope predates shoelaces as a knot tying material by a wide margin. Evidence of string and rope making in Europe goes back 28,000 years.

  • The oldest leather shoe known to history is a lace-up moccasin-style design, that dates back 5,550 years and was discovered inside an Armenian cave in 2010.

  • When the mummified remains of Ötzi the Iceman were exhumed from the alpine glacier that buried him, researchers discovered he was wearing shoes with bear skin soles. 

  • The Inca kept records and sent messages from city to city using khipu, a form of communication based on the tying of knots.

  • Strands of DNA will occasionally create complex knots called catananes during the process of recombination or when attacked by a virus.

  • The granny knot, one of the most popular knots used in shoelace tying, is described in the 1867 publication “Sailor’s Word-Book” as “the natural knot tied by women or landsmen”.

  • Puma was the first major shoe manufacturer to offer footwear with Velcro fasteners, introducing Velcro sneakers in 1968. 

  • An estimated 75% of runners who wear shoes while jogging strike the ground with the heel of their foot first. Those who don’t tend to hit the ground with the front or middle of the foot.

  • When teaching young children to tie their shoes, “Professor Shoelace” Ian Fieggen suggests replacing slippery laces made of synthetics with ones made of cotton or other natural fibers because they are easier to hold and will stay tied longer.


  • Archeologists discovered what may be Europe’s oldest door while excavating a site in Zurich, Switzerland. Tree ring dating of the wood used to make the door puts its age at roughly 5,100 years old.

  • No English monarch has passed through the doors of the House of Commons since King Charles I tried to have five of its members arrested in 1642. During the annual State Opening of Parliament ritual, the doors of House of Commons are slammed in the face of Black Rod, the person who serves, more or less, as the monarch’s messenger.

  • The largest doors in the world are purported to be the entrances to NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building at Kennedy Space Center. These doors are 456 feet (or 45 stories) tall and take 45 minutes to open or close.

  • Philadelphia inventor Theophilus Van Kannel received the first U.S. patent for the revolving door in 1888. 

  • In New York City, the Buildings Department states that a revolving door should not, by law, exceed a speed of 15 rotations per minute.

  • The first monumental bronze doors in the United States were installed in 1863 in the Capitol building in Washington DC.

  • The locksmith industry prospered with the expansion of the economy, and personal wealth, brought about by the Industrial Revolution.

  • Most deadbolts found on commercial and residential doors are pin tumbler locks. It’s thought that the Egyptians invented an early prototype of the modern pin tumbler about 4,000 years ago. However it didn’t catch on until locksmith Linus Yale, Jr. patented one that operated with a small, flat key in 1861.

  • Hero of Alexandria is credited with designing one of the earliest automatic doors, in the first century AD. The system of counterbalanced, steam-powered weights opened the temple doors when priests made burnt offerings at the alter.