Planning For International Penguin Day

How will you celebrate International Penguin Day this year?  We’re giving you about three weeks notice to make your plans and act (waddle) accordingly on this most sacred of penguin holidays. So what is International Penguin Day and when did it begin?  About 20 years ago I read an article in the Science Times about researchers at McMurdo Station in Antarctica who noticed that every year, like clockwork, on April 25th a colony of Adelie penguins returned from months at sea to the same spot on the same day every year.  These scientists and their support crew marked it on the calendar and would make a day of it, gathering near the shore to welcome the penguins who would arrive by the hundreds right on schedule every year.  It became almost an official holiday at McMurdo known as to the staff as Penguin Day.  So when I read the article in The Times, I became intrigued and contacted some folks I knew who had worked at McMurdo Station.  They confirmed and expanded on the story and then passed I it along in an article in the print version of the Penguin Post in 1997.  In the article I gave it a bit more of an important title calling it World Penguin Day since I felt Antarctica is an international place.  Within a couple of years with the dawn of the internet word spread and it took on a life of its own to the point where it’s now an internationally celebrated niche holiday.  So, did Penguin Place usher in International (World) Penguin Day?  Not really. The very cool Adelie penguins around McMurdo Research Station did, and their legendary exact timetable of migration that delighted the staff at the base was all it needed.  By the time the Penguin Post got hold of the story it was already widely known from the N.Y. Times Science Section story, but obviously a write up in the Penguin Post (read by penguin lovers around the world) certainly didn’t hurt spread the word.   So, you now have three weeks to prepare yourself to have a wonderful World Penguin Day.  What should you do?  Have fun and try to do something penguinish, whether dressing in black and white, wearing penguin apparel and / or accessories, eating fish (healthy), waddling every now and then, watching a penguin video (be it a nature film, animated or something like Mr. Popper’s Penguins), read about penguins, visit penguins at your local zoo or aquarium, or maybe treating yourself by buying up hordes of penguin merchandise.

Adelie penguins arriving on the Antarctic mainland every year on April 25th.

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