August 17, 2018
Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

It all started with one tree.

In 1979, Padma Shri Jadav "Molai" Payeng came across several snakes on Majuli Island in Assam, India. Flooding brought the snakes to the island, but due to erosion, there wasn't any shade and the snakes died from the heat. Payeng was 16 at the time, and he decided he was going to do something so this never happened again: He planted a sapling, and continued to plant one a day for the next 35 years.

Majuli is the world's largest river island, and 39 years after Payeng planted his first sapling, the trees cover more than 1,360 acres. Named Molai Forest in his honor, it's about 1.6 times larger than Central Park, Travel and Leisure reports, and has several thousand varieties of trees. Elephants, Bengal tigers, rhinos, wild boars, and reptiles call Molai Forest home, and Payeng wants to plant 5,000 more acres. Payeng, who received one of India's highest civilian awards in 2015, arrives in the forest at 5 a.m. every day to care for the trees. He also teaches children how to care for trees, and pushes for more environmental protections. Catherine Garcia

August 16, 2018

During Tuesday night's Detroit Tigers game, Travis Blackwell started what he called a "line of awesomeness."

When a foul ball flew into the stands, his dad caught it and tossed it to Blackwell. The 10-year-old then ran down to the row of seats where Michael Ogden, 7, was sitting with his family. Blackwell handed the ball to Ogden, because "I wanted to make his day," he told CBS News. Ogden was there celebrating his birthday, and grinned from ear to ear. He then went up to where Blackwell was sitting, and shook his hand.

Blackwell said that a few years ago, an adult gave him a foul ball at a game, and he wanted to pay it forward. Ogden thought what Blackwell did was "awesome," and when he was at Wednesday's Detroit Tigers game, when a ball came flying over to the stands and a man threw it to him, Ogden passed it along to a girl sitting behind him. "It was her first baseball she has ever had," Ogden said. Just like that, Ogden kept the "line of awesomeness" going. Catherine Garcia

August 15, 2018

July 16 was a big day for Jeremiah Dickerson.

Not only was the 4-year-old adopted by his foster parents, Jordan and Cole Dickerson, but he also got to announce to the world that he's going to be a big brother, with his sister due in January. "It was an emotional day," his mom, Jordan, told Good Morning America. "In the end, Jeremiah has blessed our family more than we could ever imagine."

Jordan Dickerson is a pediatric nurse at Le Bonheur Children's Hospital in Memphis, and that's where she met Jeremiah in January 2017. She "fell in love with his smile and joy," she said. He needed to go to a foster home where the parents knew how to take care of his tracheal tube, and Jordan said she couldn't shake the feeling that he was supposed to be with her family. Jeremiah was placed with another foster family, but he soon returned to the hospital, and Jordan and Cole knew they couldn't let him go this time.

They went through training for foster parents and background checks, and in June 2017, Jeremiah was living in their home. A year later, surrounded by friends and family, he was officially adopted, and outside of the Tennessee courthouse he posed for photos holding a picture of his sister's sonogram behind a sign reading, "Today I became a Dickerson. Up next ... big brother." He said he already plans on teaching his sister how to dance and play basketball and baseball. Catherine Garcia

August 14, 2018

It's a wedding that a Dover, New Jersey, couple and the Bogota Police Department won't soon forget.

On Saturday evening, bride and groom Sabrina Torens and Connor Reilly got caught in a massive storm while driving to their wedding. Their car became stuck in an area of Bogota prone to flooding, and they called for help. Officer Michael Laferrera responded, and got his car as close as possible to the stranded vehicle. He climbed on the roof, then reached out to Torens, who had climbed out of her sunroof.

Torens was in her wedding dress, which managed to stay dry throughout the entire ordeal. Reilly scrambled out behind her, and the couple went on to continue their wedding festivities. "It was definitely a first for my career and [Laferrera's] career," Sgt. Geoffrey Cole told NorthJersey.com. Catherine Garcia

August 13, 2018

Grant the fish made quite a few friends this summer.

The Carr Fire has been burning in Northern California for several weeks, and earlier this month, Grant's family had to evacuate, leaving him behind in their home. Cal Fire shared on its Facebook page that Grant's young owner was told by her father that Grant probably did not survive the fire, but "both were in for quite a shock when they returned home to a note and well-fed fish!"

Cal Engine 1489 left a note next to Grant's tank, letting the family know that they had been inside and "fed your fish a few sprinkles." Underneath that message, someone from the Corning Police Department wrote that they also fed Grant, and wished the family "good luck." Cal Fire praised the firefighters and officers for taking care of Grant, and also reminded Facebook followers to always have an evacuation plan for pets. Catherine Garcia

August 12, 2018

It started as a whim, and turned into an opportunity all artists dream about.

University of Miami student Matthew Hanzman is studying political science, but decided nine months ago that he wanted to "give this art thing a good shot," he told The Miami Herald. The 21-year-old began painting, and now more than 70 of his pieces will be on display at the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, where he is the first painter in the Emerging Artists Showcase.

Miami is "eclectic" and "vibrant," Hanzman said, and he told The Miami Herald his artwork "reflects Miami's diversity." One piece, "Forever," is an acrylic on canvas that "demonstrates graffiti, street culture that's not typically associated with fine art," he said. "My art isn't instantly gratifying, it slowly reveals itself to the viewer." Hanzman is about to start his senior year at the University of Miami, and while he's not giving up his political science studies, he's now "completely obsessed with art," he said. "I hope to keep this going in the future." Catherine Garcia

August 9, 2018

Some teachers may be dreading the first day of school, but this florist wants to make it a little bit brighter.

Sandi Williams, who owns a flower shop called April's Rose Garden in Walnut Grove, Georgia, delivered 150 bouquets to her local elementary school on Tuesday, WSBTV reports. That's one arrangement for every teacher and staffer at Walnut Grove Elementary to welcome them into a new school year.

Williams worked for days to prepare the arrangements, her co-workers tell the station. Walnut Grove was sure to thank Williams for her "thoughtful and encouraging" gift, the Good News Network says. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 8, 2018

Cindy and Zac Edwards of Orange Beach, Alabama, were taking their first photos as husband and wife when they were interrupted.

A woman ran up and told them there was a young man struggling in the water, having a hard time getting back to shore. The surf was strong and first responders were rescuing someone else, so Cindy Edwards urged her husband, a former lifeguard, to help the teen. He jumped into the water, and said the waves beat him and the teenager up. The first responders finished helping the other person on the beach, and assisted Zac Edwards and the young man when they made it back to the sand.

The teen was visiting from Mississippi, and the couple said they've spoken with his family, and while he's a little sore, he was able to attend his first day of school. "It's a story to tell," Zac Edwards told Fox 10. "I told her, 'The grandkids are going to have a story to tell.'" As for his new wife, she feels like she hit the jackpot. "Hero and hubby in the same day," she said. Catherine Garcia

See More Speed Reads