Today is the 10th annual Endangered Species Day, where we celebrate wildlife and wild places. This is a time to applaud conservation progress and to take action to continue that progress.
Many people have organized events at parks, schools, and museums around the country. Check out the 2015 Endangered Species Day Event Directory for an event near you.
If you can’t attend an event, why not celebrate your own personal way?
Read a book on conservation and biodiversity such as Animal Investigators: How the World’s First Forensics Lab Is Solving Crimes and Saving Endangered Species by Laurel A. Neme or The Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson.
Watch the award-winning film DamNation. “This powerful film odyssey across America explores the sea change in our national attitude from pride in big dams as engineering wonders to the growing awareness that our own future is bound to the life and health of our rivers.” ~DamNationfilm.com
Plant a native wildflower garden
Hang a bat house
Teach a kid about endangered wildlife by reading Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? by Bill Martin, Jr. and Eric Carle or Can We Save Them? Endangered Species of North America by David Dobson
Ban personal use of pesticides or plastic bags
Donate money or time to a cause like Endangered Species Coalition
Clean up beaches, woods, parks, playgrounds, or other local habitat
Visit a zoo, aquarium, or natural history museum to learn more about the endangered wildlife in your area.
How I’m spending the day: I’m planting a butterfly garden, complete with milkweed (Asclepias), the one plant Monarch butterflies need to survive. Their caterpillars only eat milkweed plants, and monarch butterflies need milkweed to lay their eggs.
Monarchs are threatened by habitat loss and climate change. They overwinter in mountain forests in Mexico, but humans are cutting down the forests due to agriculture and tourism needs. In the US, herbicide/pesticide use is killing milkweed.
Here is the space I’m preparing:
My butterfly garden doesn’t look like much now.
But the transformation looks really good in my imagination!
I’m almost done weeding, and then I’ll begin planting the milkweed. I will also include a birdbath, a butterfly house, wildflowers, and other bee- and butterfly-friendly plants. This will be a haven not just for Monarchs, but wildlife in general.
Yes, even snakes.
Endangered Species Day is one important day to kick off an endless string of important days where we do our part to protect wildlife and wild places. What we start today shouldn’t end today. It should have lasting effects.
In our hectic lives, it’s easy to feel too overwhelmed and not participate. Don’t look at this as a huge task. Do a little something today, with the promise of doing a little something tomorrow, and the next day and so on.
Even something as small as picking up litter in the playground where you take your kids can make a world of difference.
What will you do for endangered species today?