Celebrating Wildlife

Field of dandelions

Field of dandelions


Last Friday, May 15th, was ‘Endangered Species Day‘ in America. This event is aimed at encouraging people to learn about endangered species and what they can do to help them. Endangered Species Day is coordinated by StopExtinction.org, and is held on the third Friday of May every year. It was first celebrated in 2006, so this year sees the fourth edition. The event was created by the US Congress, this year a resolution was introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein encouraging schools to spend time teaching students about endangered species and conservation efforts, among other things. Senator Feinstein has been mentioned on this blog before in the context of another endangered creature, namely, Patricia Rattray.

Blue flower

Blue flower

StopExtinction.org had all sorts of events on their list for this year, educational, inspirational, hands-on, the lot. If you went to any of them I’d love to hear about it. Here’s a quick sampling.

The Wyoming Children’s Museum and Nature Center held presentations on how even one degree of warming can affect wildlife (and what you can do about it). Few climatologists today would say we can avoid one degree of warming, so this is setting the bar low. Even one degree can cause a great deal of harm to ecosystems, and it’s already happening. If you’re in any doubt about that, read these articles about Cedar Canyon Road and Aransas National Wildlife Refuge from The Clade.

Magpie

Magpie

For a more leisurely approach, there were events like the birdwalk on the Tijuana river in California, where you could see and learn about the birds that live there. This is actually a weekly event, so if you missed it last weekend you can go another time. Check the Tijuana Estuary Visitor Center calendar for details of all their upcoming events.

Then there’s at least one activity that can only be described as boring. That is to say, it takes place in the town of Boring, Oregon. No, I’m not making this up, the town of Boring really exists. Boring recently began a project to restore some parkland, and if you were there on Friday you could have participated in helping to restore the Boring Trail Station Trailhead Park (a note to the stopextinction siteadmins, you have broken links on that page). You can find out all you want to know about this project at their own webside, BoringStation.com.

The StopExtinction.org website has practical advice on things you can do to protect wildlife near you. They list some very simple things, like driving slower to reduce the chance of impact with animals. You’ll probably save yourself money that way too, I did. Another simple thing you can do is to plant native plant species in your garden. Many insects are poorly adapted to non-native plants, so planting native species can encourage them, and the birds and other animals that feed on them.

Butterflies

Butterflies

Coincidentally, across the Atlantic, ‘Fete de la Nature‘ took place in France at practically the same time. This is an all-weekend event, and again there are a variety of events. It’s a year younger than Endangered Species Day, having started in 2007, but boasts an impressive 300,000 participants in the past. Among the events taking place near me there was a chance to see chamois at the Col de la Faucille.

Of course, by now, those events have been and gone. Not to worry, there’s still plenty of opportunity to learn about the nature near you, endangered or otherwise. Many of the events organised for either Endangered Species Day or Fete de la Nature were organised by clubs or societies, who have an ongoing program of events. If you look them up, you might find something interesting. If they were one-off events, maybe you can contact the organisers anyway, and ask them if they plan to repeat it? If they get a demand, they might just do that.

If that doesn’t lead to something, why not just go out there and take a look for yourself? There’s plenty to see, and if you’re handy with a camera you can always find something worth photographing. Some of the best blogs out there are by nature-lovers, take a look at “Chipper’s Alley” in Oregon, “Everything is Permuted” in England, “2nd star to the right, straight on till morning…” in Malaysia, or “My birdpics” in Sweden for some of my personal favourites. Have fun!

dandelion flowers

dandelion flowers

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3 Responses [lang_en]to[/lang_en][lang_fr]pour[/lang_fr] “Celebrating Wildlife”

  1. Sanna Says:

    Thanks for the mention! =)

    It’s quite surprising to see how little people know about endangered spices in the area where they live. Most people know of Siberian Tigers and the Giant Panda but few knows about the wildlife that’s around them.

    This is the second year that we have a “frog project”. We move frog eggs that has ended up on dry land into water again and take some of them home to watch them develop into frogs. People are allowed to temporarily move the eggs and the tadpoles but they have to put all (future) frogs back where the eggs and/or tadpoles were found since they are protected, and we are doing just that. I have about 100 tadpoles swimming around in an aquarium on my desk right now. =)

    People just don’t understand that the frogs are just as important as the tigers and the pandas and it’s a shame really since they are just as important.

  2. Tony Says:

    You’re welcome!

    I think if more people realised just how close to home some of the endangered species are, and how easy it is to do something about it, they might act. I love the idea of saving eggs and releasing frogs, that sounds like great fun. I imagine kids would love it too, it’s got to be a great way to teach them about nature. Any chance you’ll post some photos sometime?

  3. Sanna Says:

    Our kids are teenager so their interest is rather moderate, there are other things pulling them. But, almost every adult that comes to visit us ends up with their nose stuck to the aquarium and sharing their own frog and tadpole experiences. =)

    It’s 2 weeks since we brought them home and I’ve posted photos of their first 2 weeks now.
    http://minafoton.blogspot.com/2009/05/grodornas-forsta-2-veckor-frogs-first-2.html