May 16

Happy Endangered Species Day 2008

Today is Endangered Species Day! To celebrate, there are more than 90 events in 28 States plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico planned. (see full list of events). Perhaps you even saw Jack Hanna mention it on the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday.

Here is the national press release on today’s celebration:

Association of Zoos and Aquariums – Endangered Species Coalition
Girl Scouts of the USA – National Association of Biology Teachers
National Wildlife Federation – Zoological Society of San Diego
Federation of Fly Fishers – Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism
National Audubon Society – Sierra Club – Defenders of Wildlife
Center for Biological Diversity – Center for Native Ecosystems
Earthjustice – Environmental Defense Fund
Contact: Leda Huta, Endangered Species Coalition: 202-320-6467
Steve Olson, Association of Zoos and Aquariums: 301-562-0777 x249
María Cabán, Girl Scouts of the USA: 212-852-5727
Christina Simmons, San Diego Zoo: 619-685-3291
Tony Iallonardo, National Audubon Society: 202-861-2242 x 3042
Cat Lazaroff, Defenders of Wildlife: 202-682-9400
Kristina Johnson, Sierra Club: 415-977-5619
Josh Pollock, Center for Native Ecosystems: 303-546-0214
Leah Elwell, Federation of Flyfishers: 406-222-9369
Susan Holmes, Earthjustice: 202-667-4500

America Celebrates Endangered Species Day
On May 16th, Americans Celebrate Commitment to Protecting
Our Nation’s Wildlife Heritage

Washington, DC — On May 16, America celebrates Endangered Species Day and our nation’s commitment to protecting endangered species and their habitat with events across the country.

“Endangered Species Day is a celebration of our nation’s wildlife heritage such as the American bald eagle, gray wolf, gray whale, pacific salmon and many other wildlife, fish and plants,” said Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition. “We owe it to our children and grandchildren to leave behind a legacy of protecting endangered species and the special places they call home.”

On Endangered Species Day, parks, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, botanical gardens, museums, libraries, schools, agencies, businesses, conservation organizations, religious organizations and community groups hold events to highlight the everyday actions that people can take to help protect our nation’s wildlife heritage.

“Endangered Species Day gives us a chance to celebrate America’s commitment to protecting our unique wildlife,” said Steve Olson, Vice President of Government Affairs at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. “Zoos and aquariums across the country will hold events to educate people about how they can help protect endangered species.”

“Endangered Species Day provides our members here and abroad another opportunity to take action to protect the wildlife that share the planet with them,” said María L. Cabán, Project Manager, Environmental & Outdoor Program, Girl Scouts of the USA. “It is essential for girls to learn the importance of, and work toward, conserving biodiversity so that they may become stewards of the Earth.”

Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the San Diego Zoo, the Bronx Zoo, the Bar Harbor Whale Museum, the Port Defiance Zoo & Aquarium in Tacoma, WA, the International Wildlife Film Festival and over 90 venues in 28 states are organizing events to celebrate Endangered Species Day.

“Endangered Species Day asks everyone in the United States to take a day to contemplate the natural world and the wildlife that inhabit it.” said Allison Alberts, Director of Conservation and Research at the San Diego Zoo. “At the San Diego Zoo we are using May 16, 2008 to highlight concerns about the effect of climate change on endangered species.”

“Endangered Species Day provides biology teachers with an opportunity to engage their students in applying the concepts of ecology and the interconnectedness of life learned in the classroom,” said Pat Waller, President of the National Association of Biology Teachers.

“Our Jewish tradition recognizes that humanity is dependent on the rich diversity of life on earth. Endangered Species Day is an ideal time to recommit ourselves to the caretaking of all species not only for their survival, but for our own as well.” From Mark Pelavin, Associate Director of the Religious Action Center.

One reason for the nation’s success in protecting wildlife is the passage of the federal Endangered Species Act 35 years ago. The Endangered Species Act has successfully prevented the extinction of hundreds of species.

“Across the country, America’s symbol, the Bald Eagle has made a remarkable recovery thanks to the Endangered Species Act,” said Betsy Loyless with the National Audubon Society. “The Bald Eagle is now both a symbol of America and a symbol of conservation and sound stewardship of our natural heritage. It is fitting that Americans take a patriotic moment on Endangered Species Day to appreciate the bald eagle and the natural heritage that is such an important part of what makes America great.”

“We should pause on this day to celebrate our nation’s commitment to conserve and recover endangered plants and animals. From the recovery of our national symbol, the bald eagle, to the return of the California condor, Americans have made great strides in the recovery of our nation’s treasured wildlife,” said Rodger Schlickeisen, president of Defenders of Wildlife.

Endangered Species Day will raise awareness about the ongoing threats to endangered species such as habitat loss and global warming.

“As people take time today to celebrate the success of the Endangered Species Act, we must also recognize the unprecedented threats facing wildlife brought by global warming,” said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. “We need to take swift action to address global warming if we want to continue our legacy of protecting wildlife for future generations.”

“As global warming poses new threats to our wildlife, the Endangered Species Act becomes more important than ever. Today is a good time to recognize the achievements of the keystone environmental law that is responsible for pulling the bald eagle back from the brink of extinction. Today is also a good time to commit to protecting the integrity of the law so we can continue to save threatened wildlife like polar bears,” said Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director.

“As we celebrate the success of the Endangered Species Act, we also look toward the challenges brought by global warming and the opportunity to conserve the polar bear, walrus and many species of penguin for our children and grandchildren,” said Kieran Suckling, executive director of the Center for Biological Diversity.

“We should all give thanks that America had the foresight to take the steps necessary to ensure that our children and grandchildren will continue to be thrilled by our nation’s unique wildlife,” said Michael Bean, Chair of the Wildlife Program at Environmental Defense Fund. “With more than 1,800 species worldwide now listed as threatened and endangered, and thousands more threatened with extinction unless they are protected, America’s commitment to protecting wildlife is more important than ever.”

Endangered Species Day also provides an opportunity to learn more about the wide variety of actions that individuals and groups can take to help protect our nation’s endangered wildlife, fish and plants, including building backyard wildlife habitat, protecting open space, and supporting local efforts to clean up rivers, parks, and other natural areas.

More information and a list of events can be found at www.EndangeredSpeciesDay.org

The Endangered Species Coalition is a national network of hundreds of conservation, scientific, sporting, religious, humane, business and community groups across the country. Through public education, scientific information and citizen participation, we work to protect our nation’s wildlife and wild places. The ESC is a non-partisan coalition working with concerned citizens and decision makers from all parties to protect endangered species and habitat.
www.stopextinction.org

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