What an extraordinary three months! Since joining Endangered Species Coalition in September, I have seen up close the passion and expertise of our staff and the effect that ESC can have on the recovery and restoration of wildlife across the US. I cannot thank you enough for your support.
It is a pivotal time for wildlife. Globally, we have lost nearly 70% of vertebrate animals since 1970, and in the USA, roughly one in five animals is at risk of extinction. That is why the Endangered Species Coalition is working in communities across the US to build a national movement for biodiversity.
Today we are launching our inaugural newsletter! Below, you will read some of the many stories about how our staff and coalition partners are using bold and creative strategies to advocate for species. Next month in Colorado, we are celebrating the return of the wolf– but our advocacy is not stopping with “paws on the ground.” We are mounting an education campaign to ensure that the public and policymakers continue to understand and value wolves. In Arizona, we are working with community volunteers, including teens, to plant pollinator gardens. You will also learn how our Activist Training Lab teaches advocates to be effective biodiversity campaigners and find out about our new online organizing tools. You can look forward to receiving these newsletters on a quarterly basis.
Finally, December 28 marks the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act — our nation’s most important tool for protecting wildlife — and we are celebrating! This year, we have worked with our partners to paint street murals in cities across the country, bring over 100 activists to Washington, DC, and we have recognized three of our member organizations, Sea Turtle Conservancy, Pollinator Extinction Prevention Program in HI, and Bat Conservation International, for their leadership in protection endangered species.
These are challenging times for wildlife, but there are so many reasons for hope. 99% of all species protected by the ESA are still with us; wolf packs will howl in Colorado for the first time since the 1930s, and people like you care. Thank you for being part of the Endangered Species Coalition Team.
Susan Holmes, Executive Director
The Howl is Coming Back to Colorado
Ryan Sedgeley, Southern Rockies Representative
This holiday season, the howl of wolves will return home to the heart of Colorado. When their paws hit the ground, it will be the first step in recovering a healthy wild wolf population to the state. After years of advocating for the wolves’ return, Endangered Species Coalition will continue our efforts to ensure that people in Colorado know that peaceful coexistence with wolves is possible. We will continue to educate the public about the value of wolves and guard against anti-wolf misinformation that has advanced wolf-killing policies in the Northern Rockies.
The Endangered Species Coalition is working on the western slope of Colorado to secure a welcoming home for wolves for the long term. To achieve this, we have been meeting with leaders and policymakers to make sure they understand how we got here, what resources are available for ranchers, and how wolf-watching could bring additional sources of revenue to rural areas and outfitters. We also hold information sessions for the public and stakeholder groups to answer questions and ensure people understand how much has gone into the process and the resources available to those impacted. Finally, we are watching the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) Commission to make sure they continue to support wolves and everyone’s wildlife values, not just hunters and outfitters.
With public and state leadership, Colorado can be a shining example of wolf reintroduction done right. Read more….
Endangered Species Coming to a Wall Near You
John Rosapepe, Pacific Northwest Representative
A three-story high tiger overlooks lower Manhattan while in Cerrillos, New Mexico, Mayahuel, the Aztec goddess of fertility, emerges from an agave plant between Mexican long-nosed bats. These are a couple of the ESA@50 murals across the country that Endangered Species Coalition helped bring to life.
This year, in conjunction with the ESA@50, artists painted street murals that spotlighted regional ecological and cultural diversity within the United States. These murals gave a face to local threatened and endangered animals and plants and highlighted the loss of biodiversity and the accelerating extinction of species.
Artists at some sites chose to highlight individual species, including the Eastern Black Rail in Washington, DC. Muralist Yulia Avgustinovich, creator of the Washington DC painting, said, “I want to bring nature back into our concrete cities. With my art, I try to convey its complexity and its beautiful essence.”
In St Petersburg, Florida, the mural honors native mangrove forests and their abundant wildlife, and in Portland, the painting celebrates the beauty of Oregon’s native fish, wildlife, pollinators, and plants. The Dona Ana, New Mexico mural highlights the Boreal Owl, Gila Monster, and two endangered fish species – the Chihuahua Chub and Roundtail Chub. The ESA@50 mural page features photographs and videos of the artists at work, their paintings, and how communities interact with the featured species.
Celebrating 50 Years of Saving Species
Tara Thornton, Director of Institutional Engagement
Late in 2022, Endangered Species Coalition brought together our member groups to begin working on a year-long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA passed on December 28, 1973, with bi-partisan support and is still celebrated publicly as favorable legislation that has saved hundreds of species from the brink of extinction.
Since the beginning of 2023, Endangered Species Coalition and our allies have showcased ESA@50 in various creative ways to increase visibility and knowledge about the ESA and its accomplishments. The ESA@50 team held several activities and events throughout the year, including Career Panels, Mural Projects, a Fly-in, an Award Reception, a dedicated website, a highlight video, an Endangered Species Essay Contest, and much more. This year’s Endangered Species Day and our Annual Top Ten report also followed the theme of ESA@50. Throughout our planning, the team has engaged with and supported communities and organizations of diverse backgrounds committed to conservation and biodiversity. Read more…
|Endangered Species Coalition Member Groups Saving Species
Tara Thornton, Director of Institutional Engagement
The Endangered Species Coalition’s strength lies in our member organizations’ collective power. The conservation community recognized three remarkable groups at the ESA@50 reception for their dedication and leadership in protecting endangered species. These groups have made tremendous progress in protecting endangered species.
Sea Turtle Conservancy: is the world’s oldest sea turtle conservation and research organization. Since 1959, the organization’s research programs have yielded much of what is now known about sea turtles and the threats they face, to improve conservation and recovery of these marine and coastal species. The Sea Turtle Conservancy has a strong focus on research and public education. They are working to understand and combat significant threats to sea turtles, such as impacts on beach lighting, coastal armoring, international harvest for consumption, and bycatch in fisheries. They have worked to educate the public on the importance of sea turtles and how individuals can help protect them. More information: https://conserveturtles.org/
Pollinator Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP): No plant has gone extinct since PEPP’s inception. The Hawaii PEPP is a highly successful program that focuses on emergency actions, captive propagation, and reintroduction efforts for those species closest to the brink of extinction — Hawaiian plants that have 50 or fewer individuals left in the wild. More than 200 of the rarest plant species in the world receive emergency-room actions under this program. PEPP has already saved dozens of species from extinction and helped reintroduce more than 110 species into native forests.
PEPP employs unique methods in their work, such as; rock-climbing, rappelling, and using drones to locate and collect species. More information: http://www.pepphi.org/
Bat Conservation International: working with a diverse network of partners to bring the federally endangered Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptocerids nivalis) back from extinction. By protecting roosts and increasing nectar forage resources along their migratory pathway from the Southwest U.S. to Mexico, their initiatives work at a landscape scale to protect and restore healthy, functioning, biodiverse ecosystems that support local livelihoods through community enterprises and sustainable agriculture.
The Agave Restoration Initiative, a binational collaboration of diverse partners, works to save bats, restore agave corridors, and support communities in sustainable agricultural and business practices. More information: https://www.batcon.org/
Check out our new YouTube channel: @ActivistTrainingLab
Sarah Starman, National Grassroots Organizer
Whether you’re new to grassroots organizing or a seasoned campaigner, our @ActivistTrainingLab YouTube channel is made for you! You can explore dozens of short videos on the YouTube channel covering fundamental organizing and advocacy skills, like campaign planning, power-mapping, strategy, creative tactics, recruitment, and leadership development. Through these videos, we hope to help you build new skills and use those skills to launch and win grassroots campaigns.
One million plant and animal species are facing extinction. We urgently need elected officials, government agencies, corporations, and institutions to pass bold policies that meet the extinction crisis at the scale of the problem. Grassroots organizing is one of the most powerful tools in our toolbox for securing the bold policies we need. Check out the @ActivistTrainingLab YouTube channel to learn about using grassroots organizing to create transformative change for wildlife and wild places.
These short videos are training that you can do anytime, anywhere, at your own pace, for free. Take advantage of this resource and other training services provided by the Activist Training Lab by visiting https://www.youtube.com/@ActivistTrainingLab or https://www.endangered.org/activist-training-lab/.
Read and Share the New Top 10 Report on December 6th
Derek Goldman, National Field Director and Northern Rockies Field Representative
On December 6th, Endangered Species Coalition will release our 2023 Top 10 Endangered Report. The report is released at a great time of year to share stories of inspiration with others you know and share your passion for protecting endangered species. Beginning in 2008, Endangered Species Coalition began compiling an annual “Top 10 Endangered” report—with a different theme each year. Our member groups nominate species for the reports, and a committee of distinguished scientists reviews the nominations and chooses the finalists.
This year’s report is entitled Ten Stories of Hope: The Endangered Species Act at 50, and it tells inspiring stories of wildlife conservationists using different strategies to protect and recover imperiled fish, birds, plants, and mammals in the US. From engineering innovative bat houses in Miami to botanists rappelling cliffs as they hunt for rare plants in Hawaii, this report showcases the people, agencies, and organizations who are working to recover species the Act protects, including the Florida grasshopper sparrow, Chinook salmon, and the sea otter, to name a few. Previous years’ reports are also available on our website.
Mobilizing Activists Put Pressure on Oregon to END Wildlife Killing Contests
John Rosapepe, Pacific Northwest Representative
This September, the Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission banned wildlife killing contests in the state. This makes Oregon the ninth state to put an end to these cruel killing derbies. The Endangered Species Coalition’s Pacific Northwest Representative testified twice in support of this ban and we mobilized hundreds of Oregon activists to speak out.
Wildlife killing contests serve no scientific or management purpose and disrupt wildlife families and communities. Endangered and threatened species–such as gray wolves–can mistakenly be killed in these contests, which often target coyotes.
These events do not provide a public good, and an extreme minority of hunters support them. And they are not an effective management tool. Researchers have found that coyotes increase their birth rates in response to mass killing–resulting in greater numbers. These events do not prevent conflicts with livestock growers either. In short, there are no benefits and many costs to these events.
Oregon joins Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Vermont, and Washington in banning wildlife killing contests. The New York state legislature passed a bipartisan bill in June outlawing killing contests in the state. That bill is waiting for Governor Kathy Hochul’s signature.
Endangered Species Coalition launched a Pollinator Protector Project in 2016 with a handful of milkweed plantings for Monarch habitat in California. We now partner with local groups in 24 states and Mexico to increase critical native plant and pollinator habitat. Below is information from one of the teams Endangered Species Coalition partnered with last year.
The Arivaca Pollinator Pathway Project
Emily Bishton, project coordinator
In early 2023, a team of community volunteers came together, including members of the Arivaca Library Teen Advisory Board (TAB), to create a linked pathway of habitat gardens for butterflies, bees, and other pollinators in the small village of Arivaca, AZ. In addition to growing pollinator gardens, this project is growing local knowledge on how to provide good habitat for pollinators through its educational signage, brochures, free. classes, a mural, and more.
We are very grateful to the Endangered Species Coalition for providing project funding through their Pollinator Partners Program, and to the TAB teens who have raised funds through making nature crafts! This has enabled the volunteer team to build raised-bed gardens filled with native flowering shrubs and perennials at five local businesses this year and to add more native perennials to the library and dancehall gardens, which were all instantly visited by multiple species of pollinators.
In late summer, the Endangered Species Coalition, ESA@50, and the Arivaca Dancehall funded the creation of a beautiful mural to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The mural wraps around a building in the middle of the dancehall’s pollinator garden and depicts bats, butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and other desert wildlife in their natural habitat.
Plans are to build at least two more pollinator gardens on main street in the coming year, along with several large pollinator beds inside the town’s new public park. Who knows how far this pollinator pathway will lead!
We are so grateful to the Endangered Species Coalition, ESA@50, and the Arivaca community for supporting this project. For more information, photos, and lists of the pollinator plants that thrive in this high-elevation desert region, visit the Arivaca Pollinator Pathway website.