Contact: Susan Holmes, [email protected] (202) 329-1553
Tara Thornton, [email protected]  (207) 504-2705

Events Planned Across the U.S. Honoring Commitment to Wildlife Conservation 

Washington, D.C. – On Friday, May 17, thousands of Americans are participating in Endangered Species Day events and activities across the country, in recognition of our nation’s commitment to protecting and restoring our disappearing wildlife. This is the 19th annual Endangered Species Day, which occurs on the third Friday of May. 

This Endangered Species Day follows a year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act. The immensely popular, successful, and historic piece of legislation has been at the core of our country’s commitment to protecting wildlife and the natural world for our children and grandchildren since 1973. 99 percent of species protected under the Endangered Species Act have been saved from extinction, including the humpback whale, grizzly bear, and bald eagle. The Endangered Species Act is currently helping protect more than 2,000 species of plants and animals that are threatened or endangered. 

“Endangered Species Day honors our national responsibility to future generations to be good stewards of nature,” stated Susan Holmes, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition–the primary sponsor of Endangered Species Day. “The Endangered Species Act is our safety net for fish, plants and wildlife on the brink of extinction. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, gray whales still swim our coasts, peregrine falcons still soar our skies, and polar bears still roam the arctic tundra.”

Endangered Species Day was first created by U.S. Senate in 2006, when it unanimously designated May 11, 2006 as the first ever “Endangered Species Day,” to encourage “the people of the United States to become educated about, and aware of, threats to species, success stories in species recovery, and the opportunity to promote species conservation worldwide.”

The Endangered Species Act was passed because Americans believed then–as they do now–that protecting our wildlife is a moral imperative and a responsibility to future generations. It protects more than our fellow creatures; it also safeguards our nation’s environmental health and the heart of the American way of life. President Biden, a Senator in 1973, was an original co-sponsor of the Endangered Species Act, as well as a sponsor of the 2006 Senate resolution creating Endangered Species Day.

Congress, states, and towns across the country recognize Endangered Species Day as well. In Washington, Governor Jay Inslee signed a proclamation that, “recognizes May 17th, 2024 as Endangered Species Day and underscores that the people of Washington state recognize that a healthy planet is an integral part of our state’s economy, society and culture”.

On May 17th, and throughout the month, wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, parks, botanic gardens, schools, libraries, museums, and community groups will hold Endangered Species Day events. Some highlights include:

  • A nationwide chalk art contest, hosted by the Endangered Species Coalition;
  • Colorado Endangered Species Week, a week of free educational events and fun advocacy opportunities to protect the plant and animal species at risk in Colorado, including a discussion about boreal toads, a bat walk, and an auction, hosted by Rocky Mountain Wild and other organizations; 
  • Special exhibits and activities at zoos around the country as part of AZA’s Party for the Planet celebrations including the Staten Island Zoo, Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, the Saint Louis Zoo, and Zoo Atlanta; 
  • Pollinator garden plantings in states across the U.S. to create habitat for native bees, butterflies, and other pollinator species.
  • Community Science projects where volunteers use an app on their phone to find and record as many species as possible in a specific location. 

These and other events are listed in an event directory on the Endangered Species Day website

In addition to the Endangered Species Coalition, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), numerous conservation, education, community and youth organizations have also supported and participated in Endangered Species Day, including the Girl Scouts USA, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, the Humane Society of the United States, and many more. 

For more information on Endangered Species Day, including event locations and a variety of educational resource materials, visit


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