Contact: David Robinson, [email protected], (951) 282-3665
Leda Huta, [email protected], (202) 320-6467
Events Planned at Zoos, Nature Centers and other Venues
Washington, D.C. – On Friday, May 17, thousands of Americans are gathering to participate in Endangered Species Day events across the country, in recognition of our nation’s commitment to protecting and restoring our disappearing wildlife. This is the 14th annual international Endangered Species Day, which occurs on the third Friday of May, celebrating our wildlife and wild places.
“Endangered Species Day celebrates our declared national responsibility to our children and their children to save our vanishing wildlife and plants,” stated Leda Huta, Executive Director of the Endangered Species Coalition, primary sponsor of Endangered Species Day. “Bald eagles, sea turtles, wolves, and gray whales are just a fraction of the 1,600 species that the Endangered Species Act is saving every day.”
On May 17 (and throughout May) wildlife refuges, zoos, aquariums, parks, botanic gardens, schools, libraries, museums, and community groups will hold tours, exhibits, classroom discussions, habitat restoration projects, children’s programs, field trips and other activities. This year’s events range from California to Maine, from Florida to Oregon, Montana and Washington, D.C. and elsewhere throughout United States, as well as in the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, the Bahamas, New Zealand, Canada, Costa Rica, and other countries. Highlights include:
- Special presentations at the Rocky Mountain National Park, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, and other parks and refuges.
- Demonstrations, curator talks, tours and other activities at numerous zoos and aquariums, including the Endangered Species Weekend at Kansas City Zoo, Saving Animals from Extinction at Jenkinson’s Aquarium (NJ), and EdZOOcation: Endangered Species Day at Virginia Zoo.
- Pollinator garden plantings to expand monarch/native pollinator habitat in Montana, Washington, Idaho, California, Indiana, Maryland, Alabama, Virginia, Texas, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
- Interactive activities for individuals and families, such as the Rock Creek Park (Wash., D.C.) Cleanup; family night at the Ballard, Wash. Patagonia store; and Native Plant Workshop in San Diego.
- Nationwide “No Plastics” campaign, which encourages people to sign a pledge to give up straws and other single use plastics for the month of May.
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.”
In 2009 the Coalition began incorporating a national youth art contest into the Endangered Species Day event. Each year, nearly two thousand students of all ages submit illustrations of their favorite endangered species to contest judges. The top winners in each age group are selected for the publication in the annual Endangered Species Art calendar, and the grand prizewinner receives a special award. This year’s grand prize winner is Portland, Oregon 1st-grader, Sam Hess. Sam will be honored at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Congressional Reception in Washington, D.C. on May 8, and will receive a special art lesson from a professional wildlife artist, along with $50-worth of art supplies.
“We have a responsibility to our children and grandchildren to be good stewards of nature,” said Huta. “The Endangered Species Act is a declaration to the world that we will not rob our children of the opportunity to watch a humpback whale break through the surface of the ocean or to hear the cry of the bald eagle.”
More than 1,300 imperiled species of plants, fish and wildlife in the United States have been protected by the Endangered Species Act, and only ten have gone extinct, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Additionally, a 2012 study found that 90 percent of protected species are recovering at the pace expected in their scientific recovery plans. Signed by President Richard Nixon in 1973, public opinion research indicates that the Act receives strong, broad, public support.
In addition to the Endangered Species Coalition, the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service and 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, the North American Association for Environmental Education, Native Plant Conservation Campaign, Garden Clubs of America, Sierra Club, the National Association of Biology Teachers, the National Science Teachers Association, Earth Day Network, National Wildlife Federation, National Audubon Society and Defenders of Wildlife.
For more information on Endangered Species Day, including event locations and a variety of educational resource materials, visit www.endangeredspeciesday.org.