8 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day
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Endangered Species Day rolls around the third Friday of every May, inviting people to learn more about the fascinating creatures that share our world. It also challenges them to consider their habits and how they can make the planet more sustainable for all its inhabitants.
You might not get the day off of work, but you can still find little ways to make the occasion special. It does fall on a Friday, after all — maybe you can leave a little early to indulge in one of these ideas? What should you do? Here are eight ways to celebrate Endangered Species Day.
1. Take a Hike
You might not spy any endangered species on your outing, but taking a hike is still a fabulous way to celebrate Endangered Species Day. Better yet, take the entire family with you. Research indicates that youth who spend time in nature are more likely to become good environmental stewards as adults, and all earth’s creatures need a healthy place to live.
Add depth to your wanderings by making your walk as mindful as possible. Pay close attention to how your feet and legs feel as they navigate unfamiliar terrain and savor the sensation of your lungs expanding with each inhale.
Add an element of fun and education if you take the littles. You can download various plant and animal identification apps for relatively little. See if you can identify what you find and research more about it when you get home, asking questions like why do raccoons have those funny masks?
2. Visit a Science Center
Another fun way to celebrate Endangered Species Day with the entire family is to visit a science center. Call before you go — many places offer discounts on select days. You might be able to score a bargain.
If possible, devote the most time to the exhibits about the natural world. For example, you might discover how palm oil cultivation affects orangutan habitats and the efforts some businesses and organizations are taking to make it more sustainable.
3. Tour the Local Zoo
You can’t do much better than the local zoo when it comes to learning about animals. These facilities also teach children about the natural habitat many of their favorite endangered animals inhabit. For example, do your little ones know where red pandas call home? What risks do these regions face and what are people doing to address them?
Your local zoo can be a treasure trove of learning opportunities. Many such facilities have special events, and your nearby center might have an Endangered Species Day extravaganza on its agenda. You can often find hands-on activities, including holding various animals. Do your kids know that a snake’s skin isn’t slimy? They will if they participate in a herpetology workshop.
4. Learn Online
Want an easy and free way to celebrate Endangered Species Day? Why not hop online and learn about your favorite animals that make the list?
For example, scientists estimate that only ten vaquitas remain in the wild. These diminutive dolphin-like creatures live only in a small region of Mexico’s Gulf of California and have been nearly extinct due to illegal fishing. Without a fully enforced gillnet ban, these beautiful animals may no longer exist.
5. Pick Up Litter
Picking up litter may not seem directly linked to endangered species conservation. However, a quick bout of internet research reveals pollution’s ravages on our animal kin. For example, you might have learned to cut up six-pack rings to prevent sea creatures from strangling. Animals can become entangled in these devices, choke and die.
Furthermore, microplastics remain a severe problem. These chemically-laden products now infiltrate nearly every creature on earth. Scientists have even discovered them inside the bodies of small, insect-like Antarctic invertebrates.
The best way to reduce their numbers is to keep clean and recycle what you can. You earn eco-bonus points for celebrating Endangered Species Day by hauling the litter you gather to the nearest sorting center.
6. Plant a Tree
All of earth’s critters depend on life-giving oxygen for survival. Unfortunately, air pollution already kills seven million people a year. It’s impossible to calculate how many of our fellow creatures have perished because of the unthinking acts of humans.
Fortunately, there’s a way to clean the air that’s all-natural — plant a tree. These plants remove harmful carbon dioxide from the air and produce oxygen. You can do your part by beautifying your lawn, but why not go further? See if you can organize an effort to plant more foliage around your local park or greenbelt.
7. Adopt a Critter
Perhaps the best way to celebrate Endangered Species Day is to symbolically adopt one of these magnificent animals. There’s an organization dedicated to nearly any creature in need of help.
For example, you can symbolically adopt an endangered sea turtle from the Galapagos Conservancy. Are elephants your favorite animal? You can help adopt an orphaned one through the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust. You’ll receive a gift with your donation outlining how they use your funds.
8. Donate or Volunteer
Finally, why not donate or volunteer with an environmental cause near you to celebrate Endangered Species Day? You might have to get a bit creative if there aren’t holiday-centric events near you, but you can always find something.
For example, dogs and cats might not make the endangered species list, but the ones living in shelters need rescuing. Why not devote a few hours to walking dogs or socializing kitties?
If you’re financially secure but short on time, you can always celebrate this holiday with a donation to your favorite cause. Are you unsure where to spend your cash? Why not help protect bees by giving to Friends of the Earth or save orangutan habitats with your gift to The Rainforest Conservancy?
Celebrating Endangered Species Day
Endangered Species Day falls on the third Friday of May. What will you do to celebrate this special day?
Consider one of the eight ways above to celebrate Endangered Species Day. You can share your knowledge of the planet and its creatures with your kids while helping preserve them for subsequent generations.
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About the author
Steve is the Managing Editor of Environment.co and regularly contributes articles related to wildlife, biodiversity, and recycling. His passions include wildlife photography and bird watching.