Today—May 15, 2020—marks the 15th annual Endangered Species Day! Celebrated since 2006, this day was created to bring awareness to the plight of endangered species and their habitats. Currently, there are over 1,300 endangered or threatened species in the United States. You might already know some of the animals on the list, like wolves and whales, but did you know that frogs, butterflies, spiders, clams, and even cacti can also be endangered?¹ These creatures might seem small and insignificant, but they make a huge impact on their surrounding habitats. Each animal, insect, or plant is part of a greater ecosystem and any disruption to that system can have disastrous consequences.
That’s why it’s important to promote the well-being of all creatures, great and small. Here are ten things you can do this Endangered Species Day to help promote awareness and protect endangered species!
1. Become a Member of the National Wildlife Federation (NWF).
The National Wildlife Federation is the largest nonprofit conservation group in the U.S. and the original champion of Endangered Species Day. Their goal is to protect threatened species, restore natural habitats, and educate the public on how they can contribute to conservation efforts.
2. Update your Facebook cover photo to show your support.
Help spread the word about Endangered Species day by sharing an image of your favorite endangered animal. You can download images from the NWF here!
3. Watch the new documentary, Racing Extinction!
The Endangered Species Coalition is offering a free screening of their latest documentary on May 15th, at 8:30 PM Eastern Time. RSVP here and attend a live Q&A event after the show
4. Take part in the What’s In My Backyard? challenge on Saturday, May 16th!
This all-day event is a fun, free activity that both children and adults can enjoy. Simply download the iNaturalist app to take pictures and identify the plants and animals that live in your neighborhood. For complete instructions, click here!
5. Create a backyard wildlife habitat.
There are many simple things you can do to make your backyard a haven for local species. Set up feeders, houses, and baths for birds or create a pollinator garden filled with native plants for butterflies and bees. Check out a few more ideas from the National Audubon Society.
6. Stop bird collisions with DIY window decals!
Millions of birds die every year by flying into windows. You can help by making some fun decals to keep the birds away. Check out this easy DIY tutorial!
7. Support your local wildlife refuge.
The National Wildlife Refuge System manages 566 wildlife refuges around the country. You can help show your support by visiting or volunteering at your local refuge. To find one near you, click here.
8. If you can’t visit a wildlife refuge or park, take a virtual tour!
Google Earth is offering virtual tours of 31 National Parks. From the comfort of your own home, you can take a hike through Arches National Park in Utah or visit the great Redwood forest in California.
9. What to do more? Help scientists gather and sort wildlife data!
Researchers who need volunteers, post their projects on the website Zooniverse. Here, you can review footage of raccoons on their nightly outings or help transcribe and digitalize the nesting records of robins. Every little bit helps researchers better understand how animals interact with their environment.
10. Want to know more? Take a free course from National Geographic.
Learn how to start your own conservation project or learn more about illegal wildlife trafficking and ocean conservation. Each course is self-paced and open to everyone!
Happy Endangered Species Day Everyone! We hope you find a fun activity or project to help protect wildlife. You can make a difference. While there are 1,300 species in the U.S. that are currently at risk, research has shown that 99 percent of species survive once they are added to the endangered list and conservation efforts begin.²
¹”Endangered Species: Species Information (Factsheets).” EPA.
²”10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Endangered Species Act.” NRDC.