Events and activities are an important part of the Endangered Species Day celebration. In 2011, there were more than 115 events leading up to, on Endangered Species Day and the following weekend at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA facilities/other sites (to highlight the successful work being done to protect and recover endangered species and their habitat), as well as zoos, aquariums, botanic gardens, wildlife refuges, nature centers, parks, libraries, schools, community centers and other locations. Following are a few of the most notable events
There were 22 exhibitors from federal agencies and conservation organizations, tours of the USBG’s endangered and native plants, talks on endangered plants, and information on what you can do at home. More than 2,300 visitors stopped by to see the exhibit/programs. Exhibitors included:
3. Department of Defense
4. National Museum of Natural History
6. National Park Service
7. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC)
8. Environmental Protection Agency
9. U.S. Forest Service
10. U.S. Geological Survey
11. Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA
12. Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
1. Endangered Species Coalition
2. Finding Species
4. American Bird Conservancy
5. Defenders of Wildlife
7. North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC)
8. Sierra Club
9. Roots & Shoots
10. Earth justice
ES Day Talks
There were several well-received talks, including:
The Northern Spotted Owl and Marbled Murrelet: Life in an Old Growth Forest, American Bird Conservancy: Steve Holmer
Losing Paradise? Endangered Plants Here and Around the World, National Museum of Natural History: Gary Krupnick
PollinatorLIVE A distance learning adventure and more: Inspiring awareness, knowledge, action and commitment, Forest Service: Tamberley Conway
On the Edge: Hope for Animals and Their World - Youth Creating Positive Change for Local Endangered Species, Roots & Shoots: Shawn Sweeney
The Role of Genetics in Endangered Species Research & Management, USGS Wildlife Program: Dr. Kay Briggs
The Botanic Garden gave tours of their endangered and native plants and discussed their work to conserve endangered species. The U.S. Botanic Garden is one of many botanic gardens worldwide that actively participate in the conservation of endangered species by maintaining live specimens in their collections, studying wild plants at risk, banking seeds of rare plants, and introducing rare plants to the horticultural trade. (As one of 62 repositories for plants that have been seized by customs agents through the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Botanic Garden accepts and cares for orchids and succulents.)
The 13th annual Watershed Festival was held on May 21 at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fish Technology Center in Bozeman, Montana. The mission of the Watershed Festival is to promote awareness, understanding, and appreciation of southwest Montana’s beautiful watersheds, and is hosted annually in May by the Montana Outdoor Science School.
This year, the festival highlighted Endangered Species Day, featuring a keynote address by the Endangered Species Coalition’s regional representative, Derek Goldman. Derek spoke about the history of ES Day and the importance of the Endangered Species Act in protecting imperiled wildlife and habitat, while touching on the growing threat that climate change is having on fish, plants and wildlife. Other activities included a live bluegrass band, wildlife face-painting for kids, and more than 20 educational exhibits. The Endangered Species Coalition also screened a new documentary about the plight of Snake River Chinook salmon, entitled The Greatest Migration.
Although a cool and steady rain throughout the day dampened visitor turnout significantly from previous years, around 600 adults and kids still manage to make their way to the festival this year.
Field’s Pont Nature Center
There were over a dozen events in the Northeast region, including the New England Aquarium, NOAA facilities in Gloucester, MA, and national wildlife refuges in ME, NH and MA. Activities ranged from habitat restoration, workshops, speaker panels, nature walks, and species displays.
At the Field’s Pond Nature Center in Holden, Maine, FWS, NOAA, Audubon, Endangered Species Coalition, University of Maine Fish Club and the Penobscot River Restoration Trust celebrated Endangered Species Day. The event was called “Spring Fest” and was a celebration for International Migratory Bird Day and Endangered Species Day. Spring Fest was a great event that included a live owl program, bird walks, bird banding, live music, insect program, discovery room and a children's activity area.
The focus for the activities was primarily geared to children--to help them learn more about threatened and endangered species in Maine. We had a visit from the “Sturgeon General” (great costume made by FWS of an Atlantic Sturgeon), made Salmon wind socks and animal masks (including; Canada lynx, Sea turtles and Roseate terns). There were games such as the salmon migration game (find your home river with olfaction) and another game about habitat, dams and species by the Penobscot River Restoration Trust. There were fish prints and turtle displays, and lots of activity and coloring books, stickers, and posters to take home.
Even though the weather wasn't ideal, a few hundred people attended throughout the day and loved the Endangered Species Day celebration
Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA)
San Francisco, CA
Endangered Species Day was celebrated for the second straight year at this, the most urban National Park in America. This is likely the most unique National Park from the endangered species prospective at it has the largest number of endangered species of any park in the country. Over half of North American avian species and nearly one-third of California's plant species are found in the park. Twenty-five federally threatened and endangered species exist within lands that the Park Service manages, and a total of 36 threatened and endangered species exist within Golden Gate's legislative boundaries. Thus, it is a wonderful place to visit to see endangered species, and a treasure for the densely populated San Francisco Bay area.
This year, the Parks service organized a total of nine different activities throughout the park, in both San Francisco County and Marin County, across the Golden Gate Bridge. On Saturday (May 21) there were five different restoration and habitat improvement actions to help provide improved growing conditions for plant species, as well as birds and mammals. The purpose of the “in the field” work is to prevent habitat loss and to improve the biological diversity of the land to support the species that use the park, either as a resident or migratory visitor. On Sunday, an additional four projects were organized, two in Marin and two in the San Francisco area.
Each project (each day) was attended by eight-15 people, most of whom were families who came to help the park species and to be together for the day. Those who attended spent two-four hours working in the park and the rest of the day touring and having fun. The Park Conservancy visitor’s center near Crissey Field in San Francisco also hosted many people for the day, and educated people on the value of protecting endangered species, why the park is important to San Francisco, and why it is critically important to all the species of birds, mammals and plants that need it for survival. Both Park staff and volunteers from the Park Conservancy were engaged in the weekend events, and working with visitors. http://www.nps.gov/goga/index.htm - Park website, http://www.parksconservancy.org/ - Parks Conservancy.
Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The refuge hosted a reception for visitors on Saturday, May 21. Endangered Species Day has been celebrated at the refuge for the past four years, and the main event is a reception for children in the surrounding schools who have participated in a local art contest focused on endangered species. For the first time this year, entrants to this contest were eligible for the National Endangered Species Day art contest, and those who were first or second in their grades were entered. There were over 250 entrants in this contest from six local schools, and refuge staff judged the drawings and paintings. In the reception, all were posted in the main reception room, and visitors were able to see them. The three top pieces of art were awarded ribbons and posted in the boards.
Many other activities were available at the refuge for the visitors, with the huge air boat the most popular. This is a large flat bottom boat with an airplane engine and large propeller on the back. Families were able to climb into the boat and take pictures, and hear a docent talk about how the boat is used to travel the refuge to get to locations occupied by the endangered California Clapper Rail, an endangered bird the refuge is known to protect. In addition, a Fish and Wildlife Service warden displayed all the items of international trafficking (transport and sale) of endangered species; this was quite popular. Endangered turtle shells, reptile skins, powdered organ parts, and a host of other endangered species paraphernalia were displayed. The warden educated people on this trafficking problem and what people can do to stop it.
Also of importance was the staff of the refuge and their educational outreach to the visitors. Staff members led a marsh tour of the refuge to show habitats used by Clapper Rails and the highly endangered Salt Marsh Harvest Mouse. These two species are only found in the San Francisco Bay area, and both use the refuge lands and waters. The refuge stretches from the San Jose area all the way up to the Napa Marsh in the northern part of the bay. Additionally, the refuge spans more than 30,000 acres in the San Francisco Bay, and is part of a complex of 6 other refuges in the central California coastal area, stretching to the southern Monterey Bay area. Hundreds of thousands of people visit the refuge annually, and like the GGNRA, it is the most urban of any National Wildlife Refuge. http://www.fws.gov/desfbay/ - Refuge website.
San Diego Zoo
San Diego, Calif.
A focal point for Endangered Species Day at the San Diego Zoo was the May 20 presentation of the zoo’s special “Ten Reasons for Hope” report, along with the announcement of the Fish and Wildlife Service’s “Recovery Champion” award and recognition of the Youth Art Contest winners. In addition, a representative from the San Diego County Board of Supervisors presented a County Proclamation declaring May 20 as “Endangered Species Day in San Diego.”
“Ten Reasons for Hope” highlights the positive actions that the San Diego Zoo/Safari Park has assisted with or otherwise recognized as critical in helping to preserve threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Ron Swaisgood, San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research Director of Applied Animal Ecology, outlined some of the most notable success stories, including: the first mountain yellow-legged frogs successfully re-introduced by the Zoo and FWS, zoo-bred Andean condors are now reproducing in the wild, Vietnam’s snub-nosed monkey population has grown, and the public’s participation in conservation has expanded recently.
Michael Mace, bird curator at the San Diego Zoo/Safari Park, was honored as a “Recovery Champ” for his extensive work with the endangered California condor and the light-footed clapper rail.
The Zoo’s board president introduced Amy Cheu, grand prize winner of the Endangered Species Day Youth Art Contest and semi-finalist Joshua Kudar (both San Diego residents) and presented them with zoo gifts, along with a copy of a special San Diego County proclamation.
The event underscored the close working relationship between the zoo and FWS, and the positive developments that are occurring.