Friday, May 19th is Endangered Species Day (ESD), a worldwide reminder that on this planet that we share with 8.7 million other species (of which we are merely one), our way of life has made it impossible for other species to survive.
It’s important to prevent species from becoming endangered. From providing cures to deadly diseases to maintaining natural ecosystems and improving the overall quality of life, the benefits of preserving threatened and endangered species are invaluable. Once a species is gone, it's gone forever. This not only has consequences throughout ecosystems and the planet but it is also, in our times, a testament to how poorly humans are treating other species who share this planet with us.
As always, Childhood by Nature believes that education and engaging activities will help children become more in tune with the natural world, and thus, stronger stewards of it.
This year, Childhood by Nature has created a new Endangered Species Day Activity Kit. This is a resource-rich kit to help children learn about endangered species with fun hands-on activities. The kit includes a week's worth of fun and educational ideas for celebrating Endangered Species Day. Ideal for homeschoolers or any educator of K-8 students!
Endangered Species Day is celebrated once a year, but there's no reason why your child should not learn about endangered species any day of the year. And in fact, they should. Here are some resources to help your child learn about and learn to care about endangered species and other species on any day of the year:
The Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) is the organization behind Endangered Species Day, organizing the map of events happening around the world each year and providing resources and other materials that can be used in ESD celebrations anywhere. This year, they hosted a week-long virtual celebration but you can check their website for lots of tools and resources designed for getting kids interested in endangered species.
What better way to ensure the help protect endangered species than by encouraging the next generation of conservation scientists? NOAA introduces your kids to the experts working to save endangered species. Learn about the work of scientists like Allison Henry, a fisheries biologist who works with the large whale team at the NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center, collecting critical population data about the North Atlantic right whale.
The World Wildlife Fund does an excellent job connecting educators and parents with the tools and resources they need to help kids explore and understand the world of wildlife. Take a look ar the amazing resources in the Wild Classroom for a wide range of resources and activities to help your child love and learn about many threatened and endangered species.
The Endangered Species Conservation Site shares a wide range of ideas for kids to learn more about and help protect endangered species and their habitats. We love that most of these are everyday actions that can be done during the “social distancing” environment of the COVID-19 crisis or when we return to “normal.”
Focus on the positive. It’s bad for endangered species but it’s not all bad. Thanks to the Endangered Species Act, there are many success stories to celebrate. The National Wildlife Federation has a great presentation of some of these on their website. These stories include efforts to restore Bald Eagles to the current number of 7,000 breeding pairs, the reintroduction of the Gray Wolf to much of its natural habitat, and the effort that led to over 1,400 breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons in North America.
A few other ideas from Childhood by Nature:
Raise funds to donate to an organization that helps protect threatened and endangered species.
Build a bug hotel
Find and commit to a citizen science project
Build a bat house.