5 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day

The third Friday in May is the day to celebrate our planet's biodiversity.

Orangutan
Borneo Orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) with her baby in rainforest trees. (Photo: Getty Images).

How do you plan to celebrate Endangered Species Day?

Endangered Species Day is officially recognized as the third Friday in May. In 2015, Endangered Species Day falls on May 15 and it will mark the 10th anniversary of this annual event. This is a day to celebrate our biodiversity and all of the efforts that have been made to conserve and protect that diversity.

How can you celebrate Endangered Species Day?

Here are five great ways to get involved:

1. Get Artsy. Every year, the Endangered Species Coalition (ESC) hosts their Saving Endangered Species youth art contest, which is open to K-12 grade students residing in the United States, including those who are homeschooled or belong to a youth/art program.

Kids are encouraged to depict endangered species (or species that were once endangered and are now recovered) that either live in the U.S. or migrate through the country. For more background on the contest, including an art lesson plan for teachers and other resources, check out the Endangered Species Day website. Entries are generally due in March and the winners selected in May in time to celebrate Endangered Species Day. 

If you have missed this year's contest, you can always start planning ahead for next year!

 

2. Get Social. If you have an account on Facebook or Twitter, change your profile pic to one of your favorite endangered species.

That way you can show your support for these plants and animals with every post. Share info about Endangered Species Day or specific endangered species in a message with your friends and family and use the hashtag #ESDay in your tweets to keep the conversation going. The National Wildlife Federation has a number of pictures you can download to use as your profile pic or Facebook cover photo.

Check them out here.

 

3. Take Action. Get involved in your local community efforts to protect endangered species. Learn about the species that live in your area and how you can help the efforts to protect them. Contact the Environment Department of your local city or county agency or check out the US Fish and Wildlife Service's Endangered Species page to search for vulnerable species in your area. 

 

4. Attend an Endangered Species Day Event. From bird walks to butterfly garden planting to habitat restoration, there are lots of activities planned throughout the U.S. to celebrate the day. Check in with your local zoo, botanical garden, or community center or click here to find an Endangered Species Day activity in your area. Nothing happening in your area? Don't let that stop you! There are a number of online events listed as well.

 

5. Learn more. Check out the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of endangered species and then do a web search to learn more about as many species as you can. For some species on the list, recovery may be just a few years away. But for others, their days on the planet may be numbered without more help. 

Take some time to learn more about the endangered species in your community and in your world.

What are the issues threatening their survival? Which organizations are working to protect them? What can you do to get involved? 

Happy Endangered Species Day!