The tenth annual national Endangered Species Day is May 15, 2015! Endangered Species Day was created by Congress in 2006 and is a day to raise awareness of the many endangered, threatened and at-risk species and the critical role they play.
Many zoos, parks, gardens, wildlife refuges, museums, schools and community centers, among other participants, will host educational events to further promote and celebrate Endangered Species Day and the reasoning behind its creation. To find an event near you, visit endangeredspeciesday.org.
If you’re in the Melbourne Beach area, come to our Endangered Species Day Event at the Barrier Island Center on Saturday, May 16th! See image above for details.
Endangered Species Day is a great platform for highlighting the success of some species in recovering from being endangered. Many species, including the green sea turtle, are considered success stores because of the significant strides they have made toward recovery as a result of policy implementations and other actions designed to protect them.
All sea turtles in U.S. waters are listed under the Endangered Species Act, which was created in 1978. The act grants green sea turtles protection by the NOAA Fisheries in the ocean and by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services (USFWS) in their beach nesting habitats along U.S. coasts.
During the nesting season of 1990, fewer than 50 green sea turtles were documented at the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge on Florida’s east coast. During the nesting season of 2003, 13,000 nests were recorded on the same beaches. This comeback makes green sea turtles one of the greatest conservation success stories of our time. The species’ success can be attributed to the Endangered Species Act, STC and all other supporters who worked tirelessly to give green sea turtles a fighting chance.
1. Learn about endangered species in your area.
The best way to protect endangered species is learning about them and how they’re important. So teach yourself and educate those around you on the benefits of endangered species. STC’s educational program empowers sea turtle groups throughout Florida by providing educational materials and uses sea turtle migration tracking as an online educational tool.
2. Visit a national wildlife refuge, park or other open space.
These places are home to a lot of different species, and preserving an endangered species’ habitat is essential to protecting the species. You can help by visiting a refuge close to where you live and become a volunteer. The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge in Florida is a major safe haven for sea turtles. The refuge is where about 25% of all the sea turtle nesting in Florida occurs.
3. Make your home wildlife friendly.
Secure garbage in shelters or cans with locking lids and feed pets indoors to avoid attracting wild animals to your home. Taking these actions can keep animals like raccoons, which are sea turtle predators, away. Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival. If you live on the beach you can make your home sea turtle friendly by implementing sea turtle lighting.
4. Plant native plants.
Native plants provide food and shelter for native animals. You can plant sea oats on the beach to help prevent dune erosion and provide habitat for sea turtle nesting. STC conducts native dune vegetation planting to provide an additional buffer to reduce or eliminate unwanted light on the beach and to enhance nesting habitat at various project sites in the Florida panhandle.
5. Stay away from herbicides and pesticides.
Herbicides and pesticides may keep yards looking nice, but they are in fact hazardous pollutants that affect wildlife at many levels. Many herbicides and pesticides take a long time to degrade and build up in soil and throughout the food chain. For alternatives to pesticides, visit http://www.beyondpesticides.org.
6. Slow down when driving and/or boating
One of the main obstacles for wildlife in developed areas is roads. Animals that live in developed areas navigate in areas full of human hazards and roads present wildlife with a dangerous threat. So when you’re driving, slow down and be on the lookout for wildlife. You should also apply these practices while boating to avoid harming sea turtles and other endangered species in the water.
7. Recycle and buy sustainable products
Recycle anything that can be recycled and buy sustainable products! Avoid single-use plastic such as water bottles, plastic bags, etc. Some of our favorite eco-friendly products can be found online at Wild Mint Shop.
8. Never purchase products made from threatened or endangered species.
Overseas trips can be exciting and fun, and everyone wants a souvenir. But sometimes the souvenirs are made from species nearing extinction. Avoid supporting the market for illegal wildlife products such as tortoise-shell, ivory and coral. Hawksbill sea turtle shells are often used to be made into sunglasses, jewelry and other trinkets because of their beautiful shell pattern. Learn more about the threat of illegal shell trade here.