This year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, one of the most successful environmental laws in U.S. history. Friday, May 17, 2013 is the 8th annual Endangered Species Day – a day to spread awareness of species at-risk and to share success stories of species that have recovered. Join us in raising awareness!
- Attend an Endangered Specie Day event. Find one here!
- Spread the word on social media. Mention @savespecies in a tweet to help Endangered Species Coalition gain supporters (be sure to hashtag #ESDay). Or share a wildlife message with your Facebook friends (include @Endangered Species Coalition in your post so they can see your support).
- Learn about conservation efforts in your state! U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s interactive map can help you discover which species are being protected in your area.
- Use Endangered Species Coalition’s 10 Things You Can Do list to make simple changes that can have a big impact on species conservation.
On April 22, 2013, more than one billion people around the world will take part in the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Communities everywhere will voice their concerns for the planet, and take action to protect it. Here are some ways to connect and participate:
The History of Earth Day| Get a quick overview of the how and why behind Earth Day with this short WatchMojo video.
Photo by Abigail Alling / Biosphere Foundation
Message from our friend, Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, co-founder of SEETurtles, SEEtheWILD and LiVBLUE.
The sea turtles need your help! Six of the seven species of sea turtles are endangered and facing possible extinction. This week we’re kicking off Billion Baby Turtles, a project aimed at reversing this alarming trend and saving sea turtles.
Even if you don’t have time to read this entire post, please take a minute to visit, “like” and share our new Facebook page, where you can also enter to win an amazing prize pack of gear and goodies from sustainable brands including ENO Hammocks, Endangered Species Chocolate, Feelgoodz, Hydro Flask, Lush Fresh Handmade Cosmetics, Nature’s Path/EnviroKidz, Numi Tea, NUUN, Osprey Packs, prAna, and Tofurky. Enter here.
Now, a little bit more about the sea turtles and what we’re up to with Billion Baby Turtles…
If you’ve watched Animal Planet you know that odds are generally working against sea turtles. From the moment an egg is deposited in a sandy nest on a tropical beach, to the first time a baby turtle touches the sea, to decades later when she returns as an adult to lay her own eggs on very same beach, life is an endless series of life-and-death challenges for a sea turtle.
Nature is stacked against survival, which is why a mother turtle lays thousands of eggs during her lifetime in order to simply replace herself. Predators include dozens of species of crabs, beetles, ants, birds, fish, and sharks. Jaguars, pigs, wild dogs, and raccoons are even on the list of turtle eaters.
For millions of years, sea turtles handled it all just fine.
Yet, when you add modern humans to the mix, the balance suddenly tipped towards oblivion. Over the past century all seven species of sea turtle and their eggs have been hunted, carved, and eaten to the point that many populations are considered vulnerable to extinction. Getting caught accidentally in fishing nets and on hooks just adds to their woes. Throw in plastic pollution, boat collisions, and runaway coastal development on their nesting beaches and you’ve got a situation requiring intervention on a global scale.
But this isn’t a bad news story. That’s because over the past several decades a massive global network of sea turtle scientists, advocates, conservationists, and even lawyers has evolved to work day and night to bring them back. These heroes have been literally working around the clock, saving one egg-—one baby turtle-—at a time. At other times they’ll invest months to rehabilitate a single adult animal before returning it to the ocean. Every turtle released into the ocean is a moment of joy for everyone involved. It never gets old.
These projects are run on “Turtle Time.” Slow, steady, and tenacious wins the race. It takes as long as twenty-five years for a turtle to reach maturity, and return on that turtle-y kind of investment can come slowly. Turtle people are above all patient and hard working. Many projects have been steadily protecting turtles for more than thirty years. Their work is paying off. Some turtle populations are now on the rise after nose-diving to near extinction before that.
Photo by Neil Ever Osborne / SEEturtles.org
The Black Sea Turtle Project in Michoacan, Mexico celebrated its thirtieth anniversary this year and is experiencing its best season since its inception after watching the numbers of nesting female turtles bounce along the bottom of the graph for a decade.
Its sister project, Grupo Tortuguero, working to safeguard black turtles in feeding grounds a thousand miles away in Baja, is turning fifteen in January.
Turtle hunters and poachers in Mexico have had a change of heart and are now turtle protectors and guides. Everyone reports seeing more sea turtles in the ocean and on the beaches.
Now is not the time to let up, though. To get sea turtles back to their former abundance and to restore their ecological role in the ocean this is just half time.
We know exactly what to do. We just need to continue to execute the game plan.
Along with my friends Brad Nahill at SEEtheWILD and Fabien Cousteau at Plant a Fish, we came up with the idea of the Billion Baby Turtles, an initiative to help support groups working on the sea turtle front lines. To make a million more adult turtles we need a billion more baby turtles. It’s a one in a thousand situation out there, roughly speaking.
By creatively connecting individuals and small businesses with grassroots projects working to increase sea turtle production, we are helping overcome donor fatigue, burn out, and other second half challenges.
In the coming years we will collaborate widely to further expand the global sea turtle tribe, widen the base of donors through micro-philanthropy, and throw our support behind the men and women working for turtles on the front lines in their coastal communities around the world.
Forty years ago sea turtle pioneer, Dr. Archie Carr, described what it would take to save sea turtles.
In the long run, marine turtles, like the seas themselves, will be saved only by wholehearted international cooperation at the government level. While waiting for it to materialize, the critical tactical needs seem to me to be three in number: more sanctuaries, more research, and a concerted effort by all impractical, visionary, starry-eyed, and anti-progressive organizations, all little old ladies in tennis shoes, and all persons able to see beyond the ends of their noses…
That is almost legendary substance.
While high-level official negotiations continue, and the large agencies and organizations fight for pro-ocean and pro-turtle policies, why don’t we all do our small part for sea turtles?
A billion baby sea turtles?
Why don’t YOU lead one to the water?
Dr. Wallace “J.” Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author and dad. He works to inspire a deeper connection with nature, sometimes simply by walking and talking, other times through writing or images. He is co-founder of SEE Turtles, SEEtheWILD, & LiVBLUE among other organizations.
When we announced The Xerces Society as one of our 2013-2015 10% GiveBack Partners, we were well-educated about their work. What we didn’t know was how incredibly passionate their supporters are! Since our commitment to donate 10% of our annual net profits to The Xerces Society, we have received countless emails and phone calls from members, thanking us. Their passion is infectious; my interest, piqued!
So, Xerces Society, what’s with the name?
This conservation non-profit is named after the Xerces Blue, an extinct species of butterfly. The Xerces Blue is believed to be the first American butterfly species to become extinct as a result of loss of habitat caused by urban development.
Bring back the pollinators!
Want to help bees, butterflies and other animals that help pollinate our planet? The Xerces Society’s Bring Back the Pollinators Campaign works with four simple principles that will easily turn your backyard into a place where pollinators can thrive! Become an expert at attracting beneficial insects to your landscape with the help of Xerces Society’s book, Attracting Native Pollinators: Protecting North America’s Bees and Butterflies.
Why their work is vital…
Of the more than one million species of animals in the world, 94 percent are invertebrates. They pollinate, spread seeds, recycle nutrients, and are a food source for wildlife. Without them – whole ecosystems would collapse. But these little guys are often overlooked with decisions are made about environmental policy and land management. The Xerces Society speaks up on their behalf through advocacy, policy, education and applied research.
Become a member of The Xerces Society. We promise – you’ll be in good company
Did you know that 6 out of 7 species of sea turtles are threatened or endangered? Sadly, they face many dangers as they travel the seas – including accidental capture in fishing gear, loss of nesting and feeding sites, intentional hunting (poaching) and ocean pollution.
Follow our guest blogger, Brad Nahill, Director and Co-Founder of conservation non-profit SEEtheWILD, as he sets off to make a difference! His journey has him teamed up with some of the world’s leading conservationists to learn all they can about sea turtles and the threats they face. Gathering new knowledge is vital in determining the best course of action to save these endangered creatures of the sea.
From the Field: Travels to El Salvador and Nicaragua
Summer in Portland, Oregon is wonderful. Warm sunny days blend gradually into crisp nights even at the height of summer, a perfect climate to explore the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, and the Oregon Coast. So why am I giving up two weeks of my hometown’s best weather to visit the hot, rainy, and buggy coastal areas of El Salvador and Nicaragua?
When you get the opportunity to tag along with some of the world’s leading turtle conservationists to put satellite tags on possibly the planet’s most endangered sea turtles, you say yes and start looking at airfares. Over ten days, I will travel with a small, diverse group of people to visit four key sea turtle habitats in two countries. We will put transmitters on turtles at three of the sites, attend turtle festivals, and meet local residents working to support conservation programs.
Despite having worked in sea turtle conservation for most of the past decade, this trip will be a series of firsts for me. First time working with transmitters, first time to both of these countries, and the next wild hawksbill I see will only be the second of my career. I will be sharing these experiences with blog posts, images, and more in the hopes of educating people about the threats that sea turtles face in this region and how people can participate in their conservation.
A few of the inspiring people I’ll be meeting up with include Alex & Ingrid Gaos, the driving force behind the Eastern Pacific Hawksbill Initiative, one of the most hopeful turtle conservation stories out there; Jose Urteaga of Flora and Fauna International, a National Geographic Emerging Explorer and one of Nicaragua’s leaders in turtle conservation; and Dr. Jeff Seminoff, director of Marine Turtle Research at the National Marine Fisheries Service of NOAA. Others include Randall Arauz, recent winner of the prestigious Goldman Prize and founder of Pretoma, a leading wildlife organization in Costa Rica; Enriqueta Ramirez, founder of VivAzul and one of El Salvador’s leading young turtle conservationists; and Liza Gonzalez, current Nicaragua Director for Paso Pacifico and former director of the Nicaragua protected area system.
Some researchers believe the hawksbill turtles of this region are the most endangered in the world. A network of people are working to bring these turtles back from the brink while at the same time providing opportunities for improving the lives of coastal residents near turtle hotspots. I’ll be writing about how these hawksbills have chosen mangroves over coral reefs (unlike the rest of their species around the world) and about innovative programs that are providing optimism for the future of turtles in the region. I hope you will join me on this exploration to learn about one of the world’s most charismatic and endangered animals.
…to be continued.
Read the next post from Brad’s conservation trip, On a Mission.
Brad Nahill is the Director & Co-Founder of SEEtheWILD, the world’s first non-profit wildife conservation travel website. To date, we have generated more than $300,000 for wildlife conservation and local communities and our volunteers have completed more than 1,000 work shifts at sea turtle conservation project. SEEtheWILD is a project of The Ocean Foundation.
5 Ways That You Can Help Protect the Ocean
World Ocean Day is June 8th and what better way to celebrate than by helping to protect the ocean and the creatures that call it home? Most of the news we hear these days about the ocean is bad; giant islands of trash, sharks being killed for their fins, and more. But there is still hope to save the oceans and everyone can help no matter how far you live from a coast.
1. USE LESS PLASTIC
Many people have heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch out north of Hawaii; not many people know that all five of the world’s oceans have currents (called “gyres”) that collect plastic waste. This waste endangers sea turtles, birds, seals, and other wildlife.
How to help: First, avoid plastic whenever possible. You can support local bans on plastic bags (congratulations, Los Angeles)) and take the Plastic Pollution Coalition’s Pledge to refuse disposable plastic. You can also volunteer in the International Coastal Cleanup and help keep trash out of the oceans.
2. EAT LESS FISH OR MORE SUSTAINABLE FISH
Many of the world’s major fish stocks are overfished and collapsing. This is more than a food issue; these fish make the marine food web survive and many coastal communities depend on the industry. The good news is that there are alternatives for those who don’t want to completely give up seafood.
How to help: First, avoid the most damaging seafood such as shrimp. In some places, fishermen catch up to 10 lbs. of other fish and animals for every pound of shrimp. Also, print out a Seafood Watch Guide or download their smart phone app that tells you which fish are being caught sustainably and which ones can have high levels of toxins.
3. USE YOUR VOICE (OR YOUR EMAIL)
There are many opportunities to speak up for ocean conservation. For example, you can participate in the Sea Turtle Restoration Project’s campaign to enforce the use of turtle excluder devises on shrimp boats in Louisiana by emailing your Senator. You can also speak up for a strong National Ocean Policy here.
4. VOLUNTEER WITH A SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION PROJECT
Ever wanted to see what the life of a marine biologist is like? Our SEE Turtles project helps connect volunteers with sea turtle conservation programs in Latin America at no charge. Patrol a turtle nesting beach, helping measure and tag sea turtles and move their eggs to a protected hatchery. Volunteers pay from $15-50 per day for food and lodging, which is a critical source of income for many small projects.
5. TAKE AN OCEAN WILDLIFE CONSERVATION TOUR
SEEtheWILD is the world’s first non-profit wildlife conservation travel project and our website promotes tours where you can get up close to ocean wildlife including sea turtles, sharks, and whales. Every trip benefits conservation programs through donations, education, and volunteer opportunities.
BONUS ACTION: SHARE A BLUE MARBLE
The Blue Marbles Project is a simple experiment in showing gratitude for the ocean. Millions of these marbles are passing around the planet, from hand to hand. The premise is simple, give a marble to someone doing good things for the ocean. Pick up some marbles here and share the stories of the people you give them to on Facebook.
- Brad Nahill
Guest blogger, Brad Nahill is Director & Co-Founder of SEEtheWILD, a wildlife conservation travel project. He launched SEE Turtles, a sea turtle conservation travel project with Dr. Wallace J. Nichols that has generated more than $300,000 in support for community-based turtle conservation projects in Latin America.
We just wrapped up an Earth Day sweepstakes on Facebook, Win a Feel Good Moment, where we offered a chance to win $1000 for the non-profit of the winner’s choice. Choosing an eco-charity to support is a difficult one – there are so many great ones out there! We know this firsthand. To fulfill our 10% GiveBack Promise, we scour stacks of applications and dig deep into each organization. Here are shortcuts we’ve learned along the way to help you narrow down your choices and match up with the perfect conservation org:
1. PINPOINT YOUR CAUSE. Whether you’re interested in wildlife preservation, land conservation or climate change, there are resources to help you find an environmental org that supports your interests. Spend some time with a search engine to get a sense of the organizations out there that share your environmental concerns.
2. CHECK THEIR PERFORMANCE. Once you have a handful of organizations that speak to your eco concerns, Charity Navigator (for larger charities) and Better Business Bureau Giving Alliance (for local giving) are great places to dig deeper. These sites offer free tools to evaluate the financials, accountability and transparency of non-profits. With a few simple clicks, you’ll know which charities are trustworthy.
3. GET TO KNOW THEM, THEN JOIN THEM. Now that you’ve honed in on groups that mesh with your ideals, visit their websites. Sign up for their newsletters. Follow them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). You’ll quickly gain an understanding of the scope of their work and involvement with their members. A good match will make you feel good, excited and involved in making an impact.
What advice would you give to someone who’s looking for a charity to support? Comment below and share your experiences.
Halloween is right around the corner. Time to start thinking about costumes! Instead of buying, consider a more eek-o-minded approach. Saturday, October 8th is National Costume Swap Day™ – a planet friendly way to get kids recycling in the funniest way possible – trading (reusing) princess gowns, witch’s hats and superhero capes!
Costume swaps or making your own costumes from materials you have on hand means less resources, less packaging and less waste. Wrap your mind around this fact: swapping (aka reusing) just half the costumes kids wear at Halloween would reduce annual landfill waste by 6,250 tons! It also means you can be original and decide exactly what you want to be for Halloween. Imagine trying to find a tornado costume at a big box store!
DIY Tornado Costume
- black t-shirt and pants
- masking tape
- assorted small tornado victims (leaves, toy tractor, barnyard animal figures)
Wrap masking tape up one pant leg (crinkle tape a bit for authentic tornado texture!). Repeat with t-shirt, wrapping tape in a spiral up to neck. Tie assorted toys and figures to short bits of fishing line. Tie fishing lined tornado victims to random spots on t-shirt and pants. Muss up child’s hair and brush a bit of dusty brown eyeshadow across face to complete the transformation!
Swaps can be as simple as getting together with a few neighbors or as large as a citywide event; check Costume Swap’s site to find local swaps you can attend. No matter the size of your event, a costume swap is the perfect way to save the resources it takes to create new costumes. Plus, trading costumes saves you money! Check out this incredibly cute video; twin brothers, Tristin and Tyler, show you how it’s done.
Find more ways to green up your holiday at Green Halloween®.
Did you ever notice that when it comes to spreading awareness about endangered species, animals get the lion’s share of the attention? Most anyone can easily rattle off five threatened animal species…but can you name a plant species in need of protection?
My 5-year old can. Armed with knowledgement about his current obsession, carnivorous plants, he informed me that his favorite plant (the oh-so-amazing Venus flytrap) was a threatened species and needed our protection. He’s right. As I learned more, my eyes were opened to a whole new world of species in need.
According to the Encyclopedia of Earth, over 8,000 plant species worldwide are officially threatened or endangered – and that number grows daily. Between one-fourth and one-half of all plants are at some risk. In the United States alone, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service lists 795 plant species as threatened or endangered. A disturbing matter because plants provide essential, life sustaining ecosystems with oxygen, food, medicines, building materials, textiles and habitats. Not to mention their beauty.
Just as it would be deplorable and tragic if, say, chimpanzees became extinct during our lifetime (a loss that is a real possibility, researchers warn), our world wouldn’t be the same without species like the black bat flower, monkey puzzle tree…or the Venus Flytrap.
My carnivorous plant-loving son with his purple pitcher plant, another threatened species.
Want to become famiiar with endangered plants in your area? Visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Threatened and Endangered List and select your state.
Photo image by Hitchster via Flickr Creative Commons
With summer here, my mind has turned to planning our annual family beach trip. Images of building sandcastles, splashing in the surf and long walks on the beach fill my daydreams as I count down the days till vacation. As a mom of a nature-embracing little boy, I aim to pass along ways to play and explore the beach that make sure this fragile ecosystem is protected from his well-meaning, oh-so-curious hands.
LOOK AND RELEASE
It’s fun (and educational) to scoop crabs and other sea creatures into a bucket to observe. Just keep in mind that these guys need water to breathe. Even with water in your bucket, a crab will only last 20 minutes before it begins to suffocate. Look – then let them go.
DON’T ROCK IT!
Wondrous discoveries can be made by looking under rocks in tide pools. Just be sure to lift rocks straight up (so you don’t accidentally crush critters hiding underneath) and replace the rocks gently, leaving them as you found them. Many beach creatures find cool, moist homes under rocks, logs and seaweed. If you move or take their home. they might not survive. Check out this video for a rock lifting demonstration.
CLINGING FOR A REASON
Starfish, mussels and other clingy creatures survive waves and predators by hanging tightly to rocks and wharf pilings. If picked off a rock or perch, they rarely survive.
DUNES ARE SENSITIVE
Use dune walk-overs and designated beach access points to cross dunes. This fights erosion by protecting the plants that hold the dunes in place. Dunes are also a popular spot for sea turtle nests and should not be disturbed.
What am I missing? Share other ways we can protect and preserve beaches by leaving a comment below.
THE TWEET FEED
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