For more than 50 years, people around the world have devoted Earth Day to raising awareness about conservation, sustainability and the health of the planet. From large, volunteer service projects to small deeds, there are many ways to make a difference in reducing harm to our environment so wildlife can thrive. Earth Day helped inspire the passage of the Endangered Species Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act that today still play significant roles in protecting wildlife and their habitats.
This year’s Earth Day theme is “invest in our planet.” Conservation is an investment that takes action, and we can all play a critical role. Here are five ways you can help wildlife on Earth Day:
Garden for Wildlife
Add birdbaths, feeders, bee houses, nest boxes or bat houses to your balcony, yard or property to provide shelter, food and water for migrating or residential wildlife. Planting native trees, bushes and flowers can also provide natural sources for nesting, perching and protection. Remember to avoid using pesticides. You’ll be amazed by who stops by for a visit.
Advocate for Local, State and Federal Conservation Policy
Current, long-standing conservation policy is not safe from attacks. Special interests such as Alabama-based Twin Pines Minerals, try to weaken environmental rules and regulations. Many of these special interests have the ears of our elected officials, but they must hear from you too. Right now, Defenders is advocating for the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge from big oil and the preservation of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies. We are also urging Congress to cosponsor the Right Whale Coexistence Act. You can take action now!
Visit a Wildlife Refuge or Park Near You
Many nearby national wildlife refuges, greenspaces or parks in your local neighborhood allow you to connect with nature and see why it’s so important to protect. If you are unable to travel or want to do a virtual visit instead, join us on Saturday, April 23, for our Arctic National Wildlife Refuge paint night and presentation. With local Alaskan artist Kari Becker, we will show you the Refuge’s amazingly diverse landscapes and its iconic species like the polar bear and snowy owl.
Pick Up Litter in Your Community
Trash left behind in nature is harmful to everyone. Birds and other animals can trap themselves in plastic rings, plastic bags or even get stuck in abandoned fishing gear. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more litter in the oceans than fish. Removing trash from your community will help stop plastics and other litter from getting into our waterways and oceans. Plan a group cleanup in your neighborhood or find one here.
Become More Wildlife Aware
There’s lots of information on our website about what species could be living near you or may be migrating through your area this time of year. When you’re traveling, you may come across animals attempting to cross the road. The best way to help wildlife cross safely is to observe the speed limit and stay vigilant to wildlife on the side of the road. Another way to become wildlife aware is by attending webinars and talks by wildlife biologists or by catching an episode of Wildlife Nation.