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Endangered Species

Celebrate Biodiversity!
May 19, 2023

Protecting species of plants and animals most at-risk requires knowledge and action.

Join the annual Endangered Species Day celebration with an event designed by you and your students. Below are several resources that will help you plan for this special day.

2018 was the 45th anniversary of the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA was devised to protect plant and animal species from extinction. Species are put into two categories, "endangered" and "threatened." According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, as of April, 2022, there are a total of 500 animal species and 768 plant species listed as endangered and 231 animal species and 171 plant species listed as threatened.

students planting a garden 

Why is biodiversity important?

Biodiversity is important because each species no matter how small has an important role to play in the larger ecosystem. As a society we rely on these species for various aspects of our own existence. According to the Convention on Biological Diversity, at least 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent of the needs of the poor are derived from biological resources. In addition, the richer the diversity of life, the greater the opportunity for medical discoveries, sustainable economic development, and adaptive responses to challenges such as climate change.

Ten Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day

Many of these books can be borrowed electronically from your local library or purchased as e-books to read on your computer, tablet, e-reader, or phone. Find the list here.   

A pollinator garden has native flowers and grasses that provide critical food and habitat for bees, butterflies, and other species. You can learn more about pollinator gardens from National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Garden for Wildlife program and finding native plants using NWF’s Native Plant Finder.  

To celebrate the 17th annual Endangered Species Day, the 17 for the 17th Nature Walk is an opportunity for the community to learn about 17 local animal or plant species. 

Ready to lead a walk? Find instructions for planning a nature walk or search the event map to see if there is an activity planned in your area.

Through the website Zooniverse, everyday citizens can help researchers working on large projects to manage their data. This is a great way to support scientists who are doing important research on wildlife and their habitat. Check out Zooniverse’s “Biology” projects.

Kids can use the Eco-Schools USA at Home Biodiversity resources to complete an Audit and Action Plan.

This activity book can be printed out and has coloring pages of endangered species, including educational information about where the species live and what threats they face. The activity book also includes a maze, crossword puzzle, and word search.