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Endangered Species

Celebrate Biodiversity!
May 21, 2021

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 March 2017, there are a total of 503 animal species and 773 plant species listed as endangered and 208 animal species and 168 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.

Download the 10 Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day From Home infographic.

Ten Ways to Celebrate Endangered Species Day From Home

National Wildlife Federation’s National Wildlife photo contest brings in thousands of beautiful wildlife and nature photographs from around the world. Check out Nature’s Witness, A Virtual Field Trip. Learn the science, geography and story behind the shot.

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.  

Even though many of us are stuck inside, we can still visit some of the country’s most beautiful places without ever leaving the couch, thanks to Google Earth’s virtual tours of 31 U.S. national parks. Take a virtual hike for Endangered Species Day and appreciate some of our most iconic wild lands.

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.

Originally designed for classroom use but easily adapted for remote learning, Project Hero is a free, online program that leads students on a learning journey to explore concepts through the lens of the species or ecosystem and culminates in the design and implementation of a project that makes a meaningful difference. Try out the quests focused on Pollinators and Soil and Soil Health.

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.


DisneyNature, Blue Planet, Our Planet and Planet Earth are exceptional looks at wildlife and habitat on Earth. Each one provides us with greater understanding and appreciation for wildlife and science and the scientists, videographers and photographers who capture the essence and stories of life on Earth.