May 19, 2023
Protecting species of plants and animals most at-risk requires knowledge and action.
Join us in 2023 as we celebrate one of the most important tools in species protection, the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). There are many ways for K-12 students to participate in this year-long celebration. Explore educational activities that include a nationwide collaborative art project, the ESA 50th Anniversary Essay Contest, and other lessons and activities to engage youth around threatened and endangered species. Check back frequently as we get closer to Endangered Species Day on May 19th to find events on the Endangered Species Day 2023 map.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) was devised to protect plant and animal species from extinction. Species are put into one of two categories, "endangered" or "threatened." According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, as of February, 2023, there are a total of 503 animal species and 767 plant species listed as endangered and 234 animal species and 174 plant species listed as threatened.
Biodiversity is important because each species no matter how small has an important role to play in their larger ecosystem. As a society we rely on these species and the ecosystems we share for various aspects of our own existence and survival. For example, over 75 percent of crop types across the globe depend on animal pollination. 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.
What does biodiversity look like at your school? Use the Eco-Schools USA Biodiversity pathway to investigate.