Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Earth Day 2018: Help Children Love Nature

Let's Instill A Love Of Nature In Our Children

Earth Day is Sunday, April 22nd.  
Love a marine animal for Earth Day.

One of the best ways to instill a love of nature in our children is to teach them to care about the animals who share our planet, especially those that are threatened or endangered by extinction.  There are many things we can do as families to help these animals, and in the process our children will learn to value our planet.

On December 28, 1973, the United States Congress passed the Endangered Species Act recognizing that the animals of our country were of value and that without protection there could be extinction for many.  The ESA currently has more that 1900 species on their list, 94 of them are marine animals.

There are international laws and treaties too.  On December 10, 1982, "the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea made clear the responsibilities and rights of all nations that use the oceans".

Okay.  Let's get started!

1.  Choose An Animal

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has a list of all marine animals that are currently threatened or endangered. You can access the list HERE.  

There are four categories on the list: Marine Mammals; Sea Turtles & Other Marine Reptiles; Fish; and Marine Invertebrates.  You can see a sample of the animals in each category below.

2.  Learn About Our Animal

To value an animal we must think the animal is important.  The more we learn about our animal, the more we can understand and empathize with our animal.  And the more we empathize, the more important our animal will be to us. 

So, let's learn about our animal.
  • Read about how the animal hunts, eats, protects, behaves, etc.
  • Watch videos.  There are many animal videos on the web.  
  • Go to a zoo or an aquarium.  Take pictures.  Ask questions.
  • Research the animal's conservation issues.

3.  Help Save Our Animal From Extinction

  • Tell your friends and family what you’re doing and ask for their help.
  • Write a family letter to your Members of Congress advocating for your animal.  The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has ideas to help at Welcome To The Action Center
  • Keep the ocean free of trash.  Even inland trash can find its way into the ocean.  Organize your own Team Trash filled with family and friends.  Designate an area to protect and patrol.  Give prizes for the member who tracks down the most trash. Put signs up in appropriate places reminding people not to litter.
  • Stamp your letters with Save Vanishing Species Stamps.  You can buy them online at USPS.COM.
  • Adopt an endangered animal.  There are many zoos and aquarium websites where families can adopt a marine animal. Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium has several adoption possibilities available.
  • Give a class presentation about your animal.
  • Volunteer to help.  Do you have a teen in your family?  Many zoos and aquariums have a volunteer program just for them.
  • Volunteer to do beach clean-ups if you live near the ocean.
  • Buy or make a t-shirt about your animal.  Get your friends involved.  Wear your shirts.
  • Avoid using harmful chemicals in your house and on your lawn that may wash from streams and rivers into the ocean.
  • Dispose of plastic bags and balloons.  Many are ending up in the ocean where sea turtles eat--but can not digest--them.
  • Participate as a family in a World Wildlife Fund Panda Nation Run.  There are runs all over the US.  If you're not close to an organized run, you can plan one yourself.  The Panda Nation Run website tells you how.  Monies collected go toward helping many earth challenges.  

4.  Be Role Models For Our Kids

When President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act in 1973, he said the following:  "Nothing is more priceless and more worthy of preservation than the rich array of animal life with which our country has been blessed."

Let's do our part to make a difference in the world and influence our children to do the same.

Research Sources:

1.  "Mission Animal Rescue: Raise Awareness".  Web.  24 Mar. 2018.  National Geographic Kids. <>

2.  "The Endangered Species Act - Protecting Marine Resources".  Web.  24 Mar. 2018.  NOAA Fisheries Service. <>.

3.  "Species Information".  Web 26 Mar. 2018.  NOAAFisheries National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.  <>.

4.  "Endangered and Threatened Marine Species under NMFS' Jurisdiction".  Web.  01 Apr. 2018.  NOAAFisheries National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration. <>.

 5.  "Internation Wildlife Law: Conservation Laws, Sustainable Travel and Ecotourism".  Web.  08 Apr. 2018.  International Wildlife Law.   <>.     

Image Credits:

1.  Father and Child on the Beach by Danielle Macinnes on Unsplash.

2.  Sample of Endangered or Threatened Animals [created by the author].

3.  Little Boy by Max Goncharov on Unsplash.

4.  Little Girl by pixel 2013  (altered by author) is licensed under CO Creative Commons.

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