There are a variety of ways for young people to learn more about endangered species conservation and to help protect threatened and endangered plant and animal species. For example:
*Read books to learn about endangered species conservation and specific species. See the Suggested Reading list (another page on this site) for some ideas.
*Create an I Love Endangered Species poster and get permission to display it in your community.
*Enter the Saving Endangered Species Youth Art Contest.
*Bring articles about endangered species conservation to your classroom.
*Girl Scouts can participate in the Endangered Species Patch Program. Learn more at: https://www.gscnc.org/content/dam/girlscouts-gscnc/documents/Kits%20and%20Patches/ESApatch16june.pdf
*As a Boy Scout, there are several different conservation-related activities that will help you earn Merit Badges. Scouts can also take the appropriate steps to earn the Hornaday Award, World Conservation Award, Scout Ranger Patch, and Conservation Good Turn Award.
The following action ideas were suggested by Sanah Hutchins, a 5th grade student from Washington, D.C. and member of The Endangered Species Conservation Site Advisory Board:
*Youth can work with their library to organize a special event to learn about endangered species. The library can display some books so community members can learn about endangered species. Then on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon, community volunteers can organize an art class with the library where youth and community members can draw their favorite endangered species on poster boards, and then have a neighborhood parade.
*Create a walk/bike to school day (instead of driving to school) with your community, to raise awareness about how pollution affects animals and their habitats. Pollution can harm species and contributes to making them endangered. Work with your teacher to organize a lunch club or a group discussion during the day or the week to learn about endangered species, what harms them and how we can protect them through everyday actions.
*Work on a special educational project with your classmates. For example, the middle school students at The Gifford School in Weston, MA developed an investigative project on their local endangered species, which include the Brown Bat, Wood Turtle, Eastern Rat Snake, and Blanding’s Turtle. Students researched why the species are endangered and made suggestions on how they might help to rebuild the habitats and the species populations. Some students circulated petitions to create local support of endangered species protection and others build bat box prototypes. A highlight was when they made presentations to the school community to generate awareness of endangered species conservation.
*Add PlantSnap (www.plantsnap.com) or another app to your Smart Phone, I-pad, Kindle or similar device and use it to help identify the flowers/plants in your backyard, local park or other area.
*Organize a “reading hour” at your local library and read an endangered species-themed book to younger kids.
*Participate in Endangered Species Day. (Information on this site and see http://www.endangeredspeciesday.org).
*Create a backyard wildlife habitat. The National Wildlife Federation (www.nwf.org) has suggestions and also enables you to have your habitat certified.
*Raise funds to donate to an organization that helps protect threatened and endangered species.
*Build a bat box. You can find tips from Bat Conservation International: http://www.batcon.org/resources/getting-involved/bat-houses
*Develop an Endangered Species/Environmental “bucket list” that includes the various activities you’d like to complete. You’ll probably find that as you learn more about endangered species conservation, you will think of other potential achievements.
*Plant a pollinator garden. Xerces provides gardening suggestions at https://xerces.org/pollinator-conservation/yards-and-gardens
*Ask family members and neighbors to assist you in a local habitat (beach, park, river etc.) clean-up. Of course, you’ll want to have adult support/supervision.
*Write a story about a threatened or endangered species and share it with your teacher and classmates.
*Participate in one of the Captain Planet Foundation’s Project Hero quests. Project Hero is a free, project-based learning tool and framework that engages young people in Quests to help threatened species & ecosystems in their own communities. For example, current programs include the Pollinator Quest and Rocky Mountain Wolf Quest. Visit www.captainplanetfoundation.org/programs/project-hero/ for more information.
*Organize a Save Endangered Species club at your school.
*Keep a nature journal, observing/writing about and illustrating your favorite species and their habitats.
*Visit http://www.broweryouthawards.org to learn about the Brower Youth Awards, earned for special contributions to the environment.
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