This month, Home Schoolers have been researching animals in Texas that are on the verge of extinction. We are making posters to help raise awareness of these species. The posters can include information about the species, why it is endangered, and what can we do to help them. The posters will be hung in the hallway of our building for all of our visitors to read. If you have a poster you would like to display, please turn it into your Home School teacher by February 6th. (Please include first names only on posters)
Save Our Species!
The U.S. Endangered Species Act was passed in 1973 to protect our native plants and animals from becoming extinct. Its main purpose is to protect and recover any species in danger, and the ecosystems that it depends on for survival. A species can be protected under a Federal law or under a state law. Regulations for endangered species in Texas are enforced by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Currently, there are over 200 species listed as threatened or endangered in Texas alone!
Why is this happening?
The number one cause for species decline in Texas is habitat loss. As the population of people increases, so does the demand for larger cities and more homes. Rural areas are being fragmented by roads and the land is being cleared to meet the growing industrial and agricultural needs. Other reasons for the decline of species populations include increased use of poisons and pesticides, over-hunting by humans, polluting of habitats, and introducing of non-native species.
Why does it matter? Do we really need to save every organism?
An ecosystem is like a giant spider web: everything is connected. The biotic factors (ex: plants, animals, fungi and bacteria) and the abiotic factors (ex: rain, air, nutrients, sunlight) depend on one another to survive. If you remove one section of the ecosystem, another section becomes weakened. Eventually, the ecosystems will fail when it becomes too weak. Even losing the smallest organisms can be detrimental to a fragile habitat. This is why it is important to protect all native species, from the beautifully spotted ocelots to the little American burying beetle and the Houston camphor daisy.
What can we do to help?
Many species, like the bald eagle and the brown pelican, have managed to recover their population numbers and have been removed from the endangered species list. Laws banning the pesticide DDT that was harming the birds was the main factor leading their recovery. It is possible to help them recover! Here are more ways you can help:
- Don’t pollute! Help keep the environment clean for all of the species living there.
- Help provide food and shelter for native wildlife by planting only native plants in your gardens.
- Support organizations who help protect wildlife like state parks, zoos, and nature centers.
- Be respectful of our Earth! This includes recycling and reusing as much as possible and finding earth-friendly alternatives to pesticides.
- Spread the word! Learn about the endangered wildlife in your area and help raise awareness in your communities.