Wild about Wildlife Month

Tuki Talks

Hi friends – Tuki here from my perch at the Potter League. I heard some of the Potter League staff talking the other day about how July is ‘Wild about Wildlife’ month. I thought, ‘I’m wild about wildlife every month!’ but I realized they were talking about the fact that July is a month designated to recognizing organizations who work to protect animals in their natural environments.

You probably won’t find any cards in the store to send to your friends to celebrate ‘Wild about Wildlife’ month, but there are a lot of great organizations whose work you can support – and what better way to celebrate than helping a wild animal stay in their ‘home’.

One of the most well-known organizations in the US is the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). NWF was established in 1936 and is a nationwide organization that has 51 state and territory affiliate chapters. Their goals are to: protect and restore degraded wildlife habitats; transform wildlife conservation to address new threats such as climate change, invasive species, and wildlife diseases; and connect Americans with wildlife by supporting policy changes and inspiring the next generation of conservationists. There are a lot of ways that you help NWF help achieve these goals. You can donate; purchase products from their website; or become a volunteer. They have a lot of programs and information that can be downloaded from their website for parents and teachers to help kids get involved in learning about environmental and wildlife conservation.

Another organization is the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), an international organization that works in 100 countries to help conservation efforts in several areas including forests, oceans, fresh water, wildlife, food and climate. For wildlife conservation, WWF focuses on protecting animals that are endangered by environmental changes or illegal activities such as poaching. You can help by donating or purchasing from their website.

Both the NWF and WWF have symbolic adoption programs where you can ‘adopt’ a wild animal to help the organization protect the wild animals and preserve their habitats. This is another great way to teach kids about wildlife and conservation!

Even right here in Rhode Island we have some great organizations and places that help preserve and protect local wildlife – and these are close enough to visit!

The Audubon Society of Rhode Island’s mission is ‘to protect birds, other wildlife, and their habitat through conservation, education and advocacy for the benefit of people and all living things.’ The Society has 12 wildlife refuges in Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts, most of which you can visit and have trails for hiking. Although you probably won’t see any exotic wildlife like tigers or lions, you can look for local wildlife that you might also see in your own backyard! They have a nature center and aquarium with many different programs for kids (and adults!) of all ages as well as programs they take to schools. Kids, I know school is over for this year, but you may want to talk to your teacher when you get back in September about having the Audubon Society come to your school!

Every September at the nature center, they have Raptor Weekend where you can see eagles, hawks, owls, and falcons – you know, birds like me! Well, maybe not exactly like me, but they are birds!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service also has 5 wildlife refuges in Rhode Island – in Charlestown, South Kingstown, Middletown, Block Island, and Narragansett that you can visit. Part of the John H. Chaffee Refuge in Narragansett is only accessible by canoe or kayak (or flying, but that probably only works for birds like me!) which is a great way to see local wildlife. The Fish and Wildlife Service is involved in managing natural resources here in Rhode Island and preserving and rehabilitating natural habitats to support local wildlife.

Both the Audubon Society and the Fish and Wildlife Refuges have opportunities for donations and volunteering if you want to get more involved – especially if there is one near where you live!

There are also days in July that recognize specific wild animals. You won’t find any cards to send for these days either, but they might be fun to celebrate!

July 10 is ‘Don’t Step on a Bee Day’ which is always a good policy in my opinion!

July 14 is ‘Shark Awareness Day’

July 16 is ‘World Snake Day.’ Now I’m not a big fan of snakes, but they are important to keeping a lot of ecosystems in balance.

July 29 is ‘International Tiger Day’. Kids – you might want to celebrate this day by learning to roar like a tiger!

Happy summer everyone!

‘Till next time,

Your friend, Tuki

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