May 16th, 2014, is officially Endangered Species Day. This day was established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to recognize conservation efforts to preserve and protect endangered species and habitats. San Diego has several projects to help local endangered species such as clapper rails, least terns, among many other species of animals and plants.
There are several events happening to celebrate Endangered Species Day in San Diego. The San Diego Botanic Gardens is giving people maps with notable endangered species, both native and exotic, along with several tours throughout each day. The San Diego Audubon Society will have birding tours on Friday, May 16th and Saturday, May 17th beginning at 8 a.m.
The cost of these activities is free with admission, but San Diego Audubon and Living Coast Discovery Center members get in for free this weekend. Likewise, San Diego Botanic Gardens members will get free admission to the Living Coast Discovery Center. The San Diego Botanic Gardens is located at 230 Quail Gardens Drive in Encinitas. Call 760-436-3036 for more details.
At the Living Coast Discovery Center, there will be two events celebrating Endangered Species Day. On Friday, May 16th, Ranger Lisa Cox will be talking about endangered species of the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Living Coast Discovery Center auditorium. This will be followed by a walk around the trails near the center. RSVPs are required. Contact Lisa Cox at 619-476-9150 ext 106 or Lisa_Cox@fws.gov. Or visit www.thelivingcoast.org, click on events, and RSVP with the link on the page.
Also happening at the Living Coast Discovery Center, the next day, May 17th, there will be a large family-friendly event from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be games, art, shark feedings, and, of course, their live animal displays. The cost is free with admission. Visit www.thelivingcoast.org for more information.
Other ways to celebrate Endangered Species Day is to talk a walk and enjoy San Diego’s many preserves and parks that help support native species. The Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve is a great place to see clapper rails. Least terns can be seen around Mission Bay and around the Sweetwater Marsh. Torrey Pines can be seen in the Torrey Pines area. Even if you don’t see a rare or endangered species, San Diego is a great place for nature watching.