Baltimore Sun

It's Endangered Species Day

This one snuck up on me.  Today is Endangered Species Day, when conservation advocates want kids (and adults) to learn about the importance of protecting rare animals, bugs and plants and the habitats where they live.

There are more than 100 events planned across the country today to observe Endangered Species Day.  Unfortunately, it seems none is in Maryland.  Just down the road, though, if you hustle, the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. is offering free tours of its endangered and native plants from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. For details, go here.


If you can't make it to a special event, the Endangered Species Coalition has a handy list of 10 easy things you can do at home to protect wild things and their habitat.  Here are just a few:

- Secure garbage in shelters or cans with locking lids, feed pets indoors and lock pet doors at night to avoid attracting wild animals into your home.


- Reduce your use of water in your home and garden so that animals that live in or near water can have a better chance of survival.

- Disinfect bird baths often to avoid disease transmission.  Place decals on windows to deter bird collisions. Millions of birds die every year because of collisions with windows.

How many threatened and endangered species does Maryland have?   You can find out here and here.

One of my favorites is the hellbender, a puppy-sized salamander seen above that is found lurking under rocks in the cold, rushing water of the Casselman River in Garrett County.   I saw one myself years ago when I joined a couple state biologists, Ed Thompson and Dan Feller (at left), on a search of the river for them.   

There's a new underground coal mine proposed near Grantsville, and conservationists are worried that water pumped from the mine into the river could affect the hellbenders and another rare critter, the stonecat fish.  The state plans to require the mine company to monitor its water discharge for any possible impacts on the river and the animals. For more, go here.

(1998 Baltimore Sun photos by Linda Coan)