For Immediate Release, August 30, 2023
Contact: Emily Bishton, Arivaca Pollinator Pathway, email@example.com
Dynamic, 3-D Mural Unveiling Sunday in Arizona
Mural Series Commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act
Arivaca, Ariz. – The Endangered Species Coalition, our member organizations, and the Arivaca Pollinator Pathway Project are pleased to announce the unveiling of a 3-dimensional, community mural featuring native endangered and threatened species in different settings. The mural unveiling and celebration is part of a series commemorating the 50th year of the Endangered Species Act. Festivities begin Sunday, September 3rd at 11:00 am and will run until 4:00 pm at the Arivaca Dancehall, 17271 W. 5th St. in Arivaca, Ariz.
This event will feature the dedication of our new mural, created by artist Paul ‘Nox’ Pablo, and complementing our Pollinator Pathway project by depicting images of local, native plants and animals. We’re honored that the celebratory event will include special guests from Tohono O’odham Nation and its Cultural Center and Museum, who will provide a presentation and receive returned local Tribal artifacts. The event will be capped off with a performance by legendary Waila musicians Gertie and the T.O. Boys, who have entertained audiences and been cultural ambassadors for the Tohono O’odham Nation throughout the US for decades.
About ESA AT 50
In 2023, the 50th anniversary provides a unique, year-long opportunity to build support for the Endangered Species Act and imperiled species by celebrating conservation achievements, highlighting conservation needs, and generally reminding the public and decision-makers why plants, fish, and wildlife are beloved and vital to the heritage we share as Americans. Just as in 1973, an unprecedented coalition of agencies, organizations, and nonprofits are coming together to commemorate this conservation legacy. Find out more about the coalition, events and activities at https://esa50.org/
About the Arivaca Pollinator Pathway Project
The Arivaca Pollinator Pathway is a volunteer-driven project to build public gardens in the small town of Arivaca to provide a linked pathway of habitat for Monarchs and other butterflies, bees, bats, and other pollinators. In addition, to grow local knowledge and understanding about the importance of pollinators and how to provide good habitat for them, through free garden classes and experiential learning.
The project has also grown to include the creation of a beautiful new mural that depicts pollinators and other species that are endangered or threatened in the region of Southern Arizona that includes Arivaca and the Tohono O’odham Nation. The 3-sided mural is surrounded by one of the Pollinator Pathway gardens, and its unique design takes viewers on a day and night journey through the natural habitat of this region.
The Pollinator Pathway Project is a collaboration between the Arivaca Dancehall, the Teen Advisory Board (TAB) of the Friends of the Arivaca Caviglia Library, and fiscal sponsor Arivaca Human Resource.
The Endangered Species Essay Project is officially open for students in Grades 3-12! This is a unique opportunity for students to practice essay writing, explore topics related to ecology and the environment, and win special prizes. Educators are invited to incorporate this project into fall 2023 lesson planning or encourage students to participate.
What: 2023 is the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, a landmark piece of conservation legislation protecting our nation’s wildlife. In honor of this milestone, students are invited to submit essays about endangered species for a special nationwide essay collection! The virtual collection will showcase dozens of essays from students around the country organized by species and region.
When: August 1st, 2023 until November 1st, 2023.
Who: Students who are enrolled in Grades 3-12 in Fall 2023.
Theme: Students are encouraged to write an essay of 1,000 words or less related to the overall theme of the Endangered Species Act’s contribution to recovering and protecting endangered species.
Prizes: All students who submit essays will be entered into a raffle and prizes will be given to raffle winners, including Endangered Species Chocolate Co. chocolate bars, t-shirts, and more. Educators with five or more students who submit essays will also be entered into a raffle for prizes including $100 gift cards for classroom supplies.
You can find more detailed information about the theme and guidelines, submit essays, and get additional resources, including a tip sheet for students, at https://bit.ly/escessays.
Article republished with permission from the League of Conservation Voters.
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is facing unprecedented attacks that threaten some of our nation’s most important species. At the same time, the climate crisis and irresponsible development are leading to catastrophic losses of plant and animal species. Some biologists estimate that 35% of animals and plants could become extinct in the wild by 2050 due to climate change alone. While working to curb our emissions and ensure a livable planet for every species on Earth, we must also ensure that those most at risk and their habitats are protected. This year, on the 50th anniversary of the ESA’s passage, it is more important than ever to uphold this foundational environmental law in the face of continued threats.
The ESA’s 50 Years of Success
President Nixon signed the ESA into law in 1973 with overwhelming bipartisan support. The ESA ensures that species in danger of extinction, as well as the ecosystems that support those species, benefit from comprehensive protections. Since its passage, the ESA has secured the survival of iconic species including our nation’s emblem, the bald eagle.
Indeed, the ESA has been credited with saving 99% of listed species from extinction, and this achievement is due to the essential collaboration between federal agencies and state, local, and tribal governments. Success stories include the survival of the Florida manatee, seven species of sea turtles, the Channel Island fox, and the gray wolf. Importantly, these species and their habitats are not separate from us. These creatures inhabit the same coasts, forests, bays, and grasslands we do. Often, their loss is an indicator of a broader habitat decline which affects all of us – from the water we drink, the soil we grow our food in, to the larger balance of ecosystems we too are a part of.
Today’s Unprecedented Attacks on the ESA
There has long been opposition to the ESA’s protections for vulnerable species and habitats, primarily in the name of agricultural development and economic growth. The Trump administration undertook various efforts, both executive and administrative, to prioritize economic development, prevent the use of the best available science, narrow the definition of “habitat,” and overall to interfere with federal agencies’ abilities to prevent species’ extinction. Now, the Biden-Harris administration is taking steps to reverse those actions and strengthen regulations to protect threatened species.
However, the attacks continue in Congress. In May, the Senate took an unprecedented step of voting to remove protections for an individually protected species, the critically imperiled lesser prairie chicken, using a deregulatory tool called the Congressional Review Act (CRA). The CRA is an extreme anti-regulatory law, passed under Speaker Gingrich’s leadership in the 90’s, that allows Congress to overturn rules made by an administration and explicitly bans any “substantially similar” rules from being pursued in the future. Historically, this has been abused by anti-environmental members of Congress who want to permanently strip away protections for our environment, wildlife, and natural heritage. In this case, it could prevent the Fish and Wildlife Service from ever protecting the lesser prairie-chicken under the Endangered Species Act in the future, even if its populations collapsed or just a handful of individual birds remained.
The Senate’s May CRA vote was quickly followed by two more votes to remove protections for the northern long-eared bat and to rescind the Biden administration’s expanded definition of “habitat,” which would severely curtail which lands or waters could be considered in ESA designations. President Biden has vowed to veto both resolutions should they pass the House, stating that they would undermine our country’s proud tradition of wildlife conservation and risk the extinction of many critical species.
This is part of a larger pattern of attacks on the ESA driven primarily by development and gas and oil interests. Just last week, House Republicans held a hearing “evaluating the costs of the Endangered Species Act” and advocating for individual landowners to make decisions about the future of these species, over scientists and experts. House Republicans also released their interior and environment appropriations bill which proposes funding for everything from the Environmental Protection Agency to the Department of Interior for the Fiscal Year 2024. The bill includes specific provisions rescinding protections under the ESA for critical species like the gray wolf, lesser prairie-chicken, northern long-eared bat, and sage grouse. And we expect to see additional amendments attacking endangered species and their habitats throughout this process.
What Can You Do?
When people come together, we can save species. Watch this short video of the unveiling of a mural in Doña Ana, New Mexico celebrating 50 years of the Endangered Species Act. You can read more about the mural here.
For Immediate Release, May 12, 2023
New Mexico Mural Celebrating Biodiversity Unveiled by Local Artists, Partners
Mural Series to Commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Endangered Species Act
Doña Ana, N.M.— A collaboration of artists and partners will unveil the first in a series of murals to commemorate the 50th year of the Endangered Species Act on May 19th, at 3:00 pm in Doña Ana, New Mexico. The event will feature a community celebration with creative activities for youth and opportunities to watch the mural in progress. Migration: A Natural Act is a striking portrayal of the natural magnificence of southwestern New Mexico, with a particular focus on its imperiled fauna.
The mural, located at 135 Joe Gutierrez Street, Doña Ana (Las Cruces), New Mexico, highlights the Boreal Owl, Gila Monster, and two endangered fish species – the Chihuahua Chub and Roundtail Chub. Migration is a recurring theme of the artwork, with the river symbolizing the innate movement of humans and animals across the landscape. The river depicted in the mural is a potent force, breathing new life into the terrain and restoring its vitality. In the mural’s corners, one can observe the towering cottonwood trees, which are indigenous to the Doña Ana community and serve as a poignant reminder of the region’s rich natural heritage.
“Despite the obstacles faced by the endangered species depicted in the mural, the artwork’s overarching message is one of hope. It conveys that through diligent effort and unwavering commitment, it is conceivable to re-establish equilibrium in the ecosystem and revive the region’s vitality,” said artist Raquel Madrigal. “The mural is a beautiful tribute to the significance of preserving the natural world and its diverse fauna.”
The Endangered Species Act 50th Anniversary mural series will spotlight regional ecological and cultural diversity within the US by highlighting plants and animals that are protected by the Endangered Species Act. Species that are currently listed and in danger of extinction will be featured as well as some species who have recovered thanks to this landmark legislation. Murals will be installed throughout 2023 at regional locations across the US, including in Oregon, Arizona, Massachusetts, Florida and in other states.
About the Artist
Raquel Madrigal is an interdisciplinary artist with a degree in Fine Arts, who is widely known for her captivating murals, posters and zines that incorporate her unique poetry. Her murals, in particular, have garnered attention for their powerful narrative highlighting the struggles and triumphs of working-class families as well as the endangered species in Southern New Mexico.
About Doña Ana Village Association
The Doña Ana Village Association (DAVA) was founded in 2021 as a result of several community conversations which demonstrated a serious need for community organizing and representation. The Village of Doña Ana is the oldest federally designated Colonia in southern New Mexico, and its representation is limited to legislators and county commissioners.
About ESA at 50
In 2023, the 50th anniversary provides a unique, year-long opportunity to build support for the Endangered Species Act and imperiled species by celebrating conservation achievements, highlighting conservation needs, and generally reminding the public and decision-makers why plants, fish, and wildlife are beloved and vital to the heritage we share as Americans. Just as in 1973, an unprecedented coalition of agencies, organizations, and nonprofits are coming together to commemorate this conservation legacy.
By Tim Preso, Managing Attorney, Earthjustice
We must not only protect and restore the Endangered Species Act, but ensure strong implementation for its next 50 years.
This year, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) turns 50. Recognizing that extinction is irreversible, the United States in 1973 did what no country had done before, establishing a fundamental right to exist for the animal and plant species with which we share our planet. Enacted in the midst of a worldwide extinction crisis that threatened even our national symbol, the bald eagle, the ESA reflected the resolve of a society determined to guarantee a future not only for itself, but also for the rest of creation, even when that required difficult choices.
Today, more than 90 percent of the American public supports the ESA, widely regarded as one of the most important conservation laws in history. The experience of four decades has demonstrated the importance of the ESA’s legal safety net. Because of the Act, today’s children are able to experience not only bald eagles but also orcas, alligators, condors, grizzly bears, and myriad others as living, breathing creatures — not dusty museum specimens.
And we need the ESA now more than ever as our extinction and climate crises worsen. According to a report released by NatureServe this year, over one-third of biodiversity in the U.S. is at risk of disappearing. The report found that 34% of plants and 40% of animals are at risk of extinction, while 41% of ecosystems are at risk of range-wide collapse. Globally, one million species face the threat of extinction in the coming decades. Habitat loss is the number one driver of this biodiversity crisis, and climate change has only compounded the problem.
Yet in its 50th year, this incredibly successful and popular piece of bedrock environmental legislation is under fire from political detractors. A Republican-led effort in the House of Representatives is attempting to weaken the Act by exempting, or picking off, individual species from legal protection. Representative Lauren Boebert recently introduced a bill to delist gray wolves nationwide. Representatives Hageman and Rosendale have introduced bills to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide ecosystems, respectively. And several bills seek to utilize the extreme and blunt instrument of disapproval under the Congressional Review Act to repeal administrative rulemakings under the ESA, including protections for the lesser prairie chicken and long-eared bat and the legal definition of what counts as a species’ critical habitat.
The intensity of this onslaught of hostile legislative proposals reveals something important about the ESA: it works. If it lacked the teeth needed to reliably bolster survival for endangered plants and animals, politicians championing harmful development projects wouldn’t target it. In fact, 99 percent of the species protected under the ESA have been saved from extinction.
And selfishly, it works for humans too. The same natural systems that make life possible for other creatures also make life possible for people. Natural systems filter pollutants to provide clean air and water, protect soil quality, and provide pollination and pest control for agriculture. The diversity of species produced by these systems provide us with food and medicine. Natural processes help to mitigate climate change, as more than half of all human-caused carbon dioxide emissions are absorbed by natural systems that include, among others, old-growth and mature forests. And a diverse and flourishing natural world enriches all of our lives.
Many of the ESA’s implementing regulations were weakened by the Trump administration; these protections should be promptly restored. And going forward, our political leaders should look for new opportunities to ensure that the ESA can be as effective as possible not only in preventing extinctions, but also in restoring and recovering imperiled species.
In the law’s 50th anniversary year, it is time for us to not only protect and restore the Endangered Species Act, but to ensure strong implementation for its next 50 years. Our ability to protect the web of life on our planet – and ultimately ourselves – depends on it.
The world’s strongest law for wildlife conservation is once again under vicious and unrelenting attack.
In a reckless bid to roll back the U.S. Endangered Species Act, Congress is holding hearings on new bills that will deal a devastating blow to the ESA, even as biodiversity and climate crises reach a tipping point. These anti-wildlife bills directly aimed at weakening the law are being introduced at an alarming pace of about one per week, already 22 in 2023 alone. This growing effort is part of a larger ESA assault that must be fiercely opposed and soundly defeated.
For more than 50 years, the ESA has provided a critical pathway for conserving threatened and endangered species and protecting the ecosystems on which they depend. Despite its importance, relevance and success, Congress has consistently underfunded this important nature protection law, and at this point, is providing only a meager 40 percent of the funding required by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to fully implement it. This doesn’t even include the amount required by the NOAA Fisheries for marine species. Without adequate funding, species that deserve protection will continue to decline and many may cease to exist altogether.
My career has been dedicated to conserving imperiled wildlife species and the important landscapes so critical to their survival and recovery. I know firsthand the role the ESA plays in preventing species extinction. And I have participated in important species restoration efforts over the years and celebrated their recovery thanks to the ESA.
During the first 50 years, the ESA has saved more than 95% of listed species from extinction. This incredible success is truly remarkable, in spite of the fact the law has been continuously starved of precious funding, staff and resources. With one million species vanishing at a rate not seen in 10 million years, we need to do everything we can to shore up successful laws like the ESA instead of tearing them apart or starving their efficient implementation. Without the protections of the ESA, many of these species will disappear in the near future, with amphibians, birds and marine mammals at particularly high risk.
Despite the urgency that biodiversity loss and climate change present to wildlife as well as people and the overwhelming support of the public to conserve wildlife and address climate change, there is an escalating and disturbing lack of political will to support the conservation of nature. Public officials too often focus only on short-term goals and are unwilling to make necessary investments to protect our imperiled wildlife.
The ESA is not just a law. It is a lifeline for thousands of plants and animals struggling to survive in a rapidly changing world and a testament to our commitment and responsibility to protect our planet and its biodiversity for future generations. We cannot afford to allow short-sightedness and politics to drive us to the brink of ecological collapse. We must defend the Endangered Species Act with all our might and demand that our elected officials do the same. The survival of our fellow creatures, and ultimately our own, depends on it.