There was quite a bit of wildlife within Green Festival, from snakes and tarantulas to tree frogs, praying mantis, and this enormous grasshopper. They were ambassadors for habitat conservation and worked like a charm to suck attendees into hearing more about two organizations working to restore and maintain habitats across the globe. And one of them makes me wish I were 8 years old again. Tree Frog Treks is a great organization that gets kids interested in the natural world - and nothing works better than letting kids hold animals they don't normally get to see, like giant spiders and scaly reptiles. The San Francisco-based organization is all about learning by doing:
"Tree Frog Treks is about making science fun, connecting with nature and exercising one's imagination. It is about holding live rescued reptiles and amphibians like Savannah the Savannah Monitor Lizard and Ivan the Tortoise, examining amazing specimens like a musk ox head or giant emu legs, doing hands-on science and art projects, and getting out and getting dirty while exploring nature. By taking students out of the conventional classroom and bringing them into contact with the nature in their own back yard, Tree Frog Treks endeavors to help students develop better retention skills and a new-found enthusiasm for learning."
So much fun! By connecting kids to nature, Tree Frog Treks is creating the next generation of conservationists.
Another excellent organization that had a presence alongside the creepy crawlies was SaveNature.org, which has an "Adopt an Acre" and "Adopt a Reef" programs.
The organization has several sites in which philanthropists can adopt an acure or more of rainforest or reef habitat. Some of the sites include: Guanacaste Conservation Area, Costa Rica; Pantanal National Park, Brazil; Kunene Region Protected Area, Nambia for rainforest acreage, and Palau, Micronesia; Komodo National Park, Indonesia; and Parque Nacional Del Este, Dominican Republic for reef preservation.
The organization partners up with institutions, corporations, schools and individuals to preserve wildlife in wild places. The funds go toward conservation efforts.
What's great is that they break down just how much is saved when a small amount of habitat is conserved. They state:
For every 2 1/2 acres saved, you will protect
- 1/1000 jaguar
- 1/33 spider monkey
- 1/25 anteater
- 20 frogs
- 100 vines
- 200 orchids
- 500 butterflies
- 10,000 mushrooms
- 4 billion raindrops
For every acre of coral reef saved, you will protect:
- 1/1000 green turtle
- 1/100 tiger shark
- 1/10 blacktip shark
- 1 barracuda
- 10 lobsters
- 30 parrot fishes
- 50 sea stars
- 500 sponges
- 800 damselfishes
- 20,000 shrimps
- 200,000 feather duster worms
- 100,000,000 plankton
Putting it in context like this, and reminding people about what lives in the habitat they're hoping to protect is a smart way to encourage people to open up their pocketbooks.
And of course, having a long table of terrariums with giant centipedes and huge insects certainly helps too.
More on Habitat Conservation
Conservation Groups Need to be Held Accountable for Tiger Protection
Destroying Ecosytems is Bad Business, Big Companies Invest in Nature
The Wildlife Conservation Society Connects the Dots between Climate Change and Species Decline