National Wildlife Federation (NWF) will be helping children dive into the fun of the 76th annual National Wildlife Week, March 17-23. Families, youth organizations, and communities will be coming together to celebrate the many ways water helps sustain wildlife and enhance the environment.

With a theme of “Wildlife and Water: From the Mountains to the Rivers to the Oceans,” NWF will provide resources for families, schools, individuals and organizations to participate and will highlight the critical impact that water resources have on wildlife by showcasing ways wildlife are connected to water. These resources include a poster, educational webinars, lesson plans, activities, event-planning tips, and a calendar of events. Visit to learn more.

“National Wildlife Week has inspired generations to learn and reflect on wildlife and our environment,” says Patrick Fitzgerald, senior director of education management at National Wildlife Federation.  “We encourage every American to take a moment during this week to learn about water, a resource often taken for granted. Join in the celebration by taking your kids fishing, cleaning up a local stream, or planting a tree. Every action helps wildlife.”

Here are 10 ways to celebrate National Wildlife Week:

  1. Be an Advocate for Wildlife with NWF
    • Make sure the Gulf is restored for dolphins

It’s been almost four years since the BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico began, yet bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf are still suffering. Edit and send a message to the Secretary of Commerce, urging her to make sure BP fines are used to help dolphins and restore their habitat.

  1. Help conserve water at school by joining the Eco-Schools USA “Water Pathways” program.
  1. Use NWF’s Wildlife and Plant Guide to learn about and identify some of America’s marine and coastal wildlife. Also, make sure to post your wildlife findings on NWF’s kid-friendly social network for nature lovers, Wildlife Nation.

4.     Use NatureFind to find a local park

o    Find parks, trails, and other nature sites and use the advanced search to find locations by the type of site or by the activities you would like to do there (fishing, camping, walking, water sports, etc.).

  1. Supply Water for Wildlife
    • Create a puddling area, pond or rain garden in your yard. Attract dragonflies and damselflies to your backyard.
  1. Host a Garden Party for Frogs
    • Create the perfect backyard frog habitat.
  1. Join a Stream/River/Beach Cleanup
    • Organizations across the United States are holding stream and beach cleanups, fishing events, restoration events, water conservation festivals, classes and more. Find an event near you.
  1. Use Natural Fertilizers
  • Use natural fertilizers such as compost, and only use as much fertilizer as you need to prevent too many nutrients from getting into water bodies and causing algal blooms.
  1. Practice water-wise gardening
  1. Go Geochaching with Ranger Rick
    • Ranger Rick’s Geocache Trails (ages 6-14) — Geocaching is like high-tech outdoor treasure hunt using GPS. Join Ranger Rick and his pals on a geocaching adventure.

There are also a host of downloadable materials associated with National Wildlife Week. The attractive color poster developed for this special week features wildlife with a close relationship with water, including the Hawaiian monk seal, river otter, whooping crane and blue crab. The poster can be downloaded as a PDF for free from the Wildlife Week website.

National Wildlife Week was first observed in 1938 under the name “National Wildlife Restoration Week.” Past spokespeople of National Wildlife Week include Walt Disney, Shirley Temple, and Robert Redford. Now in its 76th year, National Wildlife Week is a part of National Wildlife Federation’s 10 Million Kids Outdoors Campaign. This three-year initiative seeks a future in which all children spend time outside each day, creating a generation of happier and healthier children with more awareness and connection to the natural world. National Wildlife Federation has worked to connect children and youth with nature for decades, inspiring children through Ranger Rick magazine, working with educators to get kids learning outdoors, and helping parents find new ways to engage their children outside.

Logo courtesy National Wildlife Federation

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