World Habitat Day is today, October 5th! Established by the United Nations in 1985, World Habitat Day was created to bring forth awareness about the state of our cities and towns, and to recognize the right of all to adequate shelter. It occurs on the first Monday of October and each year includes a Global Observance conference in a different location of the world. Mississippi Aquarium recognizes the important impact of this day on humanity but would also like to bring forth awareness of a few of our local animal species and ways we can all work to protect and restore native animal habitats.
The Mississippi Gulf Coast is home to numerous endangered, threatened, and at-risk species. Mississippi residents are probably most familiar with the state’s efforts to preserve the nesting sites of the Least tern on our local beaches, protect the waters of the Mississippi Sound where juvenile Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles can be found, rebuild the population of the Mississippi Sandhill crane, or restore habitat loss for the Gulf sturgeon. These are all important actions that you can support by donating to conservation organizations like Mississippi Aquarium.
There are also many actions you can take around your home that will help create shelters, enhance natural habitats, and provide for the important native species of our Coast! Remember to conserve water in your home and recycle when possible. Say no to using plastic straws at restaurants, and bring reusable bags with you when you shop for groceries; these are two important ways to cut down on the need for single-use plastics. Install bat houses and bird houses to provide important shelter options for wildlife, or plant a tree to provide shelter for birds, mammals, and insects. Create a pollinator garden with native plants that will attract and provide for bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Introduce water features into your yard, whether it’s something as simple as a birdbath or as elaborate as a man-made pond. Hang hummingbird and bird feeders. Most of these ideas are relatively simple to execute and can have a huge impact in protecting some of the amazing animals that live along our beautiful Gulf Coast.
Whatever act you take, we hope that you will be inspired by World Habitat Day, not only to reflect on what you can do to improve the existing needs of humanity, but also to identify how you can help restore or create habitats for local animal species in your own backyard!
If you’d like to share your positive environmental impact with us on social media, be sure to tag Mississippi Aquarium! Together, we can all make a positive difference in our world.
By Shea Eaves, Biologist at Mississippi Aquarium