March’s Holidays Celebrating the Natural Environment
March is a month filled with days to celebrate the Earth. There are five days this month that focus on celebrating different aspects of our planet. These observances are World Wildlife Day, Daylight Savings, National Panda Day, the First Day of Spring, and International Day of Forests. World Wildlife Day starts the celebration early in the month and helps to represent what the other observance days stand for.
It is appropriate for March to have so many days featuring the plants and animals of the world because the First Day of Spring falls in March. As winter comes to an end and new life sprouts up, being the perfect time for people to take some time to appreciate our natural environment.
March 3rd is World Wildlife Day, a day to celebrate and raise awareness of the world’s wild animals and plants. The world relies on wildlife and biodiversity-based resources to meet humanity’s needs: like food, fuel, medicines, housing, clothing and more. World Wildlife Day reserves a day for the world to acknowledge and appreciate the broad wildlife that makes society and nature beautiful. This year’s theme is “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation,” celebrating international collaboration and global sustainability. As stated on the World Wildlife Day website, “Successful partnerships for conservation must find ways of including business if we are to reverse the loss in biodiversity.”
The focus is on two categories, one natural and one human led. Marine life is one featured category this year – with around 70% of the earth covered by water, the impact of ocean conservation is incredibly important. The second featured category is business. Conservation efforts need to be funded and in collaboration with businesses – an area that, in the past, has been seen as exploitative and unsustainable, according to CITES. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) is an international agreement between governments that aims to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.
World Wildlife Day History
On March 3rd, 1973, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) was signed. In honor of the convention, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) picked March 3 as World Wildlife Day and gave the responsibility of facilitator for the global observance of this special day for wildlife to CITES.
CITES helps to guide the world when conducting business within the wildlife trade, which is estimated to be worth billions. The extensive wildlife trade can lead to exploitation, sometimes even to the extent of complete habitat loss and extinction. World Wildlife Day celebrates the cooperation of the 184 countries signed to CITES and the collective work done to protect the environment and grow to conduct more sustainable business.
Along with CITES, World Wildlife Day is supported by the United Nations, the United Nations Development Program, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, National Geographic and Jackson Wild.
Indiana’s Wildlife Protection
Indiana is home to hundreds of native species of wild animals and plants, many of them found in our 39 state forests and parks. Managing much of our Hoosier land and wildlife is the Visiting these parks and forests in Indiana is a great way to welcome spring and celebrate the many nature-focused observations of March.
The International Center recognizes World Wildlife Day and supports the celebration and the combined efforts of the UN and CITES to spread awareness about the holiday and the planet we all call home.
By Meg Lunn, marketing and communications intern