December 28, 2022

Recognizing the Endangered Species Act

Posted by Laura Guertin


The end of December through early January is a time filled with schools closed for a holiday break, families gathering for celebrations…. and lost in all the festivities is the anniversary of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries are the two federal agencies that enforce the Act, including the implementation of provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)


This video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service serves as an Endangered Species Act Overview.

The text of the Endangered Species Act can be found online as a PDF (USFWS) and easily searchable on a web page (NOAA).


The Endangered Species Act is still very much being applied to terrestrial and marine species, with the status of organisms moving in a positive direction, in the wrong direction, or staying the same.


Having a species listed as threatened or endangered is a complex process, requiring an documentation of not just the “numbers” but an exploration into the human/cultural connection and use of the organism.


The Endangered Species Act has several success stories, such as some species found along the Louisiana coast. I created a quilt celebrating that the American alligator was determined to be fully recovered and removed from the Endangered Species List in 1987, the brown pelican was delisted in November 2009, and the Louisiana black bear was delisted in 2016. (*see full blog post describing more about these species – and the quilt!).

photo of hanging quilt with images of a brown pelican, black bear, and alligator


Although schools are currently not in session and many of us are not around our colleagues or at our laboratories and institutions, consider ways to share this important piece of legislation once the new year begins. There is a National Endangered Species Day that takes place the third Friday in May each year, but why wait? Help students understand the challenges and solutions for protecting species in the U.S. and across the globe.

To view the list of current threatened/endangered species, visit: