Embarrassingly, our family is still working our way through the piles of chocolate we received for Christmas, and cut flowers? I’m not a fan.
Instead, our family will opt to support wildlife this year for Valentine’s Day by symbolically adopting a wolf couple.
If wolves aren’t your favorites, there are many other ways to protect animals and their habitats- there is certain to be a deserving organization that fits your family and your budget.
Animal adoptions are a great way to raise environmental awareness in our children. Children share a natural affinity for animals; knowing that they are supporting an animal will encourage them to learn about that particular species, their place in the wild, and the need for conservation efforts to preserve them.
Defenders of Wildlife offers 24 adoption options, from wolf pairs to hummingbirds to Beluga whales. The World Wildlife Federation offers over 90! Packages include a plush animal, adoption certificate and fact sheet.
The Grand Canyon Association runs an Adopt-a-Lion program which helps to preserve not only the mountain lion, the park’s largest natural predator, but also all other Grand Canyon wildlife. This package also includes an adoption certificate and a “really cute!” 12-inch plush lion.
Rainforests are the most diverse ecosystems on earth; an estimated 40-75% of all species on Earth are to be found there. Support work to halt rainforest destruction by adopting a quarter-acre or more of rainforest land through the Rainforest Alliance. Receive a framable certificate as a token of appreciation.
On a more local level, many zoos offer adoption programs. Become a “monkey’s uncle” or “brother bear” and help provide food, toys, and supplies for your adopted animal.
State parks sometimes offer adoption programs as well. Support the conservation of your local wildlife and the upkeep of the park by adopting a family of squirrels or a gaggle of geese.
Keep in mind that animal shelters, bird rescues, and wild animal refuges welcome support all through the year!
Chocolate and flowers last only a short while, but by supporting wildlife, I hope to cultivate an empathy for nature and its creatures, an eco-awareness, in my children that lasts a lifetime.
Photo Credit: Paul Stevenson under Creative Commons