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Weekly Challenge # 23 – NIMBI for Local Endangered Species

February 23, 2014

blandings turtle

Can you identify the Blanding’s Turtle above? Have you seen one where you live? If not – you certainly could. They could be right in your backyard.

Many educators have heard the term NIMBY (Not in My Back Yard). This phrase typically represents the concept that everyone may think something needs to be done – but also believe it should not impact them. For instance, perhaps a recycling plant is needed – but to have it close to you your end of town means loud noise or smoke stacks that affect your own life.

However, our own human actions have a huge impact on upon local species and so I’d like to suggest NIMBY be changed to NIMBI (Now I Must Become Involved) as we learn and act upon our own local species at risk.

I have no issue and even encourage classes learning about world issues. The fate of the Giant Panda or the depletion of the Amazon Rainforest is significant and needs to be discussed and contemplated. The giant garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean needs to be taught no matter where you live as all streams lead to the oceans and all life is impacted by what occurs there. 

But this post is about the less marketed species. It is about learning your own daily impact on local endangered species.

In Ontario, where I live, there are dozens of species at risk. In my own neck of the woods, within a 30 minute drive I can find habitat that hosts Jefferson Salamander, Algonquin Ferns and Red-side Dace. The last one mentioned is actually a minnow found in the middle of Brampton in extremely urban creeks. This industrial/residential area is a last hold out for this species in the province.

Here is the full list and recovery plans for Ontario’s Species at Risk.

My siblings & parents live in Alberta, in and around Calgary. As a child myself I recall catching Northern Leopard Frogs by the dozens. Now they’ve all but disappeared out west. It can happen in a lifetime. Our own children may be telling such stories about the Monarch, honey bees or groundhogs which are all in significant decline.


I tell my students all the time that the most important thing they can do for the environment is to learn more about it. To raise money for Blue Whales or pandas is wonderful, however I doubt very much there are many classes in China raising money or awareness for the Spiny Softshelled Turtle in the Thames River in Southern Ontario.

National Wildlife Week is coming up from April 6th to 12th, 2014 and at that time they’ll likely be another challenge related to specific species at risk so this challenge will be in a way laying the foundation. Let’s learn what is in our own backyard and what our impacts are upon these species.

This week I’d like to challenge classes to not only learn about their local endangered species but share what they can do to help.  Perhaps a short video like a Canadian Wildlife Federation Hinterland’s Who’s Who.  You could create posters for around your school or even a Haiku Deck like this one.

As always, I encourage you to share what you’ve discovered! Good luck!

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