Posts Tagged ‘endangered’

I am sitting on the bus, quietly studying the magazine in front of me.  Many other of the passengers are doing the same with their smart phones, iPods, novels and newspapers, silently wrapped in their own worlds of text and typed conversation.  Glancing out the window, I watch the houses and small corner markets go by, each beginning to start the day’s activities as the sun breathes some energy into the still dozing city.

Suddenly, a harsh cry pierces the air inside the bus.  It shrieks and moans, ending with an almost laughing chitter.   Everyone inside snaps to attention and is dragged out of their placid cocoons, each searching anxiously for the source of the racket.  The haunting wail repeats, and I notice more and more pairs of eyes begin to focus on the space immediately next to where I am sitting.  Again, the wild screech sounds its alarm, and I realize the source of the distress is coming from inside of my purse.

“Shoot.  Sorry, I forgot to put this on silent.”  I reach into my bag and turn down the volume on my cell phone.  For several years, I have been using the call of the Common Loon as my ring tone, a sound file I downloaded from the Center for Biological Diversity’s Rare Earthtones website.  For some reason, I envisioned the haunting lament of the bird to be a unique and humorous way to signal a call.  Usually I get a few laughs and some bewildered glances, but on full volume the effect is admittedly a bit startling.  Luckily, the site has more mellow alternatives, such as the gentle song of the humpback whale or demure hooting of a burrowing owl.

To download your free ring tone, visit the Rare Earthtones site, click on the “Download” tab, and sign up for their email newsletter.  Then, preview the file of your favorite endangered animal, and once you find one that suits your fancy, submit to have the file texted to your phone.  After that, follow your phone’s instructions for saving and dropping the sound into your ringtone library.  Soon, you can answer to the howl of an endangered wolf, croaks of rare frogs, and growls of exotic tigers instead of the mundane buzzes, bleeps and boring jingles on every other phone in the urban jungle.

Turn your Call of the Mild into a Call of the Wild!

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it is the image that leaves us speechless that affects us in the most profound ways.  Powerful imagery has a history of influencing political change, capturing moments of beauty, and crystalizing the fleeting instants of everyday life.  It is with this understanding of the significance of striking photography and video that ARKive was formed.  In an effort to build awareness of the world’s endangered species at a time where rates of extinction are the highest in Earth’s known history, ARKive serves as an online repository for images and recordings of the world’s most vulnerable life forms.

With support from the World Wildlife Fund, Conservation International, BirdLife International, IUCN, UNEP-WCMC, Wildescreen USA Inc., the London Museum of Natural History, Kew Botanical Gardens and the Smithsonian, ARKive has brought together over 3,500 of the world’s foremost filmmakers and photographers to create an extraordinary collection of plants and animals.  The organization has also collaborated with Google to design layers for its Google Earth program and is a major contributor to the Institutional Council of the Encyclopedia of Life.  Eventually, the site hopes to reach its goal of completing full profiles for each of the 17,000 species on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Species.

It is remarkably easy to get lost exploring this website.  Between browsing the spectacular photos of flora and fauna, watching video of my favorite animals, sending e-cards to my friends, and listening to Sir David Atenborough’s introduction to the ARKive project, I easily spent a good hour tooling around and feeding my inner nature nerd.  Teachers will enjoy the education portion of the site that features downloadable resources for several different age groups.  Each section includes classroom presentations, scrapbooks, teacher and student packets, and extension materials in a variety of engaging games and interactive formats.

ARKive is an amazing synthesis of technology and nature and is an innovative way to connect with elements of nature that we would otherwise not be able to experience.  From tigers and aardvarks to fungus and flowers, you can explore the world from your desktop and perhaps capture the last glimpses of unique organisms on this planet .

Have a favorite endangered plant or animal?  Let us know!

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