Endangered Species in for Big Year at Golden Gate National Park


Do you live in San Francisco or are you planning to visit the city sometime in 2010?

If so, check out the Golden Gate National Parks Endangered Species Big Year contest.

It’s based on the annual competitive birding event that was highlight a few years ago with Mark Obmascik’s best-selling book The Big Year: A Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession.

But instead of focusing solely on birds, the GGPN’s Big Year contest wants to encourage people to converse with nature while spotting the 36 endangered species that live within its 75,500 acres spread across three counties (Marin, San Francisco and San Mateo).

And it’s not just about spotting interesting species such as the Western Snowy Plover, the North American Green Sturgeon, the San Mateo Thornmint, the Marin Dwarf Flax and the Mission Blue Butterfly. It’s also about doing something to help each of the species.

Participating is easy. First sign into the Wild Equity Institute’s online community. From there, you will receive an email with a link back to a webpage that provides a GGNP Endangered Species Big Year contest entry form. Submit this and you’ll have access to the endangered species checklist, along with an Endangered Species Big Year Calendar, and information on what you can do to help them recover.

For each species that you find in your wanderings around the national park, there is a specific recovery action that you must perform to help protect them, ranging from giving up your car and walking, biking, or using public transport for a week to volunteering to help restore a species natural habitat.

Turns out that in many cases finding the species is much easier than performing the recovery action.

But only those that do both will be in the running at the end of the year to win the  main prize of a $1000 gift certificate to retailers REI or Eagle Optics.

Contestants are expected to follow strict ethical guidelines and work on an honor system regarding spotting of species and performance of many of the recovery actions.

Sure sounds like a great way for locals and visitors alike to commune with nature.

Interested readers should head to the Wild Equity Institute website for full details.

Image: Mike Baird