Endangered Species Day

Today is Endangered Species Day, a day dedicated to learning about the Endangered Species Act, to the species it protects, and to celebrate the many recovery success stories listed species have seen over the past several decades.

Here’s some good news: While there are about 1,959 species currently listed as “Threatened” or “Endangered,”  the Center for Biological Diversity released a report yesterday that found that “90 percent of species are recovering at the rate specified by their federal recovery plan.” Read more here.

Alabama Beach Mouse (Photo credit: US FWS)

Coastal Alabama, as well as the entire Gulf Coast, is a hotspot for biodiversity. Hundreds of species of fish, birds, marine mammals, plants, insects, and shellfish call our Coastal Alabama home. Did you know that Alabama has 20 listed species in just the two coastal counties (Mobile and Baldwin Counties)? Some of these species have populations in other parts of the country or the Gulf Coast, others are endemic to Coastal Alabama, meaning they are only found in this part of the world.

Here are some of Alabama’s fantastic endangered species. Click here to find the full list.

Birds: Bald Eagle, Wood Stork, Piping Plover

Clams: Alabama Heelsplitter, Southern Clubshell

Fishes: Alabama Sturgeon*, Gulf Sturgeon

Flowering Plants: American Shaffseed

Mammals: West Indian Manatee, Perdido Key Beach Mouse, Alabama Beach Mouse*

Reptiles: Hawksbill Sea Turtle, Leatherback Sea Turtle, Kemp’s Ridley Sea Turtle, Green Sea Turtle, Alabama Red-belly Turtle, Eastern Indigo Snake, Indigo Snake, Black Pine Snake, Gopher Tortoise

*Alabama is lead field office

Loggerhead Sea Turtle (Photo credit: US FWS)

To learn more about the Endangered Species Act, check out these links:





Hawaii Becomes the First State in the U.S. to Ban Plastic Bags! | Surfrider Foundation

Congratulations to the State of Hawaii for taking a bold step towards decreased plastic pollution! You can make a difference too by making the switch to reusable shopping bags. There are many stylish and functional ways to reduce plastic pollution in your community.


Hawaii Becomes the First State in the U.S. to Ban Plastic Bags! | Surfrider Foundation.


When the governor of Honolulu County signed into law the plastic bag ban last week that the County Council approved, Hawaii became the first state in the nation where every city and unincorporated area is covered by a plastic bag ban.  This was not done by the state legislature, but instead by all four County Councils – a great example of local activists and decision makers addressing the serious issue of plastic pollution.

The City and County of Honolulu is the last of Hawaii’s counties to enact a ban on plastic bags at the point of sale. Maui and Kauai counties already have plastic bag bans in place while Hawaii County passed an ordinance that will take effect next year.  While we are excited that the plastic bag bans have been enacted, there has been a reported increase in paper bag use from locals.  Paper bags biodegrade and don’t have the same impact on wildlife but there are issues with any disposable product so local Surfrider Chapters will continue to push for more reusable bag education and potentially a fee on paper bags.

For now, let’s celebrate this important moment and spread the word to bring your reusable bags when traveling to Hawaii.  Congrats to all of the Surfrider activists and other organizations involved!

The Drawing!

At last, the moment you’ve been patiently awaiting since April 1…the winners of the Make-A-Difference Month weekly drawing!

Every time you commented, shared, or liked one of our posts, we put your name in a hat (actually, it was an excel spreadsheet). Each week we drew two names, and then drew one more overall winner, who will be receiving a free Mobile Baykeeper Phins shirt!

Congratulations to the following winners! We will be contacting you for mailing information. To everyone else, thank you so much for reading, engaging, and making a difference with us this month! We hope you’ll stick around and keep learning with us and challenging yourself as we all strive to make a positive impact in our communities and in our world.

Week 1: Carlee S. and Andrea B.

Week 2: Jeanine W. and Glenn A.

Week 3: Tina T. and Pamela B.

Week 4: Lisa G. and Donna A.

Week 5: Mary S. and Genevieve B.

Overall: Sally E.

Organic Seed Potatoes and Other Organic Seeds

If Elyse’s potato-related gardening post inspired you last week, and you’re interested in planting your own patio potatoes, check out Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah, Iowa.

They are selling several varieties of organic seed potatoes for 40% while their stock lasts! Seed Savers Exchange is a great group, aiming to preserve heritage strains and connect gardeners with the best seed quality possible! To clarify, this is an unsolicited endorsement of Seed Savers, a friend of mine used to work for them so I know they are high quality!

From their website:

“SSE offers only USDA Certified Seed Potatoes that have passed repeated inspections through out the growing season and post-harvest. Potatoes can be planted as soon as the soil can be worked. Each package of potatoes contains a detailed planting guide. SSE reserves the right to substitute a similar variety in case of a crop failure or shortage.”

Check it out here! http://www.seedsavers.org/Items.aspx?hierId=88

They are also offering a 30%-off sale on select varieties of seed packets. View sale items here: http://www.seedsavers.org/Items.aspx?hierId=98.

Happy gardening!

Make-A-Difference Month Impact Survey

This was our first Make-A-Difference Month ever, the first of many to come, we hope! The staff at Mobile Baykeeper all feel that Make-A-Difference has made an impact on our lives–now we want to hear the impact it has had on your life! 

Take a few minutes to fill out our survey to let us know which posts were your favorites, what we can do better next time, and what you’d like to see from us in the coming weeks and months!

Take the Survey!

Also, if you were inspired by one of our posts, please send us an email and let us know! Share a few sentences, a few paragraphs, a blog post, or pictures! In the next week or so we will post stories of people making a difference, as well as the winners of our weekly drawing! Send emails to bolson@mobilebaykeeper.org.

Thanks again to everyone who read, commented, liked, and shared our posts this month! You are all our inspiration. Together, we can make a difference!

Versatile Blogger Award!

Thank you for the nomination!

Intergenerational nominated Make-A-Difference Month for a Versatile Blogging Award! Thank you so much!! Following VBA Rules, here are 15 (or so) blogs that we have come across, as well as 7 things about the editor of Make-A-Difference Month (me!).

Awesome Blogs to Check Out

(1) “My Botanical Garden” has already been nominated, but it is worth checking out this blog to read about what Tamara is up to! I love the pictures and the scientific information about the plants she features. Thank you again for the nomination, for being such a great and constant reader, and for doing your part to make a difference!

(2) The Maya Guesthouse – This is an awesome project in Switzerland to a super eco-friendly, sustainable, and fully functional hotel. Check out their progress, they are uploading new photos and information all the time!

(3) The Jolly Good News – I love the sentiment of this blog; there is so much negative and troubling news out there, but there are also great things happening around the world every day. Whether it’s a medical innovation, a restaurant being nominated best in town, or exciting environmental news, there is always something to celebrate. I recommend subscribing to this blog so there are at least a few rays of sunshine in you email inbox every day, regardless of what else is going on in your world.

(4) The Frog Blog – The Rainforest Alliance posts about two things that I think are really important: (1) environmental education efforts in the US and around the world, and (2) a compilation of global environmental news. They share some really cool lessons/ideas for teaching about sustainability and personal impact on the environment, and it is great to have a weekly list of resources/articles to keep up-to-date with important developments, technologies, and information in the environmental world. Thanks for all you do, Rainforest Alliance!

(5) Greener Heights – I must admit that I have not spent as much time reading this blog as I would like, but I am so glad to have found this resource about green roofs! I am proud to be an alum of a college with a green roof on the science building, and am also excited to learn more about how green roofs work in general. Maybe one day I’ll work somewhere with a green roof — maybe I’ll help them get a green roof! Thanks for this!

(6) Confessions from a Novice Gardener – Blog posts are short, sweet, and often consist of beautiful photographs of flowers, plants, and the stages of gardening. It’s wonderful living vicariously through someone else as I don’t currently have my own backyard garden to maintain.

(7) Book It – This blog is my inspiration to keep reading, widely and often. KatieO posts at least one book review a week. Even though most of them won’t make my reading list (there are too many books and just not enough time!) I really appreciate knowing what’s out there and getting an idea of what sort of books might appeal to me. Thanks, KatieO!

7 Things About Me

(1) I ate a mango for breakfast this morning – it was delightful.

(2) I am thrilled with the VBA Nomination!

(3) I feel guilty for not posting this sooner, as I was nominated several days ago.

(4) I may be taking a trip to New Orleans this weekend, because my dad and his best friend may be spontaneously flying down to visit!

(5) I am currently charging my cell phone with solar power!

(6) I have two tomato plants, a basil plant, and a mint plant that I am planning to transport to the office in the next few weeks so I can grow fresh vegetables and herbs on our balcony.

(7) I am excited that people are still reading Make-A-Difference Month blog posts even though the Month is officially over.

Thank you to everyone who has helped make Make-A-Difference Month a success, and thank you to all the bloggers out there who are making a difference in their own ways, whether it’s gardening, sharing good information, or simply spreading the good news. Together we are making a difference!