SciQuilt – Starting with the Endangered Species Act

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January 2, 2023 by Dr. G

(*Note that much of the text here is a repost from my AGU blog post, Recognizing the Endangered Species Act)

The end of December through early January is a time filled with schools closed for a holiday break, families gathering for celebrations…. and lost in all the festivities is the anniversary of the U.S. Endangered Species Act. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries are the two federal agencies that enforce the Act, including the implementation of provisions of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Flora and Fauna (CITES)

This video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service serves as an Endangered Species Act Overview.

The text of the Endangered Species Act can be found online as a PDF (USFWS) and easily searchable on a web page (NOAA).

The Endangered Species Act is still very much being applied to terrestrial and marine species, with the status of organisms moving in a positive direction, in the wrong direction, or staying the same. (See this recent article, Federal authorities say North Atlantic right whale must remain on endangered list, and Emperor Penguin Gets Endangered Species Act Protections). Having a species listed as threatened or endangered is a complex process, requiring an documentation of not just the “numbers” but an exploration into the human/cultural connection and use of the organism. (See U.S. mulls stronger protections for iconic Caribbean conch, raising concern among fishers).

The Endangered Species Act has several success stories, such as some species found along the Louisiana coast. I created a quilt celebrating that the American alligator was determined to be fully recovered and removed from the Endangered Species List in 1987, the brown pelican was delisted in November 2009, and the Louisiana black bear was delisted in 2016. (*see full blog post describing more about these species – and a quilt from my Stitching Hope for the Louisiana Coast collection).


I provide all of this beginning material to “set the stage” for a mini-quilt collection I’ve created in honor of the 50-year anniversary of the Endangered Species Act (signed into law on December 28, 1973). This post shares the first quilt in the collection, which serves as an overview and introduction for the quilts yet to come.

I put the center fabric in the shape of a stop sign to call further attention to the need to stop with the human actions and activities that are harming the environment. If the environments are altered, then the species that exist in these locations cannot be effectively protected or have their communities sustained into the future. Some of the challenges listed on the fabric need to be addressed quickly to ensure that the species shown, as well as additional animal and plant species from land and freshwater/marine systems, do not become listed as threatened or endangered.

The background fabric has terms such as “recycle” and “environment” with additional green-themed items. All of these actions and behaviors are also necessary for our entire Earth system to have a healthy and stable existence into the future. Protecting our species so they do not become extinct is one part of our sustainability efforts.

The backing fabric shows Planet Earth with the words “Save Our Planet” below.

The quilt measures 17 inches by 17 inches and was completed January 1, 2023. More mini quilts with endangered species will be posted in 2023, leading up to the date of the 50th ESA anniversary.

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