Designating a Week for Wildlife

This Week in NWF History

Since 1936, the National Wildlife Federation has worked to conserve the nation’s wildlife and wild places. As part of our 80th anniversary celebration, we are recognizing important moments in our history that continue to make an impact today.

Poster from the first National Wildlife Week, March 20-26, 1938

Poster from the first National Wildlife Week, March 20-26, 1938

During his noon appointment on February 24, 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt met with Ding Darling, the founder of the National Wildlife Federation, and received the first sheet of conservation stamps commemorating National Wildlife Restoration Week. Celebrated in March that year, this important week was aimed to educate the public about environmental conservation and the preservation of our natural resources and lands for wildlife and communities.

National Wildlife Restoration Week, now known as National Wildlife Week, is the National Wildlife Federation’s longest-running education program designed to connect budding conservationists of all ages to the awesome wonders of wildlife. Each year, we pick a theme and provide fun educational materials and activities for educators and caregivers to use with kids. Last year’s theme was Living with Wildlife.

The 2016 celebration, which will take place the week of March 14, has a theme of Members Matter: Working Together for Wildlife. Throughout the week, we will highlight members and programs that have made a positive difference for wildlife in areas across the nation, from helping to preserve polar bear habitat to planting milkweed for monarch butterflies.

To help spread the message of conservation in years where public awareness was limited, National Wildlife Week planners recruited celebrity spokespeople to help explain the week’s significance. Famous faces include Guy Williams (Zorro), Shirley Temple, Bing Crosby, and Robert Redford. Walt Disney was also an honorary chair for multiple years, delivering PSAs in 1956, 1957, 1961, and 1964. You can enjoy some of his vintage public service announcements in the compilation below:

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As you can see from Disney’s PSAs, the real spokespeople helping advocate for wildlife conservation have always been our members and those who care about wildlife conservation – you! Stay tuned for this year’s National Wildlife Week to learn how you can make a difference for wildlife in your area.

Join NWF Join the National Wildlife Federation and celebrate National Wildlife Week this year!

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