Love Nature. Explore Nature. Defend Nature.

March is a time to celebrate nature's rebirth. The days grow longer. The sun shines warmer. Birds migrate north again, filling our yards with cheerful morning trills. Gardeners sharpen their pruners and prepare soil for outdoor planting.

We're making March "We Love Nature" month and are launching an online series celebrating nature and the ways we explore and defend it. We hope this series inspires you and reinvigorates your passionate commitment to conservation and your love of nature.

Tips on Getting Outdoors and Enjoying Nature

The last week of March, with the weather getting warmer, now is the time to get outdoors. Here are tips on birding, biking, photographing nature, enjoying nature with kids, gardening, and hiking.

Share your own comments and tips on gardening, hiking and photographing nature.

Nature Recovering

Celebrate the first week of spring by learning about three amazing nature recovery stories.

Iconic American rivers in trouble

Celebrate International Rivers Day by exploring two of America's most iconic — and threatened — rivers, the Colorado and Mississippi.

Global warming and threatened wildlife

Warming and Wildlife Slideshow >> Meet 12 of nature's treasures threatened by climate change.

The Arctic Fox relies on polar bear leftovers for survival — but as melting Arctic ice make hunting more difficult for polar bears, the arctic foxes' scavenging becomes more arduous. The warmer temperatures are also inviting red foxes — which are double the size of arctic foxes — into more northern habitats. The increased competition is cutting the arctic fox's access to smaller prey.

Arctic fox >>

Melting Antarctic ice spells trouble for the iconic Emperor Penguin. One colony of emperor penguins on the rapidly melting West Antarctic Peninsula appears to have already disappeared, and researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute predict an 80% decline of another well-studied colony in East Antarctica by 2100.

Emperor >>

Millions of adult Adélie Penguins nest exclusively in Antarctica. Up to 99% of their diet is made up of Antarctic krill, which thrive in the nutrient-rich waters under pack ice. With rising temperatures and melting ice, Antarctic krill have declined by up to 80% in key regions over the last quarter century. Faced with food shortages, Adélie populations are decreasing, with one rookery on Litchfield Island declining from about 900 breeding pairs in 1974 to just 5 nests in 2009.

Adélie penguin >>

Climate change is one of the Great Barrier Reef's biggest threats. Elevated ocean temperatures have already caused mass bleaching events, which scientists predict will happen annually by mid-century if carbon emissions continue to increase at the current rate. In the meantime, many fish will abandon the reef in a search for more favorable temperatures, leaving predatory birds struggling to find food.

Great Barrier >>

The Canada Lynx is specially adapted to hunting in snow. Without it, the Canada lynx can't hunt snowshoe hares, its primary prey. Deep snow typically excludes the lynx's main competitors — coyotes and bobcats — and its predator, the mountain lion, from its winter habitat. Less snow cover could mean more competition and predation from other carnivores.

Canada lynx >>

The vibrant, easily recognizable Flamingo breeds and feeds in coastal wetlands — a habitat that, by 2100, will become more susceptible to floods and sea level rise. Some areas will be able to adapt and wetlands will move inland, but in more developed areas, those wetlands may disappear completely.

Flamingo >>

For Sea Turtles, the memory of where they hatched remains engrained in them forever. Decades later, they return their beach of origin to take part in their ancient nesting ritual. But as sea levels rise, these beaches are at risk. In addition, a sea turtle's gender is determined by the temperature of the sand in which its egg is incubated. In the warmer part of the nest, eggs become female — so increasing temperatures on these nesting beaches will lead to more female hatchlings, threatening genetic diversity.

Sea turtle >>

An endearing little furball, the American Pika is well-known to hikers who hear these hamster-sized mammals whistling from rockpiles and talus slopes in Canada and the Rocky Mountain West. But pikas are extremely sensitive to heat — even brief exposures (as little as a few hours) to temperatures above 78 degrees F can be fatal. They also rely on snowpack for insulation in the winter. In the southern portions of its range, some populations already occupy the highest altitudes, with no place to move upward to escape the warming climate.

Pika >>

Blue Whales are the largest animals known to have ever lived on earth — their tongues alone can weigh as much as an elephant. But even they are not immune to the effects of climate change. In summer months, blue whales patrol feeding grounds near the Arctic and Antarctic oceans gorging on huge quantities of krill, up to four tons a day. Melting glaciers and permafrost are flooding oceans with fresh water, decreasing salinity levels. That and warmer seas could shift krill location and abundance, threatening the blue whales' main food source.

Blue whale >>

The extremely rare Scissor-Tailed Hummingbird only exists in the Paria Peninsula in north-east Venezuela. Their habitat is already threatened by illegal forest burning and other forms of habitat destruction — but climate change is the real impending danger. Due to sea-level rise, people are already moving farther inland and higher up the mountains. The further they move, the closer the already-endangered scissor-tailed hummingbird's habitat comes to complete destruction.

Hummingbird >>

The Costa Rican Variable Harlequin Toad (a.k.a. the clown frog) lives among the rocks and crevices near streams in humid lowlands. Over the last few decades, climate change has been taking its toll on this colorful creature, and it has nearly completely disappeared. Scientists have concluded that a long-term warming trend is responsible, as subtle weather changes gave rise to deadly parasites and pathogens that have nearly wiped the Harlequin toad off the map.

Clown frog >>

If you're wondering if climate change can really claim an entire species, here's your answer. Scientists believe that global warming is what caused the extinction of the Golden Toad of Costa Rica. They lived in a pristine cloud forest, nearly untouched by humans. Their entire ecosystem heavily depended on the formation of clouds and mist — but with climate change, the rise in temperatures and higher mist formations triggered disease outbreaks that infected their skin. Their disappearance also coincided with an extreme dry period, which put tadpoles at risk. The golden toad is our canary in the coal mine. We are changing our planet's very ecology, and putting other species in grave danger. It's only a matter of time before we find ourselves at risk as well.

Golden toad >>

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Thanks to the support of dedicated people like you, we can continue to make a difference.

Show your support of nature this spring by becoming a monthly donor today

Thanks to the support of dedicated people like you, we can continue to make a difference.