Educational "Extinction Trail" & National Tour
As of 2021, over 128,000 species are thought to be endangered, and over 16,000 animal and plant species are on the brink of extinction. This is a truly shocking number that only continues to skyrocket every year as humans destroy habitats and neglect the welfare of our wonderful creatures.
We need to act NOW.
We wanted to create this educational Extinction Trail to highlight the critical status of so many of our species, and to encourage positive changes that we can all make. This trail is also a touring display, bringing this important message to cities across the UK.
Humans are responsible for approximately 99% of endangered species.
The most prevalent cause for much of the world’s endangerment and extinction is deforestation. Deforestation is essentially the destruction of habitats and eco-systems, which causes animal and plant species to lose their homes. Many animals are therefore unable to adapt to new conditions and can no longer locate an appropriate food source, causing them to rapidly deplete in numbers before eventually becoming extinct. Other factors include pollution, overhunting, overconsumption and climate change.
Through our ever-booming population growth, widespread agricultural practises, greed for the illegal wildlife trade causing widespread poaching, and highly pollutive production industries, humans are the most prominent cause of the extinction crisis currently plaguing our planet.
To raise better awareness of the extinction crisis and to highlight the importance of doing what we can to conserve our world’s wildlife, we have created an educational “Extinction Trail” right here at the Ironworks.
The trail has been specifically designed to educate children and young people about the negative effects that our day-to-day actions have on the environment and the animals living within it. The “Extinction Trail” will become a crucial part of our school and youth group trips, offering children the chance to explore the trail and learn a little bit more about the devastating impact we are having on our wildlife and the environment.
Once the trail is completed, every child will receive a certificate and be given the opportunity to make a ‘Conservation Promise’ regarding what they believe they can do to save our earth’s creatures. This promise can include, but is not limited to, conserving energy, reducing waste, improving their recycling efforts, reducing plastic use, not wasting food, and using more energy-efficient modes of transport such as walking or cycling.
The trail is the first of its kind in the UK and has been inspired by the incredible work that Extinction Rebellion do across the world to raise awareness over the world’s extinction crisis. It is spearheaded by our "Shropshire Woolly Mammoth" sculpture, a life-size sculpture inspired by the great woolly mammoth that roamed our earth thousands of years ago. Alongside the already extinct woolly mammoth sculpture, our “Extinction Trail” includes a number of metal animal sculptures modelled after creatures who are currently considered vulnerable or endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
Each sculpture includes an information board detailing the animal’s current conservation status, population numbers, and main extinction causes. This is an ongoing project whereby we intend to keep developing the sculptures and the animals and causes showcased.
What can you do to protect endangered species?
Educate your family and friends, recycle and buy more sustainable products, grow more native plants in your garden, reduce your water consumption and individual carbon footprint, avoid buying plastic products, volunteer with your local environmental group, and remain aware of the negative impact that our human species is having on the world. Together, we can all make a huge difference!