We have a polar bear. It came in the mail.
My son received the plush critter from family in Toronto via WWF Canada's symbolic species adoption program. Aunt Sheila gets our lighter footprint and nature lovin' ways! (Don't worry, no living creatures were harmed to make the plush toy. And no harmful dyes were used or no PVC or other materials with chlororganics were used.)
Interested in adoption programs to aid in wildlife and nature conservation? Here are some ideas:
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How to help wildlife for $50
Become a Chimp Guardian and help the Jane Goodall Institute's work to conserve habitat, protect chimpanzees in the wild and care for orphans at the Tchimpounga Sanctuary. You'll receive a photograph and biography of your adoptee, a certificate and fact sheets. Upgrade to receive a plush toy chimp!
How to help wildlife for $48
Adopt a Great Blue Heron nest from the Stanley Park Ecology Society. You'll get regular updates on the status of your nest (and the entire heron colony) throughout the breeding season, an annual heronry report and a springtime walking tour! You'll also receive a certificate of adoption and all you ever wanted to know about Great Blue Herons.
How to help wildlife for $40
Plush toys seem to be all the rage when it comes to symbolic adopt-a-critter programs and WWF Canada is no exception. Get one by adopting a red panda, orangutan or blue shark. You'll also receive a personalized adoption certificate, a paper gift bag and a species poster.
How to help wildlife for $25
Adopt a bat from Bat Conservation International. They don't come live with you — it's symbolic, silly! You'll receive a plush toy (see the theme?), adoption certificate and a complete species profile.
How to help wildlife for $0
Adopt the city block where you live or work! It only costs a bit of time. Many cities, like Vancouver, have programs to encourage block cleanups and help keep neighbourhoods vibrant, safe and healthy for people and urban wildlife.
Not an urbanite? Rural residents can sign up for highway/roadside cleanups, too. For example, the Province of Alberta organizes a clean-up campaign each spring.
Got another adoption program to recommend?
Lindsay Coulter, a fellow Queen of Green