by Tonya Wiley, Havenworth Coastal Conservation
Seeking Wall for Endangered Sawfish Mural
Hey Florida, I’m working with the Sawfish Conservation Society, the Center for Biological Diversity, and artist Roger Peet to get us a sawfish mural (or two or three) as part of the Endangered Species Mural Project! We’re looking for an uninterrupted and unobstructed wall that’s 300-1200 square feet, in good shape with a smooth surface and a flat ground in front of it (in case a lift or scaffolding is needed), in an area with good year-round pedestrian and/or traffic exposure.
The Center for Biological Diversity’s Endangered Species Mural Project works with artists, scientists, and organizers to bring endangered wildlife onto the streets of cities and towns around the country. These murals are imagined as tools to help celebrate local endangered species within communities, and to encourage people to make connections between conservation and community strength. Spearheaded by Portland artist Roger Peet, the mural project promotes an affinity for the natural world and the diverse species that help define it. Peet says “The goal of this project is to foster connections between people and the other forms of life that surround them. Whether that’s a fish in a river, a butterfly flitting from plant to plant, or a caribou chewing lichen from a tree, we’re bringing together artists and communities to create big, bold images that will become part of the neighborhoods where they’re created, making it a little easier for people to care about the species struggling to survive in their midst.”
Smalltooth sawfish were once found in coastal waters from Texas to North Carolina. However, fishing mortality and habitat loss led to dramatic reductions in both their numbers and range. Now they are regularly found only in southwest Florida in the area from Charlotte Harbor to the Florida Keys, including Everglades National Park. Because of the decline, NOAA Fisheries listed the smalltooth sawfish as “Endangered” under the Endangered Species Act in 2003.
A mural would be great way to showcase that we’re fortunate to still have smalltooth sawfish in our Florida waters and inspire people to promote their conservation. If you walk or drive past a wall that you think would look great with a sawfish mural on it, please let us know. For more information and to see some other endangered species mural designs go to https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/about/creative_media/endangered_species_mural_project
Tonya Wiley, President
Tax-deductible donations to help us continue our mission to promote the sustainable use and conservation of marine resources through research, outreach, and education can be made at https://havenworth.wedid.it/