WASHINGTON, May 9 (UPI) -- Tomorrow, Saturday, May 10, is International Migratory Bird Day.
What started in 1993 as a small celebration to raise awareness about the conservation of migratory bird habitat has grown into an international event, with more than 450 events scheduled across the Americas, from Chile to Canada.
As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service explains: Migratory Bird Day is meant as a way to share and educate the public about "the many ways in which birds matter to the earth, to ecosystems, and of course, to us."
For example: many migratory species assist with insect and rodent control; many more help spread seeds and re-vegetate damaged ecosystems; and many other species serve as pollinators, helping Earth's spring and summer remain colored by flowering plants, trees and shrubs.
This year's celebration is specifically geared toward raising awareness about the benefits of sustainable tourism, and its ability to galvanize community support around conservation efforts.
"Working with people locally is critical to effective, sustainable, equitable conservation," said Dr. Hazell Shokellu Thompson, a bird advocate and head of nonprofit group BirdLife. "Conservation cannot succeed without the consent and participation of the people who live in or near, obtain their livelihoods from, or simply enjoy the sites that threatened bird species depend on."
Want to find a nearby Migratory Bird Day festival? FWS has a searchable calendar of events available on their website.