Every species is part of our natural heritage. Every mammal, tree, butterfly, and mollusk plays its indelible role in the grand mosaic of life.
Whether that be a diminutive bat with a feisty disposition, or an underregarded plant that controls the fate of one of the world’s most beloved butterflies, or a blooming shrub that gives migrating warblers respite, “Each species … is a masterpiece. It deserves that rank in the fullest sense: a creation assembled with extreme care by genius,” as E.O. Wilson famously said.
That’s why NatureServe is dedicated to tracking these species and maintaining the most reliable information about them, a vast storehouse that includes 30,128 flowers and vascular plants; 12,549
mammals, birds, and other vertebrates; 4,135 kinds of fungi and lichen; and 9,453 invertebrates.
This edition of Milestones highlights a handful of these remarkable creatures. In their stories, I believe you will find reason to celebrate the boundless diversity of life and inspiration to join us in protecting the most vulnerable—and truly incredible—species that share this planet with us.