4th annual National Bison Day will celebrate the ecological, cultural, and economic contributions of America’s largest land animal
Celebrate on social media with #BeardsforBison and #NationalBisonDay
WASHINGTON (November 6, 2015) – The Vote Bison Coalition is proud to celebrate National Bison Day, an annual commemoration of the ecological, cultural, historical and economic contribution of a national icon, the American bison.
On Saturday, November 7, bison supporters across the country will host events celebrating bison in their communities. In past years, Native Americans, bison producers, conservationists, sportsmen, educators and other public and private partners commemorated the day with events and promotional activities in dozens of states.
Supporters will also engage on social media using #NationalBisonDay and through the Beards for Bison campaign, where to snap a photo of themselves wearing a beard (real, or a fake one printed from beardsforbison.org) and post it to social media with the hashtag #beardsforbison.
Last week, the Senate passed a resolution officially recognizing National Bison Day as Saturday, November 7, 2015. The resolution was led by Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY) and Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN), and co-sponsored by a bipartisan mix of Senators.
The effort is supported by the Vote Bison Coalition, a group of more than 50 organizations, tribes and businesses led by the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, National Bison Association, and Wildlife Conservation Society.
John Calvelli, WCS Executive Vice President of Public Affairs, said: “National Bison Day is a chance to celebrate the ways in which bison represent our national identity, our history, and our culture. The bison is an animal that should inspire all Americans when they see it, and one that should make us feel proud. From its spiritual symbolism to Native Americans, to its history as America’s first conservation success story, we commemorate bison this day as an icon that is uniquely American.”
Jim Stone, Executive Director of the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, said: “Once again, Indian Country is looking forward to celebrate National Bison as a testament to the iconic nature of the bison. The standing of the bison in the eyes of the country is ever increasing and is fulfilling the dreams of tribal communities.”
Dave Carter, Executive Director of the National Bison Association, said: “National Bison Day rightfully honors this magnificent animal, and helps focus attention on the work being done by private ranchers, conservationists and tribal leaders to bring bison back to pastures and rangelands across the country.”
Keith Aune, WCS Senior Conservationist and Bison Program Coordinator, said: “The American Bison is a truly iconic species that is readily recognized by people of all ages as one of the most significant and impressive wildlife species in North America. Its role in shaping our American grasslands and place in our colorful history make it worthy of recognition as our National Mammal. Few species have such a powerful story and lasting influence on human cultures, economies and natural environments.”
The bison, North America’s largest land mammal, have an important role in America’s history, culture and economy. Before being nearly wiped from existence by westward expansion, bison roamed across most of North America. The species is acknowledged as the first American conservation success story, having been brought back from the brink of extinction by a concerted effort of ranchers, conservationists and politicians to save the species in the early 20th century. In 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt and the American Bison Society began this effort by shipping 15 animals by train from the Bronx Zoo to Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Many Native American tribes revere bison as a sacred and spiritual symbol of their heritage and maintain private bison herds on tribal lands throughout the West. Bison now exist in all 50 states in public and private herds, providing recreation opportunities for wildlife viewers in zoos, refuges and parks and sustaining the multimillion dollar bison ranching and production business.
In addition to Sens. Enzi and Donnelly, the National Bison Day resolution was co-sponsored by Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND), Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA), Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. John Tester (D-MT), Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS).
About the American Bison, a National Icon
Bison have an important role in America’s history, culture and economy. Before being nearly wiped from existence by westward expansion, bison roamed across most of North America. The species is acknowledged as the first American conservation success story, having been brought back from the brink of extinction by a concerted effort of ranchers, conservationists and politicians to save the species in the early 20th century. In 1907, President Teddy Roosevelt and the American Bison Society began this effort by shipping 15 animals by train from the Bronx Zoo to Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Many Native American tribes revere bison as a sacred and spiritual symbol of their heritage and maintain private bison herds on tribal lands throughout the West. Bison now exist in all 50 states in public and private herds, providing recreation opportunities for wildlife viewers in zoos, refuges and parks and sustaining the multimillion dollar bison ranching and production business.
Bison currently appear on two state flags, on the seal of the Department of the Interior, and on U.S. currency. In addition, bison have been adopted as the state mammal of Wyoming and the state animal of Oklahoma and Kansas. The bison is the nation’s most culturally recognizable mammal and as such deserves recognition through designation and celebration.
Bison continue to sustain and provide cultural value to Native Americans and Indian Tribes. More than 60 tribes are working to restore bison to over 1,000,000 acres of Indian lands in South Dakota, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Montana, and other states. Today, bison remain integrally linked with the spiritual lives of Native Americans through cultural practices, social ceremonies and religious rituals.
Bison production on private ranches is in its strongest economic condition in more than a decade. The total value of privately owned bison on more than 2,500 bison ranches in the U.S. was estimated to exceed $280 million in 2013. Bison ranches in states including South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska, Texas, Colorado, and Montana create jobs, provide a sustainable and healthy meat source, and contribute to our nation’s food security.
The bison, North America’s largest land mammal, once roamed the continent freely, helping sustain plains and prairie ecosystems as a keystone species through grazing, fertilization, trampling and other activities. Bison shaped the vegetation and landscape as they fed on and dispersed the seeds of grasses, sedges, and forbs. Several bird species adapted to or co-evolved with types of grasses and vegetation structures that had been, for millennia, grazed by millions of free-ranging bison.
The Vote Bison Coalition, led by steering committee members the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council, National Bison Association and Wildlife Conservation Society, formed in 2012 to make bison the National Mammal and to celebrate National Bison Day annually on the first Saturday of November. The coalition counts more than 50 businesses, tribal groups and organizations who have banded together to support efforts to celebrate bison. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Chief Earl Old Person of the Blackfoot Nation, and Ted Roosevelt V, great-great grandson of President Roosevelt, serve as the Advisory Council to the coalition.
For more information on the Vote Bison Coalition, please visit VoteBison.org
The Inter Tribal Buffalo Council is a federally chartered Tribal organization dedicated to the restoration of buffalo to Tribal lands in manner that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs and practices. ITBC has been working on this mission since 1992. Visit: http://www.itbcbuffalo.com The National Bison Association brings together all stakeholders to celebrate the heritage of the American bison, to educate, and to create a sustainable future for our industry. Visit: http://www.bisoncentral.com
WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society)
MISSION: WCS saves wildlife and wild places worldwide through science, conservation action, education, and inspiring people to value nature. To achieve our mission, WCS, based at the Bronx Zoo, harnesses the power of its Global Conservation Program in nearly 60 nations and in all the world’s oceans and its five wildlife parks in New York City, visited by 4 million people annually. WCS combines its expertise in the field, zoos, and aquarium to achieve its conservation mission. Visit: newsroom.wcs.org Follow: @WCSNewsroom. For more information: 347-840-1242.