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The Croaking Crisis

When you think of endangered species, you may draw to mind pictures of Giant Pandas and Black Rhinos, but would you ever picture a bullfrog from your own backyard? According to Save the Frogs, an American public charity dedicated to preserving these amiable amphibians, 2,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction and may not survive the 21st century.

The last Saturday in April is now internationally known as Save the Frogs Day, a day of bringing awareness to this pressing matter. This year, the Sam Noble Museum’s herpetology collection manager, Jessa Watters, traveled to Cesar Chavez Elementary School in Oklahoma City to celebrate Save the Frogs Day with seven kindergarten classes, while teaching them a thing or two about preservation.

imageWatters teaching students about frog endangerment.

According to Watters, a quarter of the world’s amphibian populations are in decline due to habitat pollution, pet trade, pesticides and an amphibian fungal disease known as chytridiomycosis. Pet trade poses one of the largest threats as frogs are taken from their natural environment and improperly cared for in artificial habitats. On the flip side, problems arise when frog owners release unwanted pets into the wrong habitat, which can create a domino effect of difficulties in a given ecosystem.

Of course, this is a lot of information for kindergarteners to absorb, so Watters focused on teaching the students the basics of herpetology: What is an amphibian? How is it different than a reptile? Is it better to be camouflaged or poisonous as a frog? Watters and the children then drew and colored pictures of frogs while discussing the importance of taking care of the environment and the animals that dwell in it.

imageThe students coloring their favorite frogs.

 At the end of the day, each student took home a 3D paper frog as a reminder that every day should be Save the Frogs Day.