Halloween at Walt Disney World Resort

Wildlife Wednesday: Making Toad Abodes and Other Ways to ‘Spring Forward’ to Help Amphibians

posted on March 2nd, 2011 by Kathy Lehnhardt, Curator of Education, Disney’s Animal Programs


Croak, rivet, peep, squeal, click, squeak, trill – if you open your window on a warm summer night, you’ll hear a cacophony of sounds. Many of these wonderful night sounds come from frogs as they seek mates. However, these familiar calls may disappear from your neighborhood, as well as worldwide, as amphibians face a global extinction crisis.

'Spring Forward' at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Amphibians are sensitive creatures that are affected by habitat loss due to urbanization, disease, pesticides, poor land management practices, fire suppression, introduced predators and possibly issues associated with global climate change. But once people are aware of these threats, they can initiate positive change in their local communities.

Guests Participate in Party for the Planet 2010 at Disney's Animal Kingdom

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we “spring forward” to celebrate the amazing amphibians a few days before we adjust our clocks forward for Daylight Saving time. Our Spring Forward event offers a variety of activities for guests to join in and learn more about frogs, toads and salamanders. All activities will take place on Wednesday, March 9, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. in Conservation Station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This year, children and families will make toad abodes for their backyards, listen to frog calls, spring like a frog, examine amphibian adaptations and meet some cool amphibians and their keepers on the stage. They’ll also learn about conservation actions that they can do to help amphibians survive for the future. Here are a few:

  • Invite a bug-zapping amphibian into your backyard by placing an overturned pot as a home.
  • Use less chemical pesticides on your lawn to keep amphibians healthy.
  • Build a pond, plant native shrubs, and leave leaf litter and logs in your yard to create a habitat for frogs.
  • Plan a family outing to a local pond to hear different species of frogs sing their love songs to one another.
  • Find natural alternatives to household chemicals so these toxins don’t end up in amphibian habitats.
  • Take part in a local pond or stream clean-up to ensure that native amphibians will have a clean home.
  • Find books on frogs to discover why they sing loudly, hear well and stay up late.
  • Do a homework project and let your classmates know how important amphibians are to the environment.

Beyond their beautiful chorus, frogs also provide a free pest-control service. Frogs eat billions of harmful insects annually, including mosquitoes and their larvae. So let’s keep those summer nights filled with melodious singing and help protect frogs forever.

Visit http://www.izea.net/education/yearofthefrog.htm and http://www.amphibianark.org/ to learn more.

Watch the Disney Parks Blog for information on other upcoming conservation events at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

April 22 – Party for the Planet on Earth Day

May 14 – International Migratory Bird Day

May 25 – World Turtle Day

July 27 – International Year of the Forest Celebration

August – Cotton-top Tamarin Month Celebration

September 1 – International Vulture Awareness Day

October 26 – Year of the Bat Celebration

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