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Frogs afloat

April 14, 2011

Amphibians are appearing throughout the Upper Delaware Region with the return of spring. These wood frogs basked in a vernal pool in Pike County last weekend, emitting their characteristic “quacking” call in hopes of attracting mates.
Another frog sounding off from local lakes, ponds and wetlands right now is the tiny spring peeper, whose “eeping” call sounds much like its name.

Meanwhile, frog lovers are preparing for the third annual “Save the Frogs Day” on April 29. The event focuses on amphibian education and conservation. Events are planned in at least 15 countries and coordinated by the non-profit organization, Save the Frogs.

Amphibian populations worldwide have been declining at unprecedented rates due to an onslaught of environmental problems, including climate change, pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades, according to Dr. Kerry Kriger, founder and executive director.

“There are 18,000 registered pesticides in the United States. One of the worst is Atrazine, an endocrine disruptor that can turn male frogs into females at 2.5 parts per billion” says Kriger. Atrazine was banned in the European Union in 2004, but 80 million pounds of it are used in the USA each year, primarily on corn. “Atrazine is the 21st century’s DDT. We want it banned.”

For a local opportunity to learn more about amphibians, visit the Pocono Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in Dingmans Ferry, PA. This weekend, two programs on the topic will be held. The “Salamander Egg Search” is slated for April 16, from 1 to 3 p.m., followed by the “Spring Peeper Search” on April 17, from 7 to 9 p.m. Cost for each is $5. Visit peec@peec.org or call 570/828-2319 for more information.