From left, EEB graduate students Bryan Juarez and Anat Belasen, Brian Cressman's daughter, Joice Ruggeri, and Brian Cressman, a local herpetologist/science educator. Image credit: Dale Austin.

Kermit gave his green stamp of approval. The University of Michigan Herpetology Club organized the recent Save the Frogs Days, April 24 -25.

Anat Belasen and Bryan Juarez, graduate students from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and Hayden Hedman, School of Natural Resources and Environment,  were the organizers. The event table featured information cards on the environmental risks to amphibians, an online petition to ban the use of Atrazene (one of the world’s most widely used pesticides that wreaks havoc on animal populations) and to convince the State of Michigan to recognize the support of the public towards the Save the Frogs campaign, online sign up for an Amazon Smile account (that donates 0.5% of all Amazon purchases to STF), and a baked goods and general frog paraphernalia sale. The events were held in the Dana Building Commons and at the Museum of Natural History.

For the youngsters and the young at heart, they organized crafts including frog eye balloon headbands and frog origami. They raised about $220 in donations, at least 32 people signed the Atrazine petition, and dozens of children left their table with an extra set of eyeballs atop their head.

“The highlight for me was talking to the kids, and hearing about their experiences with frogs,” said Belasen. She was pleasantly surprised by how many really young children talked about their love for frogs or how they hear frogs in their backyards and some could even identify them by their calls.

Belasen brought her pet fire-bellied toads to the event. One little girl colored her origami frog to match the pet frogs and informed Belasen that it has an orange belly because it is toxic and trying to avoid being eaten by predators. Clearly, there is plenty of frog savvy out there and overall, the events went swimmingly.

With special thanks to EEB graduate students Ivan Monaghan, Beatriz Otero Jimenez, John Marino (EEB Ph.D. 2013), Joice Ruggeri, an EEB visiting scholar, and Brian Cressman, a local herpetologist and science educator.  

A frog enthusiast colors while proudly donning his red frog eyes. Anat Belasen shows another child her fire-bellied toads. Image credit: Dale Austin.