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Wendell's Frog Blog
Monday, 11 June 2007
Frog Blog Profile with Nicole Hamilton of the Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy in Virginia
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles

Here is another great interview with someone making a difference for frogs and toads in the world.  I won't spoil it for you, see all the remarkable things Nicole is doing in Loudoun County Virgina!

 

Top Ten Questions on the BoardWendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview

 

 1)WFB:    Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies? 

 

Nicole Hamilton, currently President of a local all-volunteer nonprofit called Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy.  My passion is the environment and when I’m not out and about on a nature walk, I enjoy nature photography and nature writing. Married but no kiddies, just cats and some other great pets. 

2)WFB:  What sparked your interest in amphibians?

 

 

 NH: First, I think amphibians are neat; but we started our amphibian monitoring program as a way to start identifying critical habitat areas, get people involved with nature and learning and ultimately protecting habitat. 

 

 

3)WFB:  Do you keep any pets?

 

 

NH: Yes – cats all indoor, also mice and fish 

 

 

4)WFB:  How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?

 

 

 NH: Through Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy: www.loudounwildlife.org  

 

 

5)WFB:  How did you get involved in this? 

 

NH: I was a member for a long time and then was asked to become President 4 yrs ago.  

 

 

6)WFB:  What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you? 

 

NH: I love watching for the Big Night Events.  Listening and just sitting by a pond watching them – they’re just really cool. 

 

 

7)WFB:   What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have? 

NH: Set up a backyard pond (no fish please) and let the frogs come to them – no need to introduce frogs – they’ll find the body of water on their own. Jump into a monitoring program like ours – and volunteer for a variety of things like a site survey or migration mapping. 

 

 

8)WFB:   How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?

 

 

NH: I read a lot and created our amphibian monitoring program but there are also classes by the USDA in our area on amphibians 

 

 

9)WFB:  What is the most important thing you want others to know?

 

 

 NH: Amphibians are an indicator species. While they are most frequently observed by us in pools and ponds and streams, they only live there for about 5% of their lives.  To save amphibians, we need to protect more than just their wetland breeding areas – we need to protect the forests in which they live the rest of the year.

 

 10)WFB:    Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)

 

NH: Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy

www.loudounwildlife.org

 

 

Wow! What a terrific job she is doing. I would like to thank Nicole on behalf of frog lovers everywhere, their world, and ours in turn, is a better place because of you.

 

 

THANK YOU!


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 11:55 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 June 2007 12:19 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 13 February 2007
Frog Blog Profile with Ken Storey of Carleton University in Otawa Canada
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles

I have a terrific interview for you today, Ken Storey, Professor of Biology at Carleton University at Ottawa, Canada. He has done extensive research with various amphibians and their unique adaptations.

Top Ten Questions on the Board Wendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview

1) WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

KS: My name is Ken Storey and I am a professor of Biology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. I am originally from Alberta and did undergraduate work at the University of Calgary and graduate work at the University of British Columbia. I then worked at Duke University for several years before returning to Canada. My wife Janet works with me in the lab and I have two daughters, now in university. You can find out more about my research and the animals that we work with on my website at www.carleton.ca/~kbstorey

2) WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?

KS: Amphibians are extremely interesting to us because they have conquered so many different environments despite having very limited physical defenses. Hence, amphibians have specialized in biochemical defenses. For example, amphibian skin is highly water permeable and this makes them vulnerable to a variety of environmental insults such as freezing, desiccation, and high salt or toxins in water. Two species that we work on have solved water stress problems that are almost polar opposites – wood frogs have learned the biochemical tricks of freezing survival in order to endure northern winters whereas spadefoot toads endure heat and desiccation in the Arizona desert. My favorite amphibian is the wood frog, Rana sylvatica. This incredible animal can withstand the freezing of up to 65% of its total body water and lives frozen for weeks or months each year. Wood frogs have a variety of amazing biochemical adaptations that support freeze tolerance and we are exploring these with an ultimate goal of applying the tricks used by wood frogs to freezing human organs that are harvested for transplant. Currently organ transplantation is limited by the very short times that organs remain viable meaning that they must be transferred very quickly from donor to recipient and that many usable organs are ultimately discarded because no matched potential recipient is currently waiting. If freezing storage can be perfected, then donated organs can be kept for much longer which will allow a larger number of organs to be matched with recipients, thereby greatly expanding the use of organ donation and transplant.

3) WFB: Do you keep any pets?

KS: When our girls were little, we had many different kinds of pets including fish, lizards, turtles and gerbils. Now we just have one Carolina box turtle and one Chaco tortoise who wander free around the house, although the box turtle hibernates in a cold corner near the garage for 3-4 midwinter months.

4) WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?

KS: Our research is not directly involved with conservation but I feel that we make contributions in two important ways:

 (1) our work on frozen frogs attracts a lot of media attention and I think that the more people hear about the amazing abilities of animals, the more likely they are to want to help preserve the diversity of nature, and

(2) the more we find out about how our native Canadian and American animals live and interact with their natural environments, the more we can understand the potential damage that human activities do to the environment and, hopefully, then we can make better choices when disrupting nature with human intrusions.

5) WFB: How did you get involved in this?

KS: Two happy accidents might be credited with shaping my career. One was when my first graduate supervisor decided to move back to England and all of his students had to scramble to find other supervisors. I was lucky enough to stumble into the lab of PW Hochachka who, almost single-handedly, built the field of biochemical adaptation. He pointed me at a turtle that can live for months without oxygen while submerged in the winter and set me up for a life time of studying the biochemistry of wonderful animals. The second happy accident was when an ecologist in Minnesota accidently left his day’s collection of wood frogs and tree frogs in the trunk of his car overnight. They were frozen solid the next morning and seemingly destined to become preserved museum specimens but when brought into the lab, the frogs quickly revived. The subsequent report of this amazing phenomenon in Science magazine (SCHMID, W.D. Science 215:697-698, 1982) sparked our 25 years of studies of natural freezing survival in animals.

 6) WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?

KS: Amphibians have so many amazing abilities – some can freeze, some live without oxygen for long periods of time, others lose as much as 60% of their body water and still survive, others enter long periods of dormancy, some have deadly toxins, others have novel antibiotics in their skin. Among vertebrate animals I think they have the most novel and unique lifestyles and the broadest range adaptive strategies for life.

7) WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?

KS: So much of science is, quite understandably, directed towards improving the human condition and so many students are attracted to careers in medical, pharmaceutical, veterinary or agricultural sciences. Careers in basic biology and biochemistry are less fashionable today but very rewarding. We owe it to ourselves to always encourage some young scientists to pursue science for the love of science for it is from basic science, not applied science, that most of the key advances in understanding the principles of life have arisen.

 8) WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?

KS: Mostly I just learned about each species one at a time as I searched for interesting model animals to explore different biochemical adaptations.

9) WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?

KS: That life is wonderful. That all life on earth is linked by a unified set of biochemical reactions and that for every environment that we can imagine on earth, there is some organism that has evolved a way to modify and adapt its core biochemistry in order to make a living.

10) WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)

KS: You can get more information on the amphibians and the many other kinds of animals that we work on from the lab website: www.carleton.ca/~kbstorey as well as links to various media interviews and other sites with information about animal cold hardiness.

 

Thank you Professor Storey for all the wonderful work you do. Amphibians worldwide are helped by the understanding that has came from the Storey Lab!


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 11:01 PM EST
Updated: Wednesday, 14 February 2007 12:06 PM EST
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Sunday, 4 February 2007
Great article about Lisa Powers (previously featured in the Frog Blog Profiles)
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles

Cold blooded creatures warm her heart

Lisa Powers shares her home with a menagerie of snakes and other slithery things

The article in the Middle Tennessean is terrific! She has done so much for amphibians and reptiles, especially in the Tennessee area. You can also see her Frog Blog Profile featured on this site in August.

Frog Blog Profile with Lisa Powers of Froghaven Farm in TN


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 7:21 PM EST
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Wednesday, 20 September 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Jeff Hohman of East Kentucky Power
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles

I love doing profiles. I get the opportunity to share what a special person is doing to help amphibians as I learn more myself. I met Mr. Hohman at the PARC meeting, when we were going around the room saying our name and affiliation so everyone could see who was there. When Jeff's turn was up, he said he had to stand and told everyone how happy he was to be part of something like this. It's no wonder he works for a power company, this man radiates positive energy. I have always been happy with who I am and where I am, but I have to admit, I wish I could be a fourth grader from eastern Kentucky.

 

Top Ten Questions on the Board

Wendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview 

WFB: 1)    Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

 Jeff Hohman – Biologist with East Kentucky Power since 1979. Wonderful Wife – Debbie; Incredible Daughters – Lauren and Madison. Lauren is a sophomore at Murray State (my alma mater) and Madison is a freshman at College of Charleston. They are my best herp buddies.

 WFB: 2)  What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why? 

JEH: I caught my first salamander in the creek behind my house when I was 8 or 9 years old. I think it was a streamside salamander but that was a bazillion years ago. I was hooked immediately. My favorite salamanders are the Tiger Salamander and the Hellbender. My favorite frogs are the Crawfish Frog and the Spadefoot Toad. 

WFB: 3)  Do you keep any pets? 

JEH: At home, we have a cat (Johnnie) and a dog (Samson). I am not a cat lover but Madison adopted the cat and then left for college. Samson, on the other hand, is an awesome Sheltie and I LOVE that dog. All my herp pets are kept at work. I have a juvenile corn snake in my office. Cool snake!

 WFB: 4)  How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation? 

JEH: I work for a company that is completely dedicated to environmental education. We have 6 biologists on staff that perform Rare and Endangered Species surveys prior to construction of any projects. During the school year we perform various nature programs at schools throughout eastern Ky.  All of our programs focus on native species and you can check them out at ekpc.coop (click on the frog).  

WFB: 5)  How did you get involved in this? 

JEH: About 15 years ago, I was asked by a teacher to come to her school on career day and share what I did for EKPC. I gathered up some of my herp friends and took them with me. I had a hognose snake and some salamanders. The kids went nuts and the rest is history. What a life-changing experience that was. 

WFB: 6)  What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you? 

JEH: Teaching kids of all ages about the wonders of Kentucky’s rich natural history. I love to see those faces light up when we pull a rat snake out of the bag and hand it to them. It never gets old. 

WFB: 7)   What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have? 

JEH: If you have a passion for herps, share that with kids. We find the best age for learning is 4th grade and up. The younger kids love the animals but

they don’t follow instructions very well and that puts the animals at risk. Collect a few amphibians and non-biting reptiles and take them to area schools, camps or civic groups and share what you love. It is as easy as falling off a log and a lot more fun.

 WFB: 8)  How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do? 

 JEH: I have been a fan since I was a kid. I have had great teachers and I have been blessed to have great herp friends to encourage me and inspire me.  It is easy to learn about things you love. 

WFB: 9)  What is the most important thing you want others to know? 

JEH: Education is the key to effective conservation. If you can take a few minutes to show a student a snake, chances are he will never consider killing that animal as an adult. It is much cheaper than litigation and government regulation. 

WFB: 10)                     Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)

 JEH: Check out our website at EKPC.coop and happy herpin!

In the email correspondence, he signs them JEH, though I can't say for sure what the "E" stands for, my guess is either Energy, Effort or Enthusiasm. I would like to thank Jeff and his whole team for the phenomenal work they do. There is no doubt in my mind they are making a huge positive impact on the world one fourth grader at a time. Those kids will be the decision makers and it would sure be nice to have them thinking about herp conservation! On behalf of my Frog Blog, Herpers and Herps from around the world, Thank You!


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 11:24 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 20 September 2006 11:51 PM EDT
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Friday, 25 August 2006
Loss of a Distinguished Herpetologist
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles

In Memoriam: J. Alan Holman
Wednesday, August 16, 2006: Lawrence, Kansas - CNAH
NEWS RELEASE
The Center for North American Herpetology
Lawrence, Kansas
http://www.cnah.org
16 August 2006

In Memoriam: J. Alan Holman (1931-2006)

Dr. J. Alan ("Al") Holman, passed away on 12 August 2006. Al taught vertebrate paleontology and herpetology courses at Michigan State University until his retirement. Not only was Al a prolific researcher and writer in vertebrate paleontology (focusing on Cenozoic and quaternary herpetofauna), but he was also very interested in and concerned about the biology and conservation of living reptiles, turtles, and amphibians. He was an active member of the Michigan DNR Technical Advisory Committee on Amphibians, Turtles, and Reptiles. He co-authored three popular books on the Michigan herpetofauna and had just finished collaborating on a revision of "Michigan Snakes," to be published soon. But his best known work was "Pleistocene Amphibians and Reptiles in North American," published by Oxford Press in 1995, and still the standard in the field today.

After his retirement, Al had continued his productivity, and always had a few articles and books coming out or in preparation. Despite his full plate of projects, Al never hesitated to stop and give assistance to a colleague or student in need.

Al's contributions to science will be greatly missed, but more than anything, his warmth, kindness and loyal friendship will be irreplaceable.

He was interred next to his wife, Peg Holman, at the Glendale Cemetery on Mount Hope Road in Lansing, Michigan, on 17 August.

*****

The CNAH Board of Directors extends its sympathies to the family and friends of J. Alan Holman.

 


I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Holman at the Michigan Herpetology Symposium this March at the Detroit Zoo where he gave a very informative, yet entertaining look at the history of Herpetology and distinguished herpetologists. He made sure to stress the point that he was only referring to herpetologists that were deceased as distinguished as to not upset anyone. He will be missed, and can now be added to his own list. I would like to extend my sympathies to the friends and family of Dr. Holman and my gratitude to the Detroit Zoo for giving me the opportunity to meet such an extraordinary man.


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 9:08 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 25 August 2006 9:39 AM EDT
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Friday, 11 August 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Lisa Powers of Froghaven Farm in TN
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
 

Today we have an awesome profile with Lisa Powers of Froghaven Farm in Tennessee, specializing in Educational Programs and Biological Services. Ms. Powers has been involved with (or help start) many of Tennessee's Herp Programs as well as other programs in the Southeastern US.

 

WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

LP: I am Lisa Powers and currently reside in middle Tennessee. I was born and grew up in Virginia where I graduated high school from Pennington High and attended Mountain Empire Community College where I received an A.A.S. degree in Environmental Science.

 

Growing up in a family who spent most weekends' outdoors, I developed a strong connection and appreciation of nature. My father is a well-known cave conservationist who designs and builds cave gates to protect endangered species and cultural resources. My little sister is a botanist who specializes in threatened and endangered species and ferns, mosses, lichens and fungi; and is also a very talented stained glass artist and potter.  My other sister is an Emergency Room nurse with a love of animals. My mom is a very supportive woman who always encouraged us to do anything we wanted and is very tolerant when she finds various plants or amphibians in labeled containers in the fridge. She taught me that there was nothing I couldn't accomplish.

 

I moved to middle Tennessee 25 years ago from the beautiful mountains of southwest Virginia when I took a job with Water Pollution Control where I met my husband (now separated). In 1988, I left my job with the state and went back to school and I received my B.S. degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Science from Tennessee Tech in 1990 and continued graduate studies at Austin Peay State University where I studied Biology with an emphasis in Herpetology.

 

I now own my own business called Froghaven Farm where I use my talents to design posters, websites and handouts on Tennessee plants and animals. I am also a frequent contributor to the Tennessee Conservationist Magazine and Tennessee Wildlife Magazine. I am an accomplished nature photographer and enjoy sharing the beauty I see in Nature.

 

I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 16.  A doctor told me then that I would be in a wheelchair by the time I was 25 years old.  I was encouraged to pursue a job where I could work at a desk.  Instead, I pursued my passion and despite being mostly dependent on a wheelchair today, I am still able to work in the field I love so much. The only limitations are in your mind!

 

 Lisa Powers (on left) volunteering at the Nashvile Zoo.

photo submitted by Ms.Powers, all rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians?

LP: I have always been fascinated with all creatures and remember spending hours trying to catch frogs at the lake or find salamanders in the stream that ran through my front yard as a young girl. My parents were very encouraging and taught us to have a healthy respect and interest in nature.

 

WFB: What is your favorite amphibian, and why?

LP: Without a doubt the cave salamander, Eurycea lucifuga, is my favorite! I spent many hours caving with my family and always was excited to see this very striking and interesting creature. In fact, my wedding ring is a cave salamander.

 

WFB: Do you keep any pets?

LP:  I am fortunate to share my home with 16 snakes, 2 box turtles, 1 tiger salamander, 2 cats and 3 fish aquariums.

 

WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?

LP:  In 1995, I introduced and lobbied successfully for legislation to elect the Tennessee cave salamander as our state amphibian and the Eastern box turtle our state reptile. In 2000-2002, I served as the coordinator for the Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program. I currently serve on the Board of Directors for the Tennessee Herpetological Society (which I helped organize and served as its first President) and am a co-chair for the Education Working Group of the Southeast Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (S.E. PARC).

 

WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?

LP:  I love what I do and there is always something new and interesting to learn. I NEVER get bored with my job and have never lost my enthusiasm for sharing the magic I see in each and every creature.

 

WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?

LP: Read everything about amphibians you can get your hands on; attend any programs on amphibians offered at any local parks, zoos or aquariums. Join your local and state herpetological societies as well as national organizations like PARC (Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation). Also, VOLUNTEER to help on any herp related projects you can like FrogWatch, PARC or your local herp society...be active and get to know others in your field!

 

WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?

LP: It is important to treat all creatures (including humans) with respect. All living organisms are important pieces in the fabric of life and by respecting them, you respect yourself!

 

Also, be sure to do every task you take on with your very best effort. You never know when it may come back to haunt or help you; and it is better to be known for excellence than mediocrity.

                                                                                                

WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)

 

 

LP: I can be reached at:

mailto:froghavenfarm@hotmail.com

http://www.froghavenfarm.com/

 

I am a member of:

American Cave Conservation Association  http://www.cavern.org/

Nashville Photography Club  http://www.nashvillephotographyclub.org/

Nashville Zoo at Grassmere  http://nashvillezoo.org/

Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation http://www.parcplace.org/

Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles  http://www.ssarherps.org/

Southeast PARC  http://www.separc.org/

Tennessee Academy of Science  http://www.mtsu.edu/~tnacadsc/

Tennessee Commissioner's Council on Greenways and Trails

Tennessee Herpetological Society  http://home.mindspring.com/~froghaven

 

These are my websites:

Froghaven Farm http://www.froghavenfarm.com/
Tennessee Herpetological Society http://home.mindspring.com/~froghaven/
Snakes of Tennessee http://frogsandsnakes.homestead.com/snakes.html
Lizards of Tennessee http://tnlizard.homestead.com/home.html
Bats of Tennessee http://froghavenfarm.homestead.com/bats.html
Frogs and Toads of Tennessee http://www.state.tn.us/twra/frogs.html
Salamanders of Tennessee http://www.state.tn.us/twra/salamanders.htm

 

These are some of my favorite web sites:

AmphibiaWeb http://amphibiaweb.org/index.html

CalPhotos  http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/

Center for North American Herpetology  http://www.naherpetology.org/

NatureServe  http://www.natureserve.org/

 

I would like to thank Ms. Powers for this terrific profile as well as for her continuing efforts to help amphibians and to educate about amphibians making this crazy world a little better for all species.


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 10:33 AM EDT
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Friday, 9 June 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Kacie Ehrenberger, Wildlife Diversity Staff Specialist with the Indiana DNR
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
I have a wonderful interview for you today. Kacie Ehrenberger, of the IDNR, has privileged us with an interesting and informative profile. Kacie has done a great job co-coordinating the INAMP as well as helping with many other herp related studies being conducted here in Indiana.

Top Ten Questions on the Board
Wendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview


1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?
KE: I grew up in Winston-Salem, NC. I got a B.S. in Forestry and Wildlife at Virginia Tech and a M.S. in Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University. My favorite activity is walking in the woods. My husband and I hunt, fish, camp, go birding, herping, and hike whenever possible but for me nothing tops a nice walk through the forest. We are also big fans of photography, music and Virginia Tech football.

2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?
KE: In college I worked for a graduate student who was studying salamanders and I just really enjoyed the work and learning more about them. Unlike so many of you reading this I did not grow up in the outdoors – fortunately some fantastic experiences at Virginia Tech and in the Appalachian mountains opened my eyes to the natural world around me.

I don’t think I can pick a favorite salamander they are all so fabulous. As for frogs, I like the gray treefrog.


3)WFB: Do you keep any pets?
KE: We have a standard poodle, Bonita. Also, my husband worked in zoos for 5 years and he developed his knowledge of animal husbandry by keeping a few things at home – we now have white’s treefrogs, a corn snake, leopard geckos and pancake tortoises.

4)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?
KE: I am a wildlife biologist for DNR’s nongame and endangered species program. We are responsible for the conservation and management of over 700 species in Indiana, including all the amphibians. I co-coordinate Indiana’s involvement with the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program (NAAMP). We have about 40 volunteers who collect data on established driving route around the state.

5)WFB: How did you get involved in this?
KE: I first learned about NAAMP while working at Patuxent Wildlife Research Refuge in Maryland. When I took this job, I was fortunate enough to get involved with Indiana’s participation in the program.

6)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?
KE: I really enjoy training volunteers - I find their excitement to learn more about amphibians very encouraging. The best moment of every training session is playing the calls – the looks on the audience’s faces are priceless! My previous job as a naturalist for Indy Parks also gave me the opportunity to teach many people, especially children, about amphibians.

7)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?
KE: To be qualified for a job like mine you would need some schooling and most likely an advanced degree. If you chose this path, be sure to also get as much experience as possible – join professional societies (The Wildlife Society, Indiana Academy of Science, National Association of Interpretation), take technician jobs even if they are low paying and volunteer.

If you are not looking for a career in natural resources but want to get involved in conservation consider volunteering, taking classes offered at nature centers or joining organizations with interests similar to yours (i.e., Indiana Wildlife Federation, Audubon chapters).

If you would like to volunteer for NAAMP feel free to contact me at naamp@dnr.in.gov. If you live outside of Indiana, visit this website for information on your state’s coordinator: http://www.pwrc.usgs.gov/naamp/volunteer/
(We are looking for volunteers near the state line so if you are in Ohio, Kentucky. Illinois or Michigan feel free to contact me as well).


8)WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?
KE: My training was primarily in school and on the job training but I also learn more every time I am outside observing amphibians.

9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?
KE: I discourage the practice of collecting wild animals. I know that many great scientists and naturalists got their start from bringing critters home but I do not think that is sustainable anymore. I highly encourage people to get outside as much as possible but to leave the animals there. If you want to have something at home there are now lots of options through captive breeding, rescued animals and others that need a good home.

10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)
KE: The nongame and endangered species program (IDNR’s Wildlife Diversity Section) is funded through public donations to Indiana’s Nongame Fund.

You can help Indiana’s wildlife by looking for the line provided on your Indiana state tax form and donate all or part of your refund OR to donate directly, write to:

Nongame Fund
402 W. Washington St. Rm. W273
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Learn more by visiting www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/endangered

(Many states have similar funding situations for the amphibian and reptile conservation so look for how to donate in your state if you are not from Indiana)


I would like to thank Kacie for sharing with us. I know she wears several hats with the DNR and is kept very busy. I would also like to thank the whole Wildlife Diversity Section. I am very fortunate to live in a state that is so involved in amphibian conservation. We have terrific programs and studies, and even better people putting them on. To the Indiana DNR, Thanks and keep up the great work!

Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 12:03 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 9 June 2006 12:49 PM EDT
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Tuesday, 6 June 2006
Dingos join in the Noble Fight against the Cane Toad
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
Although I was skeptical at first, I have discussed some of the pros and cons with the trainer, Sarah Fyffe; I believe it is great that she is able to train the dingo to do so many amazing feats. I had posted before about my skepticism, BINGO, is the answer to the Australian Cane Toad problem Dingoes? here are the comments that led up to the current discussions.

Name:

Maybe here in the states, we can train coyotes to find Bullfrogs and Red eared sliders where they've been introduced.

Name: wendellsfrogblog
Home Page: http://wendellsfrogblog.tripod.com/
E-Mail: wzetterberg@hotmail.com

That's a great comparison. I can't even fathom the idea.

Name: Sarah
E-Mail: jazzy03@bigpond.com

Hi, I am the trainer this article refers to. Let me point out a couple of things:
1> A dingo is such because of its DNA - not because it is wild.
2> I hate to inform you, but the humble labrador is capable of killing humans, my dingoes are more trustworthy with children than most "domestics" I know.
3>Domestic breeds are fine; however the dingoes senses of sight, hearing and scent are far superior.
4>I have trained these dingoes to find explosives and it took 1/3 of the time to teach this than is usually takes with domestic breeds - they are unbelievably intelligent and brilliant problem solvers.
5> A feral dog is any dog that has gone wild - not a dingo that is habituated to humans.
Cheers
Sarah

Name: wendellsfrogblog
Home Page: http://wendellsfrogblog.tripod.com/
E-Mail: wzetterberg@hotmail.com

Hello Sarah,
Thanks for your comment. It sounds like you are a very good trainer that has made some extraordinary accomplishments. I apologize for not being very clear with my comments. I do realize the difference between a feral animal and a wild species. I am uncertain of where exactly the dingo fits into that scenario. I was under the impression that the dingo was an introduced species itself, be it a very long time ago, and is possibly the oldest feral species in Australia. I realize that I have nothing in my area to mentally compare with, since the coyote mentioned is a native species. I am curious as to what the dingo does with the toad when it finds it. Is the dingo affected by the toad's poison? Is the dingo trained to grab its hind legs to avoid the parotid gland? I must admit the little I know about canines is from reading; I'm a frog person rather than a dog person. If you would be interested in putting together a summary of what you and your dingoes do, I'd love to post it for my readers to read. It is great that new ideas such as this are being implemented in the fight with the cane toad.
Best Regards,
Wendell

Here is Sarah's reply:

Hi,

Yes the dingo was an introduced species 4,000-5,000 years ago, however it wasn’t just an introduced feral dog - its DNA is completely different to the domestic dog, in fact it is believed that the dingo may be the evolutionary step from wolf to dog, others believe that the dingo is in fact another type of wolf - alot of controversy on this one.

In Australia, the dingo is the top predator - it balances the food chain - similar to the lion in Africa. Where there are pure dingoes there are MORE native wildlife and LESS foxes, feral cats etc.

Anyway, what I’m going to do is train my four pure dingoes to search and alert to the sound and scent cane toads in the field and also in vehicles. They are always on lead when working and when they find a toad they either sit and raise a paw or lay down - they also wear "doggles" to protect their eyes from the poison - just in case.

Actually, it would be possible to do a similar thing with a coyote - it’s just a matter of guiding a natural instinct to hunt.

The main reason I am doing this however is to help the dingo redeem itself, they are on the verge of extinction due to hybridisation and human eradication, however most people (including our government) don’t care as to them they are just baby killers and pests - far from the truth.

Have attached a picture of one of our dingoes "chloe" alerting to gunpowder.

regards
sarah

Your work is very intriguing. I was curious as to what you do with the toads when the dingo finds one. I had read of many ways of euthanizing them form a freezer to hemorrhoid cream. I also wondered about the disposal method. I have read about them being used in fertilizer. A nearby facility called Wolf Park http://www.wolfpark.org/ might be of interest to you. They do much research on wolves as well as red foxes, coyotes and they are currently housing two New Guinea Singing Dogs while a local Zoo is renovating. Would it be all right to resize and use you picture along with your reply on my Blog?

Thank You,

Wendell Zetterberg, Jr.

Hello,
The current method is to freeze them, and yes, there is a company making fertilizer out of them, apparently, it’s brilliant for roses!
No probs about using that pic.
Its a funny angle to take I know, but I feel that if the dingo can prove itself with the cane toad detection then people may begin to change their opinions of them and help us stop the government from forcing them into extinction. Japan did it with their native wolves years ago and now they’re regretting it as the country is overrun with deer, they’re actually now trying to re-introduce wolves to re balance the eco-system.
Heres another nice pic of my two year old with "his" dingoes!

cheers
sarah

We have definitely had our share of similar problems in the states with decimating the wolves and now having problems with deer over foraging, not to mention the damage from auto accidents, and wolf re-introductions get much resistance.

I would like to thank Sarah Fyffe for her spectacular accomplishments in dingo training and her work aiding in the Cane toad wars, as well as her conservation efforts for the dingoes. I'm happy to have been wrong in this case!

Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 12:54 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 24 May 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Bill Yule, Naturalist and Educator for the Connecticut River Museum
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
Here is another Frog Blog exclusive for you. Bill Yule has done a little bit of all sorts of natural activities. From his passion of mushrooms to herps, he is a great advocate of the natural world.

Top Ten Questions on the Board
Wendell's Frog Blog Online Interview


1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about
yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a
little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

BY: I am Bill Yule, "Nature Nut," better-days-prospector and Environmental Educator. I live in Connecticut on a 200 year old defunct dairy farm surrounded by money-grubbing McMansion trolls from the urban sprawl capitol of the world, Fairfield County. Actually, most of my neighbors are quite nice, forget that troll comment. Anyway this used to be rural but now it's sprawl-burbia and I'm lucky enough to have a beautiful wet meadow in the back pasture with sweetflag and cattails and eight different sedges and hordes of peepers and spotted salamanders and four different snakes and three turtles all in my back yard, though the trolls in their SUV's kill vast numbers of them every spring and so I started about 16 years ago doing an anonymous late-night public service of crossing salamanders from upland to vernal pools. Now lots of people do this and it's cool.
I went to a bunch of colleges...studied philosophy at New York University in the 60's and then I took my philosophy seriously (what was I thinking?) and so I quit school and became a wandering gypsy nature-nut which in those days they called hippies but I was never really sure what that term meant since the media just made it up so lets say I got some education by gypsy-ing up in Cape Cod and then the Florida Keys and then New England...went back to school later and got a degree in biology and then studied Environmental education at the graduate level for years and I still do that and got certified to teach ...even though I'm 57 years young....and taught school some and worked at many odd things like carpenter, bartender, landscaper, free-lance naturalist, eco-tour guide, and now I work for the Connecticut River Museum as a educator and I work on a river boat as a naturalist and I'm still kickin around swamps and stuff every chance I get...and I read and write...my wife is a social worker helping teens learn to survive...she teaches life skills to urban youth...my son is 26 and home bound with chronic Lyme Disease and he's a great powerful kid and an inspiration...that's kind of where I'm coming from...

Photos provided by Bill Yule and cannot be used without permission.


2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your
favorite amphibian, and why?

BY: My interest in amphibians is a karmic debt I'm re-paying 'cause I used to shoot frogs with my bb gun as a kid and now it's payback time and so I advocate for them...vernal pool activities, amphibian monitoring volunteerism, writing about them, fighting to save habitat 'cause nothing else works as well as that...save the habitat, forget the frog, save the habitat and the frogs will return. I have to admit I'm CRAZY about Gray Tree Frogs, coolest tree climbing singing slippery animal I know of...once my friend Mike and I saved about 50 tiny little day-glo green baby gray tree frogs from the bottom of a dried up swimming pool...fed them all summer...it was the most fun and educational and just a blast watching them hop around a catch all the little bugs I netted for them every morning and Now I love em...and every time I hear one sing I try to find but of course I can't cause that's impossible (almost) but there it is, I try anyway. When I was young I spent all my free time roaming around a huge wetland overflow of the Connecticut River called the Cromwell meadows and that's where I learned about nature...and now some 40 years later my occupation is to teach people about the ecology and preservation of the Connecticut River in my job as a Naturalist...kind of a nice circle I've been through.

3)WFB: Do you keep any pets?
BY: I follow the path of my friend and neighbor Cindy by raising a little miniature vernal pool menagerie every spring ...wood frogs, spotted salamanders, dragonfly larva, water tigers, diving beetles, fairy shrimp, whatever I can catch....and then I let everybody free...free willy....oh yeah, two cats too.

4)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?
BY: I've done vernal pools mapping and field trips and education stuff...been an amphibian monitor for the state...now-a-days I mostly introduce kids to the local fauna.

5)WFB: How did you get involved in this?
BY: One thing leads to another....I've spent my whole life outdoors...nature is my hobby and my passion.

6)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with
amphibians for you?

BY: I love spring migration and vernal pools...I'll always be active in those...

7)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you
have?

BY: I believe strongly in local action...young people should be introduced to Inland Wetland Commissions before they get to high school...biology classes should take their students out to get muddy and wet every year to catch some frogs, net some water beetles, see what's in their backyard...I think every elementary school in the country should have an adopt-a-vernal pool policy...the kids learn the organisms, monitor the pool and then teach the adults in their community. Until our public schools start to value environmental education though you might have to send kids to summer nature camp to get them what they need to get going in the right direction.

8)WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?
BY: I used to be a little boy...I caught frogs, snakes, turtles and brought them home...there was no internet, electronic games, i-pods or other electric distractions...I studied amphibians and ecology in college...I banded together with like minded people and went out and learned all I could...one summer we made it a quest to find all the salamanders and frogs native to Connecticut...that was at the bequest of John Himmelman who has just published an amphibian book...

9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?
BY: Some of the most interesting beautiful creatures on the planet are right in your backyard...all you have to do is go look...then work to save the habitat.

10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share?
(websites, contact info, other affiliations)

BY: Leo Kenny's "Big Wicked Puddles" is a great place to visit, Yahoo vernal pool group is local, Mass and CT but it's good...go on the internet and find images of poison arrow frogs, or Harlequin toads...is there anything more spectacular"?
"For those who hunger after the earthly excrescences called mushrooms."

I would like to thank Bill for a wonderful interview and for all he has done making the world a better place. He is a very inspiring individual.

Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 7:41 AM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 May 2006 5:07 PM EDT
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Sunday, 14 May 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Deborah Pergolotti, founder of the Frog Decline Reversal Project, Inc. and Cairns Frog Hospital
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
We have another Frog Blog Exclusive, Deborah Pergolotti, of tropical Queensland, Australia is the founder of Frog Decline Reversal Project, Inc. and Cairns Frog Hospital. Here is what she had to say.

The photos have been provided by Deborah Pergolotti and are copyrighted and owned by her. They were used with permission.


Top Ten Questions on the Board
Wendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview


1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

DP: Born in Yale's teaching hospital (although it wasn't called that way back
then!); lived with Yalies, worked for Yalies, supervised Yalies - lovely campus
to grow up next to. Loved those dinosaurs at the Peabody and that big hunk of
meteorite you can touch. I almost applied to go to Yale (for astronomy) but
moved to NYC instead. Moved to Sydney in 89; moved to tropical Queensland in 96
(I get tired of places after a while, I guess). Happily single; no family here
and very few ties to family up there. I'm a workaholic who no longer has the
health to be a workaholic. No time or money anymore for hobbies but I have a
telescope and I went to the local premiere of Revenge of the Sith dressed as
Princess Leia (that's a hint....! ).


Squamous cell carcinoma (cancer) in a White-lipped tree frog
(Litoria infrafrenata)
(copyrighted)



2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?

DP: I was already involved in volunteering (simultaneously) for bird groups, a
reptile group, a frog group, shark conservation, bat conservation; I had a day
job, my own animals, etc. and I just felt that I was spread so thin, I wasn't
achieving anything for conservation. I decided that I had to pick ONE animal
and drop all the others so I picked frogs. I believed that the extent of
knowledge gaps in that taxon created the greatest opportunity for contribution,
even by someone without a degree. It was also a small animal to work with and
easy to access so it could be studied in a home setting, unlike other animals
for which all you can do is send money somewhere for somebody else to work with.

Not sure I have a favourite species although some of the large, fat ground
dwelling species here are very impressive such as the Barred frogs (Mixophyes),
and the Waterholding frogs (Cyclorana). The large tree frogs here are also very
charismatic such as the White-lipped and Common Green (Litoria infrafrenata and
L. caerulea) and we see so much suffering in these species.


3)WFB: Do you keep any pets?

DP: Interested in parrots long before frogs - Australia is closed to import so I
wasn't able to bring my birds from NYC. I now keep some of the domestic species
that are considered "pests" by the farmers such as galahs (that's Rose-breasted
cockatoos to you!).


"Redlynch" virus in a Waterholding frog
(Cyclorana novahollandae) which causes the limbs to lose their functionality as
well as other skeletal deformities and sudden death
(copyrighted)


4)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?

DP: After doing a few other froggy things that I felt were deficient on their
conservation outcomes, I decided to start my own group. At the time that I
moved to the tropics, my health also went so I needed to do something from home
during parts of the day that I could function. I started out by taking in
injured frogs from the neighbourhood and fixing them up and made it into a
non-profit group after the numbers increased. There were three reasons for this
tactic of fixing up frogs:
1) amphibian rehabilitation is still a very new concept globally and very
little is known about how to fix what happens to amphibians. Too often what
happens is that nothing is done to study and help species while they are common
but everybody panics when they become endangered and suddenly start paying close
attention. By then, all the laws and restrictions kick in and the sorts of
things that private persons could do is skimmed right off the top because the
species are now off-limits to "amateurs" (at least it is that way here). So I
wanted to learn the techniques of fixing problems on amphibians while common
species are coming in the door. When they become rare in the future, we won't
be guessing at how to save them and we won't lose valuable individuals to
ignorance and trial and error.
2) We wanted to find out what sorts of things were happening to local frogs.
We knew that chytrid fungus was NOT involved so why else were they declining?
3) By learning how to save individual frogs, especially breeding age adults, we
could boost the numbers of frogs that were surviving to reproduce themselves and
reduce the losses to the population because of injury.

However, after the public knew of us and starting bringing in frogs, they very
rapidly changed from frogs which had been injured to frogs that were ill. We
chased the country's frog researchers with these specimens and discovered that
what was wrong with them was unknown and never seen here before. We realised
that getting these illnesses identified was the way to go when a frog with a
lump on its face turned up in April 1999. We biopsied the lump and sent it for
testing. The lab result was cancer. This confirmed that we had indeed stumbled
into a void that no-one else was filling. Since then, we have uncovered the
existence of another four new amphibian disease problems. We have been lobbying
government and academia for years trying to get funding for these new diseases
to be isolated and studied. So far, one of them has been picked up by James
Cook University and the Commonwealth govt (federal) is finally looking now at a
possible project to cover the other four. All these new diseases are described
in our website - the entire disease section is being restructured and updated so
have a read after May 16th - www.fdrproject.org.au


5)WFB: How did you get involved in this?

DP: Probably answered above. I did have frog husbandry experience in Sydney with
healthy frogs before I moved up here and that was essential to be able to
progress into caring for frogs that weren't normal and identifying the clinical
symptoms of disease.


Immuno-deficiency and advanced skin rot in the White-lipped tree frog. There
are more photos in our site.
(copyrighted)


6)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?

DP: The fact that I found several new problems/causes of frog decline that had
evaded everyone else in the country including those involved in frog monitoring
programs!


7)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?

DP: Hmmnn. This has not been an easy path to take and I probably wouldn't recommend
others to take my route if you want to get involved in disease research and
control. What I would recommend is to get a degree in anything that is
environmentally-oriented. There is still an attitude undertone operating in
some circles which says that you could discover the cure for cancer but, if you
don't have a degree, your cure is worthless. Once you've got your degree (or
while you're on that path), start chasing anomalies: the tadpoles of the wrong
colour; a drop in egg numbers or metamorph sizes; the weird spotting that frogs
in a particular location have been found with; the perfect pond for tadpoles
which has no tadpoles at all but all the other marine life; the loss of insects
from an area (which will lead to chronic poor condition in amphibians); etc.
Keep good records and take lots of clear photos.

However, anyone who has an interest in frogs can keep an eye out for anything
that is wrong or not normal and report all the details to someone/collect the
affected animals to deliver to a researcher. Tadpole rescue is also very
helpful for boosting local populations but please use procedures to make sure
that if a batch turns out to be diseased, you haven't been spreading it to other
tanks before you realised there was a problem. Often, tadpole problems won't
show up until the later stages of development when you've had your hands in
there and been sharing nets and cups and buckets for weeks already!


8)WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?

DP: Learn by doing/self taught. I constantly chase researchers, vets, other experts
to gather information. The summary of what I know is constantly revised based
on the arriving cases and their responses to treatments, applying information
from others, observing conditions in the field, and constantly applying the
question, "why is that?" to any situation/case.


9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?

DP: Chase anomalies; keep good records; persist in understanding how the anomaly can
occur even when others say, "what are you bothering with that for - it's just a
fluke". What appears to be an odd case is often part of a growing trend once
you start paying attention. Find out who's interested in amphibians and let
them know when you find something odd. It might be known and common and you'll
learn something new, but it might also be another piece to a puzzle somebody is
trying to work on.


10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)

DP: I think we've got a pretty good site, if I do say so myself :) and it’s only
half the size that we intend to present - www.fdrproject.org.au. Besides
disease surveillance, our group has many other strategies to implement for frog
conservation but donations have been poor since the Asian tsunami - we're always
looking for more support!


I would like like to take this opportunity to thank Deborah for her work with amphibian conservation and rehabilitation. Through her hard work, dedication and discoveries, she is making the world for amphibians a better place.

Note: I'll put a quick link under conservation so you can check out her site and give support.

Deborah Pergolotti, May the force be with you.

Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 9:58 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 14 May 2006 10:06 AM EDT
Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Thursday, 11 May 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Dr. Bob Brodman of St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer Indiana
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
I have another Frog Blog exclusive for you. Dr. Bob Brodman, from St. Joseph’s College in Northern Indiana, has agreed to an online interview. He has done extensive research with amphibians and is responsible for much of Northern Indiana's amphibian conservation efforts. Here is what he had to say.

Top Ten Questions on the Board

Wendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview


1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?


Dr. Brodman: I am a professor of biology & environmental science at Saint Joseph's College. I got my PhD from Kent State University. I have a wife and an 8 year old daughter who I coach in baseball & soccer. Hobbies: Herps (job & hobby blends), sports, percussion instruments.



2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?


Dr. Brodman: As a young child, I was always fascinated by animals and had several experiences of finding salamanders. Later in grad school the concept of metamorphosis as a powerful adaptation caught my interest and I've been studying amphibians ever since. My favorite amphibians to study are the pond-breeding Ambystoma salamanders because most of the adults are colorful and the larvae are awesome predators. But my favorite is probably the hellbender. It's big, rare and what a great name. My fantasy football & baseball teams are called the Hellbenders.

3)WFB: Do you keep any pets?


Dr. Brodman: At home, we have three dogs & three cats. In the lab, I usually keep several species of salamanders (lesser siren, newts, blue-spotted salamanders, tiger salamanders, and others that I might be studying). Pets vs. animals for education? Again, the distinction between work & hobby blurs.

4)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?


Dr. Brodman: My research is split between ecological questions associated with biodiversity of amphibians especially how several species are able to coexist in a habitat despite varying amounts of competition and predation. This kind of information can be useful in understanding conditions that affect their conservation. The other half of my research is more conservation oriented, such as restoration as a means of increasing amphibian biodiversity, the usefulness of amphibians in mosquito control, and landscape questions that focus on habitat characteristics that are associated with high biodiversity.

5)WFB: How did you get involved in this?


Dr. Brodman: My PhD is in Ecology and I studied competition between spotted and Jefferson salamanders for my dissertation. When I first came to Saint Joe's I wanted to continue this kind of research. In my 2nd year, I was invited to the 1st Declining Amphibian Population Task Force meeting and became aware of the major conservation concerns that surfaced in the early 90's. I realized the need for base-line data and continued monitoring of populations and began a program in Jasper County in 1994 where my students & I have been surveying amphibian populations ever since.

I also was invited to join the IDNR's Technical Advisory Committee on Amphibians and Reptiles. This group meets once a year to make recommendations to the state with regard to herp conservation. As I made many contacts that led to collaborations to the point where now most of my research is at least partially dealing with herp conservation.


6)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?


Dr. Brodman: I have gotten more out of it that I would have guessed when I 1st started. It feels good to find that a large-scale habitat restoration in Newton County resulted in an exponential increase in the abundance of amphibians. I'll never get tired of saying that. This inspired me to get my college to allow me to manage 67 acres on campus as a field station where we are conducting habitat restorations. Creating a 9 acre wetland and seeing it teaming with tiger salamander larvae is very fulfilling. But there is also a human aspect as well. Nothing is more fulfilling to me than to teach a conservation ethic and the see your students become concerned about amphibians.

7)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?


Dr. Brodman: I'll mention two paths. Volunteer. You join an amphibian monitoring program. The data is useful and you get to become part of a bigger long-term project. Education. Go to college, take conservation and herpetology courses, and most importantly get involved in research. At Saint Joseph's College, I have created an Amphibian Population Research program that allows students to get involved as early as their 1st year. The research skills learned are invaluable in preparing you for a career in wildlife conservation or graduation school.

8)WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?


Dr. Brodman: First, I learned the basics of science - Earth Science, Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. You have to be a scientist before you become a scientist who studies herp conservation. Then later on my interest in animals and salamanders in particular came together when I took my first ecology class in graduate school. I also cannot imagine doing what I do now if I did not do the research necessary to get a PhD. If not, then I think that I'd still would have been a good teacher and perhaps had an interest in herps, but no way would I have done the research or trained my students to do the research that we've been doing. Again, research is the most important experience to learn how to be a scientist.

9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?


Dr. Brodman: The Hellbenders are currently in 1st place in my fantasy baseball league.

10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)


Dr. Brodman: Here is a link to my research website: http://www.saintjoe.edu/academics/env_science/bobb/amphib1.html Dr. Brodman's research site
The site needs updating, but there are pictures that you can download
.

Go Hellbenders! Thank you for a terrific and inspiring interview, Dr. Brodman. If you would like to see short video clips of Dr. Brodman discussing Wetland Diversity and Seasonal Strategies, check out
Frog Calls... an evolving "webumentary". He will also be speaking at the Hoosier Herpetological Society meeting at Butler University on June 21st. He has two chapters in Status and Conservation of Midwestern Amphibians among many other publications. I would like to thank Dr. Brodman for his time and efforts through research and conservation toward amphibians, making the world a better place.


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 12:19 PM EDT
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Friday, 5 May 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Courtney Herrell, National Coordinator for Frogwatch USA
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
Courtney Herrell took over the Frogwatch USA coordinator job last fall, and has taken a great program and made it even better. Many things such as experienced volunteers facilitating training workshops, a livejournal where Frogwatchers can communicate with each other, a monthly conference call for new volunteers with questions, updated manuals and even T-shirts and decals for the car. That’s not to mention the huge increase in volunteers as well as frog awareness. She has privileged us with a Frog Blog exclusive.

Top Ten Questions on the Board
Wendell’s Frog Blog Online Interview

1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

CH: I grew up in Northern Virginia and have lived here all of my life, except for the year and a half I spent north of Pittsburgh for college. Unfortunately, I couldn’t handle the cold weather, so I finished out my degree at George Mason University. I received my degree in English, concentrating on nonfiction and editing. I am now working with National Wildlife Federation, but when I’m not at work, I am usually found with the girls lacrosse team that I coach or out to dinner with friends. I have a wide variety of activities – cross-stitching, reading, playing sports and looking for wildlife.

2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?

CH: I have always loved amphibians, but working with Frogwatch USA has greatly increased my love and knowledge of them. I remember when I was little, we lived in Ocean City, Maryland for the summers and the American Toads were found every wear. They were such a great thing to see and the fact that they ate lots of the millions of mosquitoes that swarmed our area was an added bonus.

3)WFB: Do you keep any pets?

CH: I have a Yorkshire Terrier named Kirby. He is a bundle of energy and the most adorable little thing. He’s very sweet, but very squiggly and rambunctious!

4)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?

CH: I am the Frogwatch USA Coordinator at National Wildlife Federation. I have the joy of teaching people across the country how to monitor frogs and toads in their area.

5)WFB: How did you get involved in this?

CH: I started with NWF right before my graduation from GMU as a temporary Habitats Program Assistant. As my assignment with the habitats team came to a close I was fortunate enough to discover that the Frogwatch USA position was available. Because I love frogs so much, and had experience with volunteer coordination with an assisted living home, I thought that it would be the perfect job!

6)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?

CH: The most fulfilling part is to see some one hear the frog calls for the first time, and to have the opportunity to hear the stories of the great work that our volunteers do.

7)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?

CH: The best way to get involved, is to just start small. Even the simplest actions to help the environment are tremendous.

8)WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?

CH: I have learned most of my knowledge about amphibians from my job. Before taking on this position, I just appreciated the frogs and toads as I saw them, but with the research I do to help answer volunteers’ questions and to help guide them through the Frogwatch program, I have learned so much about these beautiful creatures.

9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?

CH: Amphibians are so important to our environment and quality of life. Without them, pest populations will get out of control, our children will not have the joy of playing with frogs and toads and we will potentially lose very important research opportunities. In addition, amphibian decline is an indicator that something is going on in the environment globally.

When I think of the future of America, I hope that our posterity has the opportunity to see and experience the wonders of wildlife first hand and not from old pictures.

10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)

CH: www.frogwatch.org

I would like to thank Courtney for this wonderful interview, and for all her hard work and dedication to the Frogwatch USA program. She had some very big shoes to fill from former coordinators Emily Gibbs and Amy Goodstine, but she has taken all the awesome efforts they had put into Frogwatch and helped it to grow even more. I encourage everyone to check out the Frogwatch USA Homepage, it is frequently updated with new and interesting information and opportunities. For a quick link, look under conservation sites at the left.


Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 9:04 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, 5 May 2006 9:38 AM EDT
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Tuesday, 2 May 2006
Frog Blog Profile with John Wilkinson, European Toad Researcher
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
Mr. Wilkinson's Research site about his fascinating work with the European toad (Bufo bufo) is a great place to start when looking at the vast contributions the English have made towards amphibian research and conservation. I contacted him about doing an online interview and here is what he had to say.

Top Ten Questions on the Board

Wendell's Frog Blog Online Interview


1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family? (Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?
JW: I was born in Shropshire in the English Midlands, a beautiful County with low population density: rolling hills in the south and meres (large lakes) in the north. The town I was born in was also the birthplace of Charles Darwin (Shrewsbury) but I'm really from the village of Dawley, known really only for being home to the first person to swim the English Channel (Captain Matthew Webb). I'm not married and have no siblings. Outside of work I'm into antiques, natural history photography and classic British cars!
John provided me with this photo of him radio tracking.


2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?
JW: I'm lucky to be working on my favourite amphibian for my PhD! The European toad is an enigmatic animal with great character. They used to breed in fishponds near my parents' home and I think that's what got me interested. Sadly, they seem to have gone from those ponds now...

3)WFB: Do you keep any pets?
JW: I've kept a lot of amphibians and reptiles over the years but at the moment just have some rescued tortoises - they live with my folks whilst I'm on fieldwork. Pet-keeping gives people an appreciation of the natural world but I hate to see garish colour "morphs" of reptiles and frogs for sale and it annoys me that endangered species can still be found in the trade.

4)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?
JW: I was International Coordinator of the IUCN Declining Amphibian Populations Task Force for 8 years and only left to do my PhD. Toads here on the island of Jersey (yes, that's the small British island off the coast of France, the one the US state was named after!) have been declining for several decades - they used to be VERY common here (the islanders are called "crapauds", the local name for toads, and there is a statue to a toad in the capital, St. Helier). I'm looking at population biology, breeding habits, genetics, habitat use, radio tracking etc. etc. etc. These Jersey toads behave very differently from their counterparts in England and France...!

5)WFB: How did you get involved in this?
JW: See above!

6)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?
JW: I enjoy doing fieldwork after being in an office for a long time. It's also important to me that the results of my PhD will be used for conservation, rather than just being "pure" science without obvious practical purpose.

7)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?
JW: If you're just starting out, get a biology or ecology degree if you can. If you're already in IT or retail management and longing for the outdoors, volunteer with a local toad crossing patrol or join a local wildlife organisation where you can help dig ponds and/or create habitats.

8)WFB: How did you learn about amphibians to do what you do?
JW: Observation, mostly. Then I specialized in amphibians for my Honours degree and I've been working with them ever since!

9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?
JW: Regarding amphibians: remember their terrestrial habitat is just as important as the ponds they breed in!
-Just generally: Remember everything you do every day has a profound impact on the natural world and only you can reduce that impact. Whatever the politicians try to tell you, climate change is real and it's here, now. Maybe buy a house on a hill...


10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)
JW: Check out www.thetoadsite.co.uk for pics and links. If anyone conducting herpetological conservation research would like to establish mutual links, drop me an e-mail!

I would like to thank Mr. Wilkinson for this wonderful interview. Your work with DAPTF and through your research, you are helping to make the world a better place for amphibians, which in turn makes it better for everything. Thank you for your efforts and dedication.

Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 11:47 AM EDT
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Thursday, 27 April 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Dr. Michael Finkler of Indiana University at Kokomo
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
Dr. Mike Finkler, Associate Professor of Biology at Indiana University at Kokomo, has agreed to do a Frog Blog interview to let us know about the work he does helping to better understand the physiology of amphibians and reptiles and how to use that to help conserve them. He has a wide range of field experience in Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio and Indiana involving snakes (northern water snakes, eastern garter snakes and queensnakes), turtles (snapping and ornate box turtles) and salamanders (spotted, tiger, smallmouth, and jefferson-blue spotted hybrids). I have been fortunate to go to two lectures he arranged with Dr. Jeffrey A. Wilson of U of M about paleontology, and with Dr. Paul Sotherland of Kalamazoo College about the Leatherback turtle. I also had the opportunity to hear Dr. Finkler speak about Snapping turtles at the March meeting of the Hoosier Herpetological Society. This was truly a delight.

Top Ten Questions on the Board

Wendell's Frog Blog Online Interview

1)WFB: Name, Rank and Serial Number. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where
are you from? Where did you go to school? Maybe a little about your family?
(Married? Siblings?) Hobbies?

Dr. Finkler: I spent my childhood in northeast Pennsylvania and went to high school in
Southwest Michigan. I have my B.A. from Kalamazoo College, and my M.S. and
Ph.D. from Miami University (the one in Ohio, not to be confused with the
University of Miami, which is in Florida). I have two children: Matthew, who
just turned four, and Anna, who is 18 months. In what little spare time I have
these days, I play guitar, enjoy nature, and cook.



2)WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians?
Dr. Finkler: My interest in herps is due to a number of factors. My mother has her
bachelor's degree in zoology from the Univ. of Penn., and when I was a child she
regularly took the family to the Philadelphia Zoo and museums such as the
Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and the Carnegie Museum of Natural
History in Pittsburg. That, coupled by my love of Godzilla movies, fostered an
interest in dinosaurs, and since at the time the dominant paradigm was still
that dinosaurs were essentially big lizards, I became fascinated with reptiles
and, since they kind of look like reptiles, amphibians. That childhood love of
these animals never went away, and when in grad school I had an opportunity to
actually turn this into a career.


3)WFB: What is your favorite amphibian,
and why?

Dr. Finkler: As for a favorite amphibian, don't make me choose! Their all pretty cool.

4)WFB: Do you keep any pets?
Dr. Finkler: I keep some tropical fish, and a few turtles. I have a Mississippi that I
adopted from a student who wanted to get rid of his pets, and a midland painted
turtle and a pair of stinkpots I raised from eggs left over from my research.


5)WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?
Dr. Finkler: I'm an ecological physiologist--I'm interested in how conditions in an animal's
environment affect its physiology. My work with amphibians deals with the
ecological physiology of reproduction. In particular, I am interested in
differences in the energetic cost of reproduction between the sexes in early
spring-breeding species and how this, in turn, influences morphological,
physiological, and demographic differences between males and females. Most of
this work has been on ambystomatid salamanders (mainly Ambystoma texanum and A.
maculatum), but a couple of years ago I expanded this work to frogs (mainly
Pseudacris crucifer and P. triseriata)


6)WFB: How did you get involved in this?
Dr. Finkler: Although I've always liked amphibians (and particularly salamanders), most of my
research in grad school centered on reptiles, but about halfway through my Ph.D.
work I had an idea to examine the energetic cost of transport in animals that
migrate as part of their reproductive ecology. Ambystomatid salamanders seemed
like a great model. Noting that gravid females have a lot of additional stuff
to lug around, I became interested not only in locomotor performance but in
metabolic rate. When I noted there was a big difference in resting metabolic
rate, I became interested in a) what accounts for this difference in metabolic
rate between the sexes and b) how does this affect stored energy reserves (fat
and glycogen) that could impact future growth, survivorship, and subsequent
reproduction.


7)WFB: What has been the most fulfilling part of working with amphibians for you?
Dr. Finkler: Probably that it's just plain fun to be running around in the woods on a warm
rainy night catching salamanders. Herping rocks! But there is also the
scientific discovery which is personally and professionally fulfilling. Lastly,
I occasionally do presentations of amphibians to school-age children, and that
is an incredible experience, because most do not realize that there are so many
different kinds of amphibians that live right in this area. When you do
presentations like that; you plant the seeds that hopefully will help these
children see the value and beauty of amphibians and of the natural world as a
whole later in life. We need that.


8)WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?
Dr. Finkler: Get involved with nature groups like the Audubon Society, the Nature
Conservancy and more local groups like the Wildcat Guardians in north-central
Indiana. Visit your local nature centers and preserves frequently, and attend
those special events they hold. Volunteer for NAAMP surveys if you have the
opportunity. Also, learn your frog calls, and if you know people who have plots
of woodlands or wetlands, ask them if you can look around for amphibians in
there. If you would like to get involved in the scientific side of things,
contact college and university professors and volunteer--we love free labor!


9)WFB: What is the most important thing you want others to know?
Dr. Finkler: That virtually everything you do has an impact on this world and on wildlife,
and it's usually negative. Your drive to work, that mango and that box of
frozen shrimp you bought at the supermarket, that new home you are building on
the road frontage of a farm field, those leaves you burned in your back yard,
all of it. There is a cost to everything, and that cost is usually for more
than what most people think
.

10)WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share? (websites, contact info, other affiliations)
Dr. Finkler: If you would like to learn more about my work, you can visit my web site at Dr. Michael S. Finkler

Thank you so much for taking time out of your hectic schedule for this interview. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank you for all the hard work you do and have done for the better understanding and conservation of amphibians and reptiles.

Note: According to Dr. Finkler's countdown on his site, George W only has 998 days left in office.




Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 11:55 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 27 April 2006 12:53 PM EDT
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Friday, 21 April 2006
Frog Blog Profile with Todd Pierson
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: Frog Blog Profiles
I am starting a new profiles section on this site. I will throw some questions at amphibian conversationalists and let you know what they have to say. So many people out there are doing great thing and this will help let others know what is going on and my way of thanking them for their contributions to the world of amphibians.

Me with a Southern Black Racer, photo by Alec Peterson
My first profile is on a Nature Photographer from Central Indiana, Todd Pierson.

WFB: What sparked your interest in amphibians? What is your favorite amphibian, and why?
Todd: I had a school project on ecosystems and got some White's treefrogs for the project. I decided to go look for them in the wild and ever since, I've been hooked. My favorite amphibian is a tie. I love Gray Treefrogs and Marbled Salamanders because they are awesome looking and fun to find.

WFB: Do you keep any pets?
Todd: Pets, where to start. We have 4 dogs, many cats (some strays), 3 rabbits, 1 hamster, 2 White's treefrogs, 1 tomato frog, 1 leopard gecko, one bearded dragon, and one cockatiel. I got all my reptiles and amphibians before I got into field herping, and I don't get any more now.

WFB: How are you involved with amphibians and their conservation?
Todd: I love finding amphibians and go looking for them several times a week. I take photographs while out in the field and have had two local exhibits of my photos. I am giving three programs about Indiana herps and hope to do more in the future.

Note: Todd will be doing a Nature Hike in Zionsville Sunday, April 23. For more info check out my previous post: Nature with the kids in Zionsville

WFB: What would be the best way for others to get involved as you have?
Todd: I hope others can find a way to help amphibs too. Frogwatch and field herping (not collecting) are great ways to get involved.

WFB: Do you have anything else you would like to share?
Todd: My website, as you know, is: hoosierherper.tripod.com

For a quick link to Todd's Web Site look in the links column on the left. To read one of my previous posts about Todd and a spectacular photo of his: World Class Photographer in the Making
Thank you Todd for sharing your experience with us and for the great work you do.







Posted by wendellsfrogblog at 6:33 PM EDT
Updated: Friday, 21 April 2006 11:32 PM EDT
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