It is estimated that a third of the world's 6,000 amphibian species are threatened with extinction. The status of many more is unknown but believed to be imperiled, bringing the percentage of threatened species potentially as high as 50%. The global amphibian crisis is affecting our world in countless ways and is considered to be the greatest species conservation challenge in the history of humanity.
Recently the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and its Amphibian Specialist Group have created a global conservation campaign, the Amphibian Ark, and designated 2008 as "The Year of the Frog." In 2008, Amphibian Ark will lead zoos across the world and their conservation partners in a globally coordinated public awareness campaign for "The Year of the Frog." The main goal of this campaign is to generate public awareness and understanding of the amphibian extinction crisis, bring attention to the amphibian conservation movement, and highlight ways in which the public can make positive contributions to conservation through activities in their daily lives.
Northeast Ohio's Year of the Frog Regional Initiative: "Leap into Action"
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo was planning to participate in "Year of the Frog", but was also compelled to reach out locally to conservation colleagues in Northeast Ohio in an attempt to work together to spread the word and get people involved in amphibian & wetland conservation. The aim was to coordinate a regional awareness effort which would promote regional amphibian and wetland conservation efforts, educate the regional community about the plight of amphibians and promote real opportunities for the public to support and get involved in amphibian conservation.
Over the past year Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cleveland Metroparks have worked with a number of regional partners to develop the "Year of the Frog" regional initiative, "Leap into Action," focusing on children and families and consisting of three major elements:
- "LEARN" ... about amphibians
- Work together with partners to increase awareness of amphibian/wetland conservation in Northeast Ohio
- "ACT" ... get involved to help amphibians and their habitats
- Provide real opportunities for action to promote amphibian/wetland conservation
- Raise funds to create new amphibian habitat in Northeast Ohio
- "SHARE" ... your story and enthusiasm
- Provide opportunity for kids to share information with others about their efforts
Working together, and with "Vern" the wood frog (short for vernal pool, of course) as our mascot, "Leap into Action," partners will hold almost two dozen family-friendly amphibian and wetland events, activities and programs in 2008 (events listing).
- There will be opportunities for people to ACT- to get involved and actively participate in amphibian conservation, and even contribute directly to the creation of new vernal pool habitat for amphibians in Northeast Ohio.
- Kids can participate directly using a "Leap into Action" Passport and collecting special "LEAP points" at each designated event/activity that they attend, then earning prizes for their efforts at a "LEAP INTO ACTION" party in the fall! They can also share their stories using the Frog Blog!
There are so many ways to get involved -- so learn, act, share and spread the word. Leap into action for amphibians and their habitats in 2008!