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Signs of Spring: April 6, 1998
Some of the favorite sounds of spring
have now been heard all the way into Canada. This map shows the greening of spring, as told by singing frogs:
The singing of frogs is especially good to hear, because frog populations are declining
worldwide. Loss of habitat, chemical pollution, acid rain and increasing intensity of UV radiation have all been
blamed. "It's not easy being a frog," Kermit has always warned.
Frogs are especially sensitive to environmental conditions: They depend on clean water to develop from egg to tadpole
to frog. And their permeable skin is sensitive to contaminants from water, air and light. So sensitive are frogs,
that they serve as "bioindicators"--like living laboratories, they test the health of the environment
and provide an early warning of problems.
The good news of singing frogs was recently reported from the following places:
Please report when the FIRST Singing Frogs
are heard in your area.
Teacher Sam Conroy wrote last week from Madoc, Ontario:
"The spring peepers started to sing today (03/30/98) in our community, about two hours drive east and north
of Toronto, Ontario. There is still ice on some of the ponds. Last Saturday, March 28 we saw two leopard frogs
on the road near our home, but we have only heard the peepers singing. Spring has arrived!
"Michelle of Random Lake, WI heard a lot of peeping coming from the marsh in her backyard--it was frogs, alright.
She noticed the music around 8:00 P.M on 03/31/98."
"Spring peepers singing tonight. Just a few, but no mistake, they are singing," said Elly Anderson of
Castelton,VT on 03/30/98.
In Lewistown, Montana, Mrs. Flentie's 6th grade class monitors the water in their local stream.
They took a break to go frogging this spring. You can read about their work on their WWW site at: http://www.lewistown.net/~sflentie
As you'll read below, they invite other Journey North schools to share water monitoring
data with them:
My name is Shanon Klippenes and I'm in Mrs. Flentie's class. We found a Northern Leopard Frog in Warm Spring Creek.
We've attached an image of the frog to show you how we classified it. The other image is of the creek when we were
down there doing activities this fall. Our frog was green and it was about 4 inches long. It had 3 rows of irregularly
placed dark spots between conspicuous dorsolateral ridges. The spots were rounded and had light borders. It also
had a light line on the upper jaw. You can see from the picture that it fits this description that we found in
our identification guide. It also made a deep rattling snore just like it was supposed to. It made little clucking
grunts too. I made it croak by holding it in my hands and stroking it by it's head. We found another smaller frog
just like it later in the week. We found them on Feb. 20th and 22nd.
We were just lookin for the first frog because of the Journey North Project, but we do projects on the creek all
the time. We're working on a web site that shows what we're doing,
We look for other aquatic life and we look for differences in what we find in different areas of the creek. For
instance, we find more of the mayflies and catisflies where the bottom is rocky and the water is faster because
there's more air for them in the water. We find more bullheads, beetles and
life in general in the muddier mossier part of the creek.
We're monitoring the temperature to see if it is different at different times of the year and different spots in
the creek. We have a spreadsheet of our findings on our website and we would like for other schools to email us
with their temperature data in the same format.
Are frogs singing yet in Lewistown? Yes, the ones we found were found because they were singing. They're very early
this year because of the extra nice weather. They were singing at the end of February."
Mrs. Flentie's class
The Next Signs of Spring Update Will be Posted on April 13, 1998
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