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Posts tagged ‘conservation’

Protecting the Prince

Here’s some simple advice: Always be yourself. Never take yourself too seriously. And beware of advice from experts, pigs and members of Parliament. -Kermit the Frog

I missed National Frog Month (APRIL, by the by), but no worries. It doesn’t diminish my excitement (squeal!) when I see these lovelies, and I still spend a ridiculous amount of time snapping them. Like this little guy, who was posing next to his bronzed brethren in a pond fountain….

[Click on photos to enlarge]

Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia

Such a look. I giggle every time I look at him….

Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia

What beautiful eyes you have, my lovely

Frogs are amphibians, which comes from the Greek meaning “both lives.” Below are a few fun facts on these fascinating creatures, those that live in water and on land.

Frogs continue to be seen as an indicator species, providing scientists with valuable insight into how an ecosystem is functioning. Because they are both predators and prey, many animals are affected by them — giving further insight into the health of the ecosystem. There are over 6,000 species of frogs worldwide. Scientists continue to search for new ones…. Unfortunately, about 120 amphibian species, including frogs, toads and salamanders, have disappeared since 1980. Historically, one species of amphibian would disappear every 250 years. A powerful case for conserving and nurturing their (and our) environments. Our adorable little Southern green tree frogs took up residence in unused and abandoned birdhouses, and I happily accommodated them by adding more (and of course, never using pesticides) — anything to help their dwindling populations.

* ~ *  Fun and Fascinating Frogs * ~ *

    • Frogs have roamed the Earth for more than 200 million years — at least as long as the dinosaurs.
    • They were the first land animals with vocal cords. Male frogs have vocal sacs — pouches of skin that fill with air. They resonate sounds like a megaphone, and some sounds can be heard from a mile away.
    • Ida Rentoul Outhwaite - "I Am Kexy, Friend to Fairies"; The Fairy - The Little Green Road to Fairyland, 1922

      Ida Rentoul Outhwaite: “I Am Kexy, Friend to Fairies”; The Fairy – The Little Green Road to Fairyland, 1922

      Toads are frogs. The word toad is usually used for frogs that have warty and dry skin, as well as shorter hind legs.

    • The world’s largest frog is the goliath frog of West Africa, which can grow to 15 inches and weigh up to 7 pounds. Think of a newborn human baby….
    • The smallest frogs are from Papua New Guinea, measuring in at only 9 mm in length.
    • While the life spans of frogs in the wild are unknown, frogs in captivity have been known to live up to 30 years.
    • A group of frogs is called an army.
    • Most frogs have teeth, although usually only on their upper jaw. The teeth are used to hold prey in place until the frog can swallow it.
    • Launched by their long legs, many frogs can leap more than 20 times their body length.
    • Frogs blink as they swallow their prey, thereby pushing their eyeballs down on top of the mouth to help push food down their throats.
Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, The Jazz Band, 1921

Ida Rentoul Outhwaite: The Jazz Band, 1921

  • A frog completely sheds its skin about once a week — at which point the frog usually eats it.
  • The wood frog is the only frog found north of the Arctic Circle, surviving for weeks with 65% of its body frozen. It uses glucose in its blood as a type of antifreeze that concentrates in its vital organs, protecting them from damage.
  • The Australian water-holding frog is a desert dweller that can wait up to seven years for rain. It burrows underground and surrounds itself in a cocoon made of its own shed skin.
  • One gram of the toxin produced by the skin of the golden poison dart frog could kill 100,000 people.
  • The female Surinam toad lays up to 100 eggs, which are then spread over her back. Her skin swells around the eggs, protecting them. After 12-20 weeks, fully formed young toads emerge by pushing out through the membrane covering the toad’s back.
  • When Darwin’s frog tadpoles hatch, a male frog swallows them. He keeps the tiny amphibians in his vocal sac for about 60 days, while they grow — coughing them up when they grow as tiny, fully formed frogs.
  • The glass frog has translucent skin, so you can see its internal organs, bones, and muscles — even its beating heart and digesting food.
  • A frog in Indonesia has no lungs — it breathes entirely through its skin.
Green Frog Enjoying the Pond, Atlanta Botanical Gardens, Atlanta, Georgia

In the flesh and in bronze: both so lovely

Frog Infographic

Save the Frogs!

Save the Frogs!

For more info:

If Frogs Go Extinct....

We don’t want frogs to disappear! No! Courtesy of Vancouver Aquarium

Go Hug a Tree — It’s Arbor Day!

I was just sittin’ here enjoyin’ the company. Plants got a lot to say, if you take the time to listen. -Eeyore

* * *

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live. -Hermann Hesse

* * *

Trees are the earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven. -Rabindranath Tagore

* * *

Look at the trees, look at the birds, look at the clouds, look at the stars… and if you have eyes you will be able to see that the whole existence is joyful. Everything is simply happy. Trees are happy for no reason; they are not going to become prime ministers or presidents and they are not going to become rich and they will never have any bank balance. Look at the flowers — for no reason. It is simply unbelievable how happy flowers are. -Osho

Untouched Cypress Swamp on the Florida Trail Extension near Jonathan Dickinson State Park (OFF-TRAIL!)

Loving the trees in rare untouched cypress swamp

It’s Arbor Day! And despite a wee bit of life’s chaos, I couldn’t neglect our most amazing, most magnificent creatures. As caretakers of this beautiful sphere, it remains our utmost responsibility to honor, safeguard, and protect these living entities. Upwards of 5,000 years old, they’ve borne witness to the rise and fall of entire civilizations. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Plant a tree…Recycle…Go paperless…Follow conservation groups diligently working to protect these lovely, ancient living citadels. Or just show one some love and respect, and give it a nice hugggggg. 🙂

 

Cypress trees in the swamp, Florida Everglades

The always lovely cypress trees in the Everglades

A new trail....

A new trail….

Slash Pine Close-up

Slash pine close-up

Pine flatwoods vista

Pine flatwoods vista

Oak Trees of the Florida Trail, Jonathan Dickinson

The Gentlemen Oaks of the Florida Trail

Sunset tree

Sunset vista

Lovely cypress in winter

The fascinating cypress in winter

Looking up into the canopy of the hardwood swamp

The canopy of a hardwood swamp

Everyone loves trees!

Everyone loves trees!

Heart Tree, Fern Forest Nature Center, Broward County, Florida

Heart Tree!

It’s National Wildlife Week: March 17-23

It’s National Wildlife Week!

[Click on images for greater clarity]

Marsh Rabbit Baby, Florida Wetlands

The ridiculously adorable marsh rabbit baby in the Florida wetlands — or as I call them, swamp bunnies

Founded by the National Wildlife Federation, National Wildlife Week is the organization’s “longest-running education program designed around teaching and connecting kids to the awesome wonders of wildlife.” The theme of 2014 — Wildlife and Water — is an effort to “provide fun and informative educational materials, curriculum and activities for educators and caregivers to use with kids.”

Sunning Alligator, Florida Everglades

A cuddly and lazy sunning alligator in the northern section of the Florida Everglades

Living on the edge / vestiges of the magnificent Everglades, the theme of Wildlife and Water is perfection. From the marshes and swamps, to the ‘glades, to the lakes and rivers and open ocean, the opportunities to explore the wonders and beauties of our unique wildlife are endless in South Florida.

Great Egret, Everglades, Florida

A regal great egret rests against the setting sun in the waters of the northern Florida Everglades

Visit their site to learn more, spread the word, and further the conservation efforts of these wonders.

It’s World Turtle Day!

The idea of wilderness needs no defense, it only needs defenders. ―Edward Abbey

Gaaa! Today — May 23, 2013 — is the 13 annual World Turtle Day! This special day was created to help people celebrate and protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

I love our turtles and tortoises…. I grew up with the giant South Pacific sea turtles (MAGNIFICENT), and now, I always have towels in my car for the sole purpose of transporting wayward turtles on our Florida roads (especially during nesting season, poor babies). If you encounter and relocate one, remember to *always* move them to safety in the direction he / she’s heading. Wildlife needs every tiny bit of help we can offer. More from the Mother Nature Network, in honor of this day celebrating these wonderful guys:

“The earliest turtles evolved up to 300 million years ago, branching off from a group of reptiles more closely related to crocodiles and birds than to lizards and snakes. Lots of turtle species have come and gone since then, including some spectacular ones like the car-sized “coal turtle” or the Koopa-like Meiolania damelipi. But today’s turtles face an unusually widespread danger, with about half of Earth’s 328 known species listed as threatened or endangered with extinction. They’re largely under siege from humans, yet unlike King Koopa, they didn’t bring this on themselves….”

Red-bellied Turtle, Flamingo Gardens, Florida

A Red-bellied turtle finds sanctuary at Flamingo Gardens

Florida Cooter (Turtle) in the Florida Wetlands

A Florida Cooter safely surveys his domain in the wetlands

Visiting with an Ancient Tortoise at Flamingo Gardens, Florida

Visiting with an ancient tortoise at the Flamingo Gardens wildlife rehabilitation center and sanctuary, last year… I would have climbed in for cuddles, if possible.

Sea Turtle, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Juno Beach, Florida

A rescued sea turtle in rehabilitation at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach

And finally, one of my favorite guys: The always gentle and shy Gopher tortoise! I’m always trying to catch a glimpse of these sweethearts, and have written a few times in this blog about their essential role to our ecology, and the need for their continued protection.

Gopher (Burrowing) Tortoise, Savannas Preserve State Park

Trying my best not to frighten a Gopher (Burrowing) tortoise in the Savannas Preserve State Park


Read more about World Turtle Day, and protecting turtles and tortoises here
and here:

at Mother Nature Network, and at the

Loggerhead Marinelife Center in Juno Beach, Florida, and at

World Wildlife Foundation, and at

Nature artist / writer Denise Dahn’s blog, learn about Gopher tortoises, and finally at

treehugger!

Happy Birthday, Mr. Audubon!

A true conservationist is a man who knows that the world is not given by his fathers, but borrowed from his children.

As I grew up I was fervently desirous of becoming acquainted with Nature.

But hopes are Shy Birds flying at a great distance seldom reached by the best of Guns. —John James Audubon

Happy birthday to one of the most intriguing figures of history, the French-American ornithologist, conservationist, naturalist, and painter. John James Audubon — a man whose influence is keenly felt to this day — documented countless American birds in his gorgeous and brilliant drawings. His masterpiece — the enormous (-sized) color-plate book, The Birds of America (1827–1839), is widely considered to be the finest ornithological and artistic works ever created.

Thank you, sir, and happy birthday!

Audubon, Great Egret, 1821

Audubon, Great Egret, 1821

Great Egret in Breeding Plumage, Florida Wetlands

Great Egret in Breeding Plumage, Florida Wetlands

Audubon, Louisiana Heron (Tricolored Heron)

Audubon, Louisiana Heron (Tricolored Heron)

Tricolored (Louisiana) Heron, Florida Wetlands

Tricolored (Louisiana) Heron, Florida Wetlands

Visit Florida Rambler to learn about his beautiful Key West home, where he stayed in 1832… Discovering 18 new species (well, to the Western world at least).

National Audubon Society Logo — The Great Egret in Flight (Courtesy of The National Audubon Society)

National Audubon Society Logo — The Great Egret in Flight (Courtesy of The National Audubon Society)

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