Toad Abodes: Creating Habitat for the Western Toad - Eva Varga

October 23, 20081

One afternoon each month, I coordinate a nature outing or service learning activity for the children in our neighborhood. We usually meet at the park or our home where I lead them through a different hands-on activity. This past week, our activity focus was on native amphibians, specifically the Western Toad (Anaxyrus boreas).

The Western Toad is a large toad species, between 5.6 and 13 cm long, native to western North America. The range of Western Toad extends throughout the Pacific Northwest. Though the species occupies a variety of habitats, it is listed as near threatened largely due to the impact of disease and chemical contamination of the environment. We wanted to do something to help provide habitat for these animals.

Upon arrival, everyone gathered around the dining room table and took their time to paint a terracotta pot. Once dry, the pots will be placed in our backyards in the hopes of providing habitat for frogs and other small critters. When the kids finished painting their pots, we gathered on the carpet as I read excerpts from several books about frogs and toads.

We discussed the difference between frogs and toads, the concentration of poison in the skin of poison arrow frogs, rough skinned newts and others, as well as the life-cycle of amphibians. The kids also enjoyed a mini-activity called Hands-on Herps from Ranger Rick’s Let’s Hear it for Herps.

Here are a few great links to learn more about encouraging wildlife, specifically frogs & toads, to inhabit your backyard:

I love Roots & Shoots Tuesdays.

One comment

  • tie-dyed doula

    December 3, 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Hey there! Is Roots n Shoots a program that you put together or one that has a curriculum. I am interested in getting our youth and below involved in ecology,farming, being good stewards towards the earth and humanity efforts and thought this sounded so fun! My email is if you ever get a chance, let me know
    Shine ON!

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