Australian Museum and Bunnings celebrate International Day for Biological Diversity with launch of National Frog Pond Building Project.
Tuesday 22 May, 2018. Sydney, Australia - International Biological Diversity Day: The Australian Museum (AM) and a team from Bunnings Warehouse today helped Camdenville Primary School students build a frog pond, marking the launch of the National Frog Pond Building Project.
The National Frog Pond Project supports AMs national citizen-science project, FrogID and will be rolled out nationally with the help of local Bunnings stores. AM and Bunnings team members will work with local schools to build and develop frog ponds in schools across Australia to help raise awareness about the importance of frogs and the environment.
FrogID, a ground-breaking citizen science project, launched in November 2017 focusses on one of Australia’s most threatened animal groups – frogs. FrogID, supported by the FrogID app and developed by the AM in partnership with IBM, uses the latest in audio recording technology to record and identify frogs by their call.
Identification of frogs by appearance is almost impossible for many species, but identification using frog calls is remarkably accurate. The rapid disappearance of frogs from our ecosystems is a warning about the rate of environmental change. Frogs are highly sensitive to variations on land and in water and are among the most endangered group of animals in Australia.
Australian Museum Director and CEO, Kim McKay AO, welcomed Bunnings to, FrogID. “We are very pleased to be working with Bunnings. With their support, school children and communities across the nation will be building frog ponds and ‘frog-friendly’ environments to help Australia’s frog populations thrive. Australia-wide, we have already lost at least four species of frog to extinction and many more are at risk. The support from Bunnings will help conservation efforts by creating habitats for frogs and improving the health of urban and suburban ecosystems.”
Bunnings Chief Operating Officer, Debbie Poole, said, “We are very excited to be teaming up with the Australian Museum on FrogID. We actively support a wide range of sustainable campaigns and initiatives and are looking forward to involving school students across Australia on this project.”
In urban areas, human development has reduced the natural habitat available to frogs. The FrogID project, with support from local Bunnings team members, will allow schools across the country to create frog ponds within school grounds. This activity will help conservation efforts by providing frogs in and around Australia somewhere to live, providing a haven from habitat destruction and pollution.
One of Australia’s leading frog experts, and project director, Dr. Jodi Rowley, Curator, Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Biology, Australian Museum said, “Frogs are at a tipping point in the environment. They are a huge component of the ecosystem. If you piled up all the animals in the forest, amphibians would be the biggest mass pile. They really are the ‘canaries in the coal mine’ of climate change.”
The AM, in collaboration with IBM, developed the mobile application using frog ‘audio DNA’. The app enables members of the public to accurately identify species and their habitats through their smart phone. By using the FrogID app and engaging communities, the AM will be able to track changes in frog populations and gauge the effect of environment change on different frog species.
FrogID has been made possible with support from the Australian Government’s Citizen Science Grants and IBM Australia’s Impact Grants program, and in collaboration with the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, Museums Victoria, Queensland Museum, South Australian Museum, Tasmanian Museum and the Western Australian Museum.
Help save our frogs by downloading the free FrogID app. Find out more at www.frogid.net.au.
Frogs are amphibians that evolved around 350 million years ago. Amphibians have two parts to their life cycle (amphibian means ‘both life’) the first in water during the egg and larva stage and the second on land during the adult stage.
Frogs live on all the large landmasses of the world, except Antarctica and Greenland. They are most common in the warm, wet tropics, but they also live in rainforests, deserts, alpine areas and above and below ground.
Frogs require moisture to survive and to breed. Most frog species are nocturnal and are therefore more active, and vocal, after dusk. Given their reliance on water for breeding, frogs tend to call more after rain.
Some frog species breed almost all year, others will only breed (and therefore call) a few nights a year.
While the best time to hear frogs is typically the warmer months, as most frog species choose to breed in the spring and summer, some frog species prefer the cooler months. Others, such as the desert-dwelling Eastern Water-holding Frog (Cyclorana platycephala), will just call anytime that it rains enough.
In almost all frog species, only males call. As every species has a different sounding call, you can identify frog species just by listening. The typical calls that we hear frogs make are male frogs advertising themselves as potential partners, hoping that female frogs will be attracted to them. Because the aim of the encounter is to breed, male frogs typically call in or near water (ponds, dams, streams and wetlands), where eggs are most often laid and tadpoles develop.
About International Day for Biological Diversity
The United Nations has proclaimed May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues which includes:
- Promoting education on biodiversity
- Integrate biodiversity concerns into education strategies and
- Fostering participation in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use issues
About the Australian Museum (AM)
The AM, founded in 1827, is the nation’s first museum and is an internationally recognised natural science and culture institution focused on Australia and the Pacific. As custodian of more than 18 million objects, the AM is uniquely positioned to provide a greater understanding of the region through its scientific research, exhibitions and public and education programs. Through the Australian Museum Research Institute, the AM also has a leading role in conserving Australia’s biodiversity through understanding the environmental impacts of climate change, potential biosecurity threats and invasive species.
About Bunnings Warehouse
Bunnings is the leading retailer of home improvement and outdoor living products in Australia and New Zealand. Bunnings employs over 40,000 team members and operates over 250 warehouses. Bunnings understands that their operation has an impact, both on the communities they work in and more widely. It is fundamental to the Bunnings business to meaningfully participate in local neighborhoods and schools and to have a long-term focus on sustainability.