A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

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Our Zookeeper Friend Returns

Posted by lindamartinandersen on April 25, 2014

“Our Zookeeper Friend Returns” by Linda Martin Andersen

A Writer's Playground Fotosearch_u17996074 “A Writer’s Playground”–A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

April 26, 2014 is Amphibian Awareness Day at the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro–

an annual event held in conjunction with

Save the Frogs Day

that occurs around the world.  Visit here to learn more:  http://www.savethefrogs.com/

Melissa Barr, the zookeeper pictured below, is here to tell us about Amphibian Awareness Day. She works with the alligators, cougars, waterfowl, as well as a variety of other reptiles and amphibians in the Cypress Swamp section of the North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro.  Anyone with this kind of courage deserves our attention and respect! 

You’ll also want to meet Melissa’s friend, the special frog mascot of the day. 

Zookeeper, Melissa Barr, with the Frog Mascot

Zookeeper, Melissa Barr, with the Frog Mascot


Amphibian Awareness Activities and presentations are scheduled from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and are free of charge.  Cypress Swamp will host the trivia wheel game.  Kid Zone will include activities such as face painting and crafts. 

Zookeeper, Lane Bactot, with Spin the Wheel Amphibian Trivia Game.

Zookeeper, Lane Batot, with Spin the Wheel Amphibian Trivia Game.



Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

Poison Dart Frog Exhibit

What are amphibians? Amphibians consist of  frogs, toads,  newts, salamanders, and caecilians.  Most people are familiar with frogs and toads as they are the “hoppers.”  Salamanders are amphibians that have four legs, a long and slender body and a long tail.  On a side note, North Carolina has more salamander species than any other state due to the diverse geography from mountains to coastal swamps.  Caecilians are a rarely seen amphibian that lacks limbs. 

Why Amphibians? 

Amphibian populations around the world are declining at an alarming rate. Almost 1/3 of all amphibians are in decline.  If something is affecting these animals, we should be concerned as well.  They are an indicator species as they have permeable skin that is sensitive to environmental hazards.  And of course, frogs are just awesome and we don’t want to lose such beautiful animals! 

What is cause of decline in amphibians?

Pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.
What can people do to help? 

A lot of the things that people can do to help amphibians also help other animals as well.  When possible, try to recycle or buy items that are made of recycled materials.  Use less water when taking a shower or turn off the water when brushing your teeth.  Keep pollution out of all waterways, including using pesticides and herbicides responsibly is used at all.  Don’t remove amphibians from the wild, but observe and enjoy them when you see them.  Learn as much as possible about amphibians and educate others!

How do amphibians benefit humans?

They eat lots of insects!  They are part of the food chain.  Tadpoles keep waterways clean by feeding on algae.  Frogs are an important food source for many animals.  Frogs are studied for use in medicinal research that benefits humans.

To read earlier posts by Melissa Barr, check these sites: 



To learn more about the North Carolina Zoological Park, check here: 

nczoo.org (NC Zoo website)

nczoo.com (NC Zoo Society website)

Let’s thank Melissa Barr for sharing her zookeeping experiences with us. Melissa, please tell all the animals in your area “Hello” from us.

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a zoo in your area.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend. Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Children 13 years old or older may leave a comment–Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. (COPPA)  See:  http://www.coppa.org/coppa.htm

Copyright © 2014 Linda Martin Andersen

10 Responses to “Our Zookeeper Friend Returns”

  1. off to share on FB> thanks for all the resources and links!

    • Carol,
      You’re welcome for the resources and links. I hope you get to visit the zoo sometime soon. Maybe you’ll get a chance to meet Melissa Barr. How about those blue frogs?

      Thanks for visiting often and for spreading the word about my posts. You’re a great friend..

  2. Joan Y. Edwards said

    Dear Linda, Thank you for sharing the information from Melissa about saving the frogs.
    I used to play with frogs when I was a little girl. I loved watching them hop here and there in water puddles after a big rain in Tucker, Georgia.

    Celebrate you.
    Never Give Up

  3. Hi Linda, I love reading about animals of all kinds. Blue dart frogs are among my favorites. Wish I had a frog mascot. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    • Hi Tracy,
      I’m not surprised to hear that you like to read about animals of all kinds. I imagine you could come up with a mascot for each month. April could be the blue dart frog. What about your gone fishing sign? Isn’t it a frog? I remember that it’s adorable.

  4. Tracy,
    I’ve never been called an idea machine before. Wow! What a nice compliment. I’ll think them up if you’ll draw them. 😉

  5. Melissa Barr said

    Hi everyone! I heard there was a question regarding the caecilians. Not many people have heard of a caecilian as they are not native to North America, and they are burrowing species that is seldom seen. Although they resemble snakes, worms or eels, they are still an amphibian that have jaws and teeth. They are carnivorous, feeding on insects, worms and other invertebrates. Caecilians are found primarily in wet tropical regions of South America, Southeast Asia, Africa and Central America.

    • Melissa,
      Thanks for taking time to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again to answer the follower’s question. I hope she reads your response here. I sent her an email too. It’s always great to have a zookeeper come to visit.

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