A Writer's Playground

Monthly Activities for Kids by Linda Martin Andersen

  • Copyright Notice

    Copyright © 2016 Linda Martin Andersen.

    Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this
    material without express and written permission
    from Linda Martin Andersen is strictly prohibited.

    Excerpts and links may be used, provided that
    full and clear credit is given to Linda Martin Andersen
    with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Posts Tagged ‘Save the Frogs Day’

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: 

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2013/07/22/the-return-of-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

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

Posted in Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

The Return of Melissa Barr, a Zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park

Posted by lindamartinandersen on July 22, 2013


“The Return of Melissa Barr, a Zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park” posted by Linda Martin Andersen

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

July 21-27 is National Zookeepers Week.  To celebrate, Melissa Barr, a zookeeper at North Carolina Zoological Park in Asheboro, NC, agreed to return for another visit.  If you’d like to look back at Melissa’s post from July 2012, check here:

https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/meet-melissa-barr-a-zookeeper-at-north-carolina-zoological-park/

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

nczoo.org (NC Zoo website)

nczoo.com (NC Zoo Society website)

Readers, have you been practicing your best animal cry?  If so, give Melissa a “zookeeper welcome.”  I wonder how Melissa would score your cry.

Melissa, what message do you have to share about what’s new for you at the zoo?

Hi, my name is Melissa Barr and I am a zookeeper at the North Carolina Zoological Park.  I work at the Cypress Swamp section with the alligators, cougars, waterfowl, as well as a variety of other reptiles and amphibians.

Keeper Barr feeding male gator, NC Zoo photo by Melissa Barr

Please Keep Your Chants Appropriate and Respectful of Zookeepers: 

Zookeepers are trained to practice safety when feeding animals.  Certainly we try our best.  Often pictures or video of our feedings make it look like we are closer to the animals than we are.  While feeding the alligators, visitors frequently call out chants.  Many cry out that they hope we get bitten! Even one of my son’s classmates made this chant during a field trip.  Please keep your chants appropriate and respectful of zookeepers.  Hey, we like our hands too!

An amphibian alert: 

107_0127                        107_0116 (2)

Decline of Amphibians:  Nearly one third of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct.

One of the animals I love to work with are the frogs.  We are trying to raise awareness of the decline of amphibians.  Most people don’t realize that nearly one third of frogs are in danger of becoming extinct.

Amphibians are important environmental indicators, meaning they are sensitive to environmental problems, and if something is affecting their populations, then likely something is wrong in the environment.  Amphibian populations are faced with many environmental problems, including pollution, infectious diseases, habitat loss, invasive species, climate change, and over-harvesting for the pet and food trades.

Another role of amphibians is their part in the food web.  They eat mosquitos and other pests and  in turn provide food for other animals.

They have potential in medicinal research that could provide new medicines to help people.

Finally, amphibians have a countless number of diverse and interesting species. 

One thing in particular I would like to point out is that frog dissections are unnecessary in schools.  It depletes wild frog populations and could spread disease among amphibians.   A program is available for a virtual frog dissection.

Some of the things that you can do to help amphibians (and other animals too!) is to recycle, turn off the water when you brush your teeth, use less electricity, keep pollution out of all waterways, don’t take amphibians from the wild, be responsible if using herbicides or pesticides, and simply help spread the word about the importance of amphibians!  The zoo holds Amphibian Awareness Day every year at the same time as Save the Frogs Day.  The 6th Annual Save The Frogs Day will be Saturday, April 26th, 2014.  Please visit http://www.savethefrogs.com/ for more info on frogs!

We have a really cool new frog species at the Cypress Swamp.  Now, this frog isn’t a swamp species, but a part of a special exhibit that highlights the worldwide decline of amphibians and features species from around the world.  Our new addition to the exhibit is the golden poison dart frog.  It is found in the Pacific coast of Colombia.  These wild frogs are lethally toxic, perhaps the most poisonous of any animal! Most dart frogs get their toxicity from the ants they eat in the wild.  However, the golden dart frog even has some toxicity in captivity. What do you think causes their toxicity?  Stop by and see these bold, brightly colored frogs on your next visit to the zoo!

The best thing that visitors can do to show appreciation of the animals is to really show them respect.  What a wonderful opportunity it is  to see animals up close that you rarely would get to see otherwise.  Zoo animals may not be active at times, but it is never a good idea to throw things, spit, or bang on the glass.  Learn as much as possible about animals, because if you understand them and are aware of their problems, you are more likely to help them.  Learn how you can get involved in conservation or at least be aware of the impact that your actions may have on wildlife.

Melissa Barr says, “One of my favorite quotes is:  We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.  ~Native American Proverb”

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

*Applause!*

Readers, please leave a question or a comment.  I encourage you to visit a zoo in your area this week or when you can.  And be sure to visit “A Writer’s Playground” again soon.  Bring a friend.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments »

Don’t Let April Showers Rain on Your Parade

Posted by lindamartinandersen on March 31, 2013


“Don’t Let April Showers Rain on Your Parade” by Linda Martin Andersen

“A Writer’s Playground”

A place to find wordplay, writing, and monthly calendar activities for kids and those young at heart.

Think:  What does the word “April” bring to mind? Expressions like:  “April showers bring May flowers,” or “Don’t rain on my parade?”  What does this mean? 

Other things we remember in April include:  April Fool’s jokes. Rain showers.  Puddles.  Umbrellas.  Galoshes.  Check the list below for far more things to celebrate in April.

Special Days in April:

Oh my, have you heard? 

  • April 3 is Pony Express Day and on that day the Pony Express replaces postal delivery. 
  • April 29 is Save the Frogs Day.  Sign up now to adopt a frog and save it from the frying pan.

APRIL FOOL!  These two events are true celebrations, but the way I stated that it would be celebrated is all a big fat fib.  Did I fool you?  Probably not.  Who have you fooled today?  Tell how.  As you may have guessed, April Fool’s Day is a favorite.  Create an original joke of your own.  What common ones have you heard? 

  • International Children’s Book Day:  2  Read a book about another country, a child from another country, a dog breed that contains a town or country such as:  Boston Pug, Chinese Pug, German Shepherd, etc. 
  • Metric System Day:  7  Work some math problems and answer using metric measurements.  Did you know that hospital patients are weighed in bed?  Can you convert measurements to metric?
  • National Sibling Day:  10  If you have a sibling, make a card for this person and  tell how he/she is special to you.
  • Safety Pin Day:  10  Where do you see them?  Who gives them away?  How have you used one?  What craft projects have you made using safety pins?
  • Scrabble Day:  13  Have you ever played?  Will you play today?
  • Blah! Blah! Blah! Day:  17  When was this first said?  Why?  What does it mean to you?  It always reminds me of the intercom on the Peanuts cartoon programs. 
  • Ellis Island Family History Day:  17.  Does your family have anyone who entered America through Ellis Island?  Ask to hear stories.
  •  National Haiku Poetry Day:  17  Research how to write a haiku.  Write one about spring, April, or something celebrated this month.
  • Poem in Your Pocket Day:  18  Do you have a favorite poem?  Copy it and carry it in your pocket.  Ask your friends to do the same.  Share poems when you see each other. 
  • Movie Theatre Day:  23  What’s a favorite movie memory? 
  • Richter Scale Day:  26.  Research this scale.  What does it measure.  Tell of a famous disaster measured by the Richter Scale.
  • Babe Ruth:  27.  Do you know this name?  Why is he famous?
  • Zipper Day:  29  When were zippers invented?  Who is Jughead and what does he wear zipped?  What do you own that zips?  Read My Last Best Friend by Julie Bowe and learn how zippers can become a story character. 

Special Weeks in April:

  • Golden Rule Week:  1-7  What is the Golden Rule?  What does it mean?  What books talk about this theme?
  • International Whistlers Week:  17-21  I hope you’ll take time to read an earlier blog post about Phyllis Heil at  https://lindamartinandersen.wordpress.com/2012/06/08/a-writers-playground-welcomes-phyllis-heil-the-whistling-woman-and-offers-a-cd-giveaway/  The giveaway is no longer available, but Phyllis plans to be at this year’s festival.
  • National Volunteer Week:  21-27.  Name a volunteer you know.  What type volunteer work would you like to do?  Walk dogs at the kennel, pick up roadside trash, help in the food bank, etc.  Ask your parents if you can try it.  Perhaps a parent would volunteer with you.
  • National Playground Safety Week:  21-27  Is the playground equipment inspected regularly in your area?  How do you know?  Do you know anyone who has been hurt on the playground?  Was it a safety issue?
  • National Dance Week:  26–5/4  Are you a dancer?  Survey your friends to learn who has taken dance class. 

April is…

  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month  What can be done to help prevent child abuse?
  • Jazz Appreciation Month  Do you have a favorite jazz musician?  Do you listen to jazz?  Research to learn more about the history of jazz.  Fine a picture book about jazz.
  • Keep America Beautiful  An old promotion poster read:  Give a hoot, don’t pollute.  What message would you like to promote about this topic?
  • National Kite Month  What is your favorite kite design?  Fly one this month if you can.
  • School Library Media Month  Give a cheer for school librarians!

*Thank you Brownie Locks.com for April celebration information.  For more April observances check out:  http://www.brownielocks.com/april.html

Thank you for visiting “A Writer’s Playground.” Please come again soon.  Bring a friend. 

Coming soon:  Pat Strobel, a School Librarian, shares about School Library Media Month.

Copyright © 2013 Linda Martin Andersen

Posted in Calendar Events, Careers, Character Traits, Games, Interviews, Math, Monthly Activities, Reading, Science, Social Studies, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments »

 
%d bloggers like this: