Talk Summary: Froglife!

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Last week, we had Emily Waddell from Froglife come to give us a fantastic talk about the work that they do and the number of ways in which keen students can get involved with them!  It was really interesting and even included some fun interactive activities to keep us engaged!

But if you missed it, not to worry, here’s what it was all about:

Froglife are a charity organisation who are focused on conserving amphibians and reptiles throughout the UK.

Emily is from Froglife Scotland (who are based right here in the university in the Graham Kerr Building!) and she spoke about their Scottish Dragon Finder Project which they are currently working on. This is a 4-and-a-half year project, of which there are 2-and-a-half years left, focused on the education about and conservation of Scotland’s native amphibian and reptile species.

Scotland has 3 species of Newt, 1 species of Frog (Common Frog), 2 species of Toads (Common and Natterjack Toad) and 6 reptile species including the Adder, Grass Snake, Common Lizard and Slow worm.

Froglife’s work is extremely important, as one third of all amphibian species are being lost due to various threats such as habitat loss, pollution, climate change and the infamous pet trade. Amphibian and reptile species are very important for the maintenance of natural ecosystems and are also an integral part of medicinal research.

SCOTTISH DRAGON FINDER PROJECT:

Good news for you guys: Froglife are currently recruiting volunteers – especially Zoology students – to help out with this Dragon Finder project! Emily went on to explain all the great benefits you can gain from volunteering with them, the wide range of projects you can get involved in and the huge variety of experience you can gain from doing so.

The different projects within Dragon Finder include:

  • Education – Educating children and young people about nature is extremely important if we want to protect it! After all, as David Attenborough said, “No-one will protect what they don’t care about; and no-one will care about what they have never experienced.” So, Froglife’s mission is to get children enthusiastic and caring about wildlife and nature through going to schools to do interactive talks, activities, workshops and get them experiencing the great outdoors! During the talk, Emily gave us our own activity to demonstrate the kind of thing they do – it was great fun!
  • Public Engagement – This comes in the form of a project called ‘Dragon’s on the Move’. The aim is similar to the educational aspect, in that it is all about getting all ages and groups of people engaged and enthusiastic about the environmental and wildlife conservation. This is achieved by setting up Froglife stalls in nature reserves for the day, engaging the public in fun activities like arts and crafts, pond-dipping, learning and teaching species ID skills and working with other environmental and wildlife groups to get the message out there. An example of this is the annual Bioblitz event which takes place in Kelvingrove park every summer – it’s loads of fun!
  • Wildlife Gardens – Froglife also work on creating and restoring theraputic wildlife gardens and allotments for public use and also to teach people about the theory and practical skills of gardening. This helps to improve various habitats whilst engaging the public and creating calm, natural spaces. One of these workshops is happening this Saturday 21st Nov in the Botanic Gardens you fancy going along!
  • Habitat Sites – Similar to the wildlife gardens, this project involves the creation and restoration of pond habitats. There are currently 9 completed sites like these in Scotland which Froglife have worked on. Taking part in this project allows you to learn how ponds are created and maintained, and also gives you experience of having a ecologist role – supervising and oversee-ing developments, making sure no wildlife is harmed in the building of sites and learning about how to overcome problems and deal with all the legal stuff.
  • Dragons on the Hills – This is a project to encourage people who are already naturally outdoorsy to get involved in conservation. Hillwalkers and lovers of other outdoor activities are encouraged to take part in ID training activities so that they can contribute to wildife surveys and conservation when they are out in the country enjoying their weekly stroll.
  • Training Days – Froglife regularlyl hold training days to allow people to come along and learn how to identify amphibian and reptile species! This is great as it means more people can contribute to scientific species records. You can go along to these events just as an ordinary member of the public to learn basic theory and ID skills yourself, or if you know that stuff already, you can go and learn how to teach your skills to others! This is a really great opportunity if you are thinking of volunteering with Froglife or any other wildlife organisation!!

 

So, those are all the exciting things you could get involved in if you become a Froglife volunteer! But don’t worry – you won’t be committed to take part in absolutely everything if you sign up – you’ll just get sent emails about when and where events are taking place that volunteers can get involved in, and you can go along to whichever ones you like! Simple!

Emily brought volunteer forms along for everyone who attended the talk and most people showed interest and filled them in. Unfortunately, these forms are not currently available online, but if you email Emily at emily.waddell@froglife.org she will happily let you know how you can become a volunteer!