Friday, 06 October 2017 10:32

Lesson in nature with a Northern Leopard Frog Workshop Sept. 26

Written by  Demi Knight
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Lesson in nature with a Northern Leopard Frog Workshop Sept. 26 Parks Canada

With hopes to reintroduce the Northern Leopard Frog within the biosphere reserve at Waterton Lakes National Park, a workshop was held on Sept. 26 to better educate the public on the species and why it’s an important feature to the area.

Science and Stewardship Coordinator for the Waterton Biosphere Reserve, Andrea Morehouse says this workshop was a great opportunity to get the public involved with this new initiative.
“Our intent in hosting the workshop was to share information with the community and raise awareness about leopard frogs and amphibian habitat.  It was an opportunity for people to learn from experts.”
The workshop that was held by the Waterton Biosphere Reserve Association offered multiple expert guest speakers to talk about the importance not only of these northern leopard frogs but also other amphibians native to the area’s habitat, as well as the opportunity to observe and view these habitats for themselves.
The workshop boasted an impressive roster of 4 experts including Lea Randall from the Calgary Zoo, Brad Downey from MULTISTAR, Sarah Downey with Alberta Parks and Kim Pearson from Waterton Lakes National Park itself, and each had something to share about the incredible species that is the Northern Leopard Frog.
“Lea shared information about northern leopard frogs including information on how to identify them, their habitats and distribution, and their current status in the province. While Brad talked about habitat stewardship initiatives and ways that landowners can make water sources on their land more hospitable to amphibians,” says Morehouse of the expertise that the guest speakers contributed to the day.
Waterton Lake’s own Kim Pearson was the other speaker of they day and gave attendees information on the reintroduction project and why Waterton created the project in the first place.
The species that is the Northern Leopard Frog was historically present in the area and a major contributor to the growth and management of other wetland species. By contributing to the ecosystem’s integrity, these amphibians are hoped to be seen within the Waterton area once again in the upcoming years.
The Waterton Biosphere Reserve association is working with members of the public to successfully reintroduce this breed of frog back into their ecosystem by asking people for input on their current and previous knowledge of the amphibian and hosting this workshop was a great step in making progress in this project.
“After the guest speakers, we then traveled to Beauvais Lake Provincial Park where Sarah showed us where leopard frogs were reintroduced to Beauvais and she talked about leopard frogs in the park. We looked at frog habitat and even saw a leopard frog,” says Morehouse of the day’s proceedings.
20 people were in attendance to learn more about this species and why the reintroduction of them is so vital to the Waterton biosphere and although the Waterton Biosphere Reserve is not involved in the actual reintroduction of the amphibian, they are trying to raise public awareness and spread information on the creatures to those willing to learn, says Morehouse on a final note about the workshop that was recently held.
“Northern leopard frogs are an important component of the ecosystem. The Waterton Biosphere Reserve is not directly involved in any reintroduction efforts. Rather, our project aims to create public awareness on the importance of northern leopard frogs in our ecosystem and to create opportunities for residents to help improve their status in our area.”

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