Amphibian Ark has recapped highlights of the year of the frog in a newsletter I just received. Am pasting it below for any of you not on the email list:

The end of the Year of the Frog…the beginning of the Decade of the Amphibian?

By Kevin Zippel, Kevin Johnson, Lesley Dickie, Elizabeth Townsend

Some of our favourite activities include:

  • Global Leap Frog. On New Year’s Eve 2007, thirty-three zoos in seventeen countries around the world participated in a synchronized Leap Frog event to ring in the Year of the Frog.
  • The rockin’ launch party in Indonesia. Taman Safari’s YOTF launch party attracted a couple thousand people and included a rock concert and fireworks.

  • Kermit on capital hill and in space. Not only did Kermit the Frog lobby for his kin on capital hill 11th March 2008 he flew on the 122nd flight of the Space Shuttle to raise awareness for amphibians.

  • JAZA embraced the Year of the Frog. JAZA’s Year of the Frog campaign, was promoted in 45 institutions throughout Japan, including zoos, aquariums and museums.
  • Snow sculptures at Perm Zoo. The Perm Zoo of Russia launched YOTF by taking advantage of an abundant local resource – snow! – that they sculpted into giant amphibians.

  • Amphibious nuptials on Leap Day. On 29 February 2008 (Leap Day!), Nick and Sue Pinder of Curraghs Wildlife Park in the UK got married and asked all of their guests to donate to AArk in lieu of giving them gifts.

  • Frog’s Leap Bridge. Edinburgh Zoo’s Polly Philpot dressed up like a frog and rappelled down the 4th bridge to raise awareness and money.

  • Vancouver’s clever poster. Our friends at the Vancouver Aquarium created a very clever poster to help the public visualize a world without amphibians.
  • Durrell’s Frog Prince pantomime. In January 2008, staff at Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Jersey put on a unique pantomime called “The Frog Prince – a pantomime with a hoppy ending”, in support of the EAZA amphibian campaign. The pantomime combined elements of the traditional fairy tale with conservation messaging to create a fun show for the whole family to enjoy.
  • Our princess patrons. We were thrilled to share the company of two real-life princesses: Princess Xenia of Saxony thrilled children by kissing a (fake) frog at an event at Leipzig Zoo, and the Crown Princess of Sweden helped launch the opening of a wetland exhibit at Nordens Ark.

  • SAZARC and signatures. Thanks to Sally Walker and her team, India contributed more signatures to our global signature campaign than the rest of the world combined.
  • Albuquerque’s Halloween party. With frogs as a central theme, Albuquerque Biological Park hosted 14,000 people at their 20th annual Zoo Boo event.

  • Johannesburg’s Christmas party. A group of 200 underprivileged children from three of Joburg’s hospices will be brought to the zoo for presents and a tour with the 2008 Miss World contestants.
  • Little boys and girls. It’s not just zoo people getting excited about amphibians. Joseph Miscimara of Chicago, IL, USA told guests invited to his 9th birthday party to make donations to AArk in lieu of bringing gifts.

    Twelve-year-old Samara Nicolson of Queensland started her own newsletter to raise awareness locally (and globally!) about her beloved amphibians.

    The second graders from Tremont Elementary School in Ohio held a read-a-thon and craft fair to raise funds for AArk, and for Halloween they all dressed as frogs for their school’s Halloween parade (see article from Tremont Elementary School students).

  • At their recent conference in Memphis, the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) organized a dinner and silent auction to benefit AArk and NABT with AArk patron Jean-Michel Cousteau as the featured speaker.
    Publicity:
  • We helped generate countless articles, including 2,000 local stories in just the past six months. The advertising equivalent value of our efforts was nearly $1 million!
  • On 20th November, Animal Planet debuted Jeff Cowin’s new documentary “The Vanishing Frog” which highlighted AArk and our partners’ projects from all around the world. The documentary was sponsored by our partner Clorox.
  • On 20th-21st November, the Zoological Society of London hosted a symposium “Halting the Global Decline in Amphibians” with keynote delivered by YOTF patron Sir David Attenborough. The event was funded by ZSL, WCS, and WT Partnership (see separate article in this newsletter).
    Building capacity – AArk partners report successes:
  • Eighty-five new rescue populations.
  • Fifteen new biosecure areas with 100 in planning.

  • $4.4 million spent on captive programs with $12.1 million in the next five years.
  • $868,000 spent on fieldwork with $2.1 million in the next five years.
  • Ten prioritization workshops.
  • Eleven training workshops.
  • Two new AArk advisory groups (Taxon Management and Cryobiology).
    Fundraising:
  • Our naming auctions raised $23,000 for fieldwork in Venezuela.
  • Our partners The Amphibian Project raised ~$25,000 in YOTF calendar sales for the Critically Endangered Large-crested Toad Ollotis cristata.

  • EAZA members collectively raised $600,000.
  • JAZA and ARAZPA followed with $20,000 each!.
    Although the YOTF awareness campaign does end with 2008 (more or less, some regions are continuing into the first quarter of 2009), our work is only just beginning. The next challenge is to translate the heightened awareness into action, specifically, fundraising and rescuing! Please don’t stop your excellent work now. If we can sustain our momentum, together we can turn 2008-2017 into the Decade of the Amphibian and save as many of those 500 imperilled amphibians as possible. Thanks!