Amphibian Ark, a global conservation organization created to raise awareness and rally fundraising to protect endangered amphibian species, announced last week the commencement of its 5 for Frogs campaign. 5 for Frogs is a grassroots crusade with the goal of raising $500,000 to save five endangered species in five months.
The ”pay it forward” spirit behind 5 for Frogs asks kids and adults to do something to help frogs, salamanders, and other amphibians through acts of kindness involving the number 5. It could be as simple as someone telling or emailing five people about the looming mass extinction of amphibians. Or, it could be holding a charity car wash or selling cookies to raise $5, $50, or even $500 for Amphibian Ark to allocate to rescue projects. If thousands get involved, each can play a part in saving five or more species from extinction. Fifty ideas for getting involved in 5 for Frogs are listed on the Amphibian Ark Web site at www.amphibianark.org.
The May kickoff of 5 for Frogs started with a U.S. national FrogWatch on May 3 involving hundreds of students who will monitor the environmental health status of amphibians in their communities through a cooperative effort organized by the National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) and the National Wildlife Federation. FrogWatch is a volunteer-based program that encourages everyone to help by getting outdoors and monitoring local wetlands for breeding frogs and toads.
“Not since the disappearance of the dinosaurs have we seen an extinction of this magnitude,” said Jean-Michele Cousteau, supporter of Amphibian Ark and founder of the Oceans Future Society. “Because amphibians are the first to feel the effects of environmental stressors that could ultimately harm humans, and they play a critical role in our ecosystem, the time to act is now.”
In addition to the grassroots activities, 5 for Frogs will feature several global, special events throughout the summer. Five species of amphibians that have not yet been given common names will have their naming rights auctioned, with proceeds earmarked for Amphibian Ark. And, an endangered Mexican species, the Large-crested toad, received special visibility on Cinco de Mayo, celebrated, of course, on the fifth day of the fifth month.
“It costs only $100,000 to save one species of amphibians, which is a relatively low cost for avoiding extinction,” said Jeff Corwin, supporter of Amphibian Ark and host of The Discovery Network’s Animal Planet. “The Year 2008 has been dubbed The Year of the Frogs by conservationists from around the world to highlight the amphibian crisis and to save the most endangered species from extinction. As a result, the 5 for Frogs campaign could not come at a better time in an attempt to channel these efforts.”