23 December 2010

Pond advice for icy weather

As Arctic conditions continue to sweep the country Froglife is reminding pond owners to be aware of hibernating frogs.

Some common frogs choose to spend the winter at the bottom of ponds. Buried down amongst the mud and silt, they survive by breathing through their skin. When ice forms on a pond the frogs become trapped with limited oxygen and various noxious gases building up.

In the past, Froglife has always recommended that a hole is maintained in the ice but recent reports suggest this may not make any difference to the frogs’ survival. Instead, the most important thing is to make sure snow is cleared from the ice to allow light to access the water. This way plants will still be able to produce enough oxygen. If you have a pump, leaving this running throughout the winter can also help.

If you do decide to try and make a hole in the ice – to release the build up gases (it won’t make much difference to the oxygen content in the water) – the easiest way to do this is to leave something floating in the water which can be removed once the ice as formed. Otherwise, stand a pan of hot water on top of the ice to melt a hole. Never pour on hot water, chemicals or salt or try to smash the ice as this can be damaging.

Despite your best efforts it may be that you still lose some frogs over this wintry period. You will see them floating under the ice or rising to the surface once the ice has melted. Although this is not nice to see, it is quite natural for frog populations to suffer losses at this time of year and it should not have too much overall impact.

“It’s normally older, male frogs that hibernate in water,” says Lucy Benyon, Froglife’s Information Officer, “The rest of the local frog population will be tucked up elsewhere – behind logs, in compost heaps or under sheds. It can be distressing to find dead frogs but it should not cause too many problems in the long term and, unfortunately, there’s virtually nothing you can do to prevent it.”

To help hibernating amphibians, and reptiles, in your garden in future ensure there are plenty of hidey holes such as log piles and rockeries. It’s also a good idea to give your pond a bit of a clear out in the autumn and stock up on oxygenating weed.

For further advice about amphibians, reptiles and ponds please see the Froglife website.

And remember... have a toad-ally awesome Christmas and a Hoppy Newt Year!

Please note: the Froglife office is closed over the Christmas period and will reopen on 5th January 2011.

22 December 2010

Terence, Tom, Tabasco, Teresa, Tamara, Tamsen.....? Don’t forget to add your suggestions for naming our toads!

If you need a break from all things Christmassy, don’t forget to enter our competition to name our cute toad characters. Wildlife presenter Mike Dilger will be picking his two favourites – a fun job as the suggestions so far have been adorable. The winners will receive a selection of wildlife themed goodies in a funky Froglife bag!

The deadline for entries is midnight on Christmas Eve – there’s a female toad and a male toad that need naming before they wake up from hibernation next year.

The toads will be helping us raise awareness for our Tuppence a Toad campaign, and highlighting the hard time that real common toads have crossing busy roads in spring to get back to their favourite ponds. We are busy collecting tuppences to help save more common toads and the ponds they depend on.

You can enter the competition on our website – www.froglife.org/tuppence/names.htm

20 December 2010

Good news for Toads in London

Work has started on Froglife’s exciting toad habitat project in London. Trent Park’s resident population of toads in Cockfosters will have cause to celebrate in the New Year after their habitat makeover.

When the toads wake up from their winter hibernation, they will find their long-standing migratory breeding pond sunnier and easier to access, as well as two new wildlife ponds.
The small amphibians have been using the 413 acre Trent Country Park to breed, forage and hibernate for many generations. A road cutting through the site means many of the amphibians don’t make it to the pond safely. In February 2010 a Toad Patrol crossing was set up with volunteers to help the toads every spring.

Toad patrol volunteers operate across the UK, but there are only four active toad crossings known in London, each of which is vital for the city’s toad population. Recent research suggests that toads have declined by 50% or more in central and eastern/south-eastern regions in Britain, making every step to help them of key importance.

The Trent Park project was made possible with help from £23,000 from SITA Trust and Enfield Council and is part of Froglife’s national Tuppence a Toad campaign. Froglife aims to raise funds and awareness about the plight of the UK’s common toads. You can help by collecting your small change for small toads, doing a sponsored swim or buying toad goodies from our online shop! You can find out more about the campaign here.

10 December 2010

Christmas orders deadline coming up!

Don’t miss out on your chance to make frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards happy this Christmas!

The last order date from our online shop is Wednesday 15th of December. There are all sorts of things to choose from, and your purchases will also give support to the species, habitats, and people we work with.

• Goodies in our funky ‘Make Frogspawn Not War’ bags ranging in value from £5 to £20
• Pack of 10 wintry frog and toad Christmas cards for £5
• Pack of 8 toad greetings cards designed by the winners of our competition for £4
• Virtual gift of £10 to support our Tuppence a Toad campaign to save more common toads from death or injury on roads. We send you a certificate and magnet to say thank you!
• Sign someone up as a Froglife Friend and support our work for a year for £18. They will receive our magazine twice a year, special offers on events and become a vital part of the Froglife team!
• You can also buy tickets for our Evening at Toad Hall event in Peterborough on Saturday 2nd April 2011, hosted by Mike Dilger and Willie Thorne, including an auction of all sorts of amazing items and fundraising silly games.

Postage and packing charges are added onto your purchases, and sent out by the lovely Mel.

Thank you for remembering wildlife this Christmas!

3 December 2010

A musical night with Froglife and The RiffToads – For One Night Only!

Froglife and Bristol-based band The RiffToads are getting together in support of the Tuppence a Toad campaign! This special night of pop, rock and blues is on 18th December from 7.30pm at The Three Brooks, Savages Wood Road, Bradley Stoke, Bristol.

If you’re a local Toad Patroller, Froglife supporter or just want a jumping night of great music, hop along!

This is the first of these national events, raising much needed money and awareness to support the heroic Toad Patrol volunteers, who this year alone have rescued over 70,000 toads! Common toads return year after year to their favourite ponds, and we want to make sure they get there safely.

“The RiffToads jumped at the chance to help raise money to help save common toads,” says Tina Lindsay, Community Fundraiser for Froglife. “They often support charities and this is a perfect union. The gig is at their local so will be well supported by their fans, and hopefully some Toad Patrollers from the area too! It’s going to be a fantastic night and who knows...Tina and The Toad Patrollers might end up on backing vocals!”

So, if you’re in the area, or know someone who is, please Croak the word! We have a lovely colourful poster which can be emailed out to anyone wanting to spread the news...simply email Tina on tina.lindsay@froglife.org for a copy or contact Ian from The RiffToads via their website for more information about the band or venue.

See you there!

29 November 2010

Christmas shop on the Froglife website and keep cosy!

We have a great range of goodies in our Frogalogue this year, including frog and toad Christmas cards and greeting cards, quirky bags and books. Not only can you shop online from the comfort of your sofa, you can help wildlife at the same time!

• We have a range of goodies in our Make Frogspawn Not War bags ranging from £5 to £30
• Pack of 10 wintry frog and toad Christmas cards for £5
• Pack of 8 colourful toad greetings cards designed by the winners of our competition for £4
• Toads on Roads virtual gift of £10 to support our Tuppence a Toad campaign to save more common toads from death or injury on roads. We send you a certificate and magnet to say thank you!
• Magnets, air fresheners, phone charms and decorated pebbles £1-£2.50
• Sign someone up as a Froglife Friend and support our work for a year for £18. They will receive our magazine twice a year, special offers on events and become a vital part of the Froglife team!
• You can also buy tickets for our Evening at Toad Hall event in Peterborough on Saturday 2nd April 2011, hosted by Mike Dilger and Willie Thorne, including an auction of all sorts of amazing items and fundraising silly games.

Your shopping helps our conservation and education work to help save frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards. You can access the shop here: www.froglife.org/shop

Postage and packing charges are added onto your purchases, and sent out by the lovely Mel. The last date for orders before Christmas is 15th December.

Happy shopping!

25 November 2010

Name our campaign toads – can you impress judge Mike Dilger?

Froglife is looking for some fun and fabulous names for the faces of our Tuppence a Toad campaign. The toad two characters will be helping us spread toad-friendly messages, and sharing their life stories throughout our campaign to save more common toads. BBC One Show wildlife presenter Mike Dilger will judge the suggested names and pick his two favourites. The winners will be sent a selection of toad and wildlife goodies!

As both toads are hibernating at the moment, we thought it would be nice to have their names waiting for them when they wake up in the new year! Here’s a bit of information on these two characters to give you some inspiration:

The male toad: Spring 2011 will be the first time this young male toad makes his way to a pond. He was a tadpole himself in the same pond 3 years ago, and is still quite small. He is dark green with brown spots and golden eyes, and can hide really well under mud and grass. His favourite food is slugs and he has a special hiding place beneath a shed in a local garden where he sits out the winter.

The female toad: She has made it to the pond 2 years in a row to lay her eggs. She is big and round, with speckled markings on her belly. She likes to hibernate under an old oak log in the woods, and her favourite snack is spiders. She once had a scary run in with a cat, but she escaped unharmed.

Enter your suggestions for names on our website here

Send your suggestions and reasons for these names via email to: info@froglife.org

Or post to: Froglife, Unit 2A Flag Business Exchange, Vicarage Farm Road, Peterborough, PE1 5TX.

Deadline for entries: Midnight Friday 24th of December, with the winners to be announced in the New Year.

24 November 2010

Froglife share their love for toads at Lush in Peterborough!

We’ll be giving Christmas shoppers 70,000 reasons to support reptiles and amphibians on Thursday 25th November. Our Toads on Roads volunteers have saved over 70,000 toads this year alone!

We’ll be in the Lush store from 4pm to 7pm in the Queensgate Centre, Peterborough. Sam and Tina will be running colouring in, quizzes, games and wildlife learning activities, and sharing their love for toads, frogs, newts, snakes and lizards. They will also be publicising the Tuppence a Toad campaign and collecting some tuppences.

Whilst most of our species are hibernating in the colder weather, we’ll be reminding people of the steps they can take for a brighter future for reptiles and amphibians. As our Tuppence a Toad campaign to save more common toads from death or injury on the roads continues, there are all sorts of things you can do to get involved, from doing a sponsored run, collecting tuppences or doing your Christmas shopping on our website!

For more information visit www.froglife.org/tuppence or browse our shop www.froglife.org/shop

17 November 2010

Snooker superstar Willie Thorne launches new Froglife project!

Snooker legend Willie Thorne is helping us kick off our project for adults and teenagers in Peterborough. The Wildlife Ambassadors scheme is aimed at people of all ages looking for work, education or training, building passion for wild creatures and places.

Based on green sites around the City, the Ambassadors will take part in fun and educational wildlife conservation, craft and education activities. The project starts with a series of taster sessions, and Willie Thorne will be joining the team for a Christmas launch party on Tuesday December 14th.

“The party will celebrate the start of this project to make community sites throughout Peterborough more wildlife friendly,” explains Laura Brady, Wildlife Ambassadors Project Officer. “The aim is to improve both the environment and the job seeking skills of our Ambassadors – everyone wins!”

You can book into the free taster sessions at three sites in Peterborough:
• Stillwells Nature Reserve near Hampton for a willow craft day Tuesday 23rd November
• Van Hage at the Garden Park for pond planting and creating a bog garden Tuesday 30th November
• Dogsthorpe Road Allotments for wildlife gardening and construction Tuesday 7th December.

Book a taster session or a place for the party by calling 01733 425828 or emailing laura.brady@froglife.org. More information is available on Froglife’s website: www.froglife.org/ambassadors

The project is funded by Natural England’s Access to Nature programme (part of the Big Lottery Fund’s Changing Spaces programme).

15 November 2010

Do you know of a school that wants a pond?

Do you know of a school which is in need of a wildlife pond, to help teach science and to provide good habitat for local wildlife, including amphibians?

Through a new project Froglife can build a wildlife pond for your school whilst also providing expert support, educational resources, health and safety advice and teacher training. This could save your school more than £5,000. The charity is asking for interested schools to step forward…

A £195,500 grant has been earmarked by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Froglife towards our Leapfrog project, which will create ponds in eight selected schools in the East of England. Other habitat features (like snake-friendly compost heaps or buttefly banks) may also be created through the project. As part of the development phase of this project, we want to hear from primary and secondary schools interested in having a wildlife pond on their school grounds. We are requesting that teachers or PTA members fill in a simple online ‘expression of interest’ form.

“This is an amazing opportunity for those schools that have long-held plans for a wildlife pond in school grounds yet lack money, and external professional advice, to get things going,” said the project’s coordinator Froglife’s Alex Draper. “This project could also help those schools that may have a dilapidated pond that urgently needs attention or restoration.”

After digging or renovating ponds in selected schools Froglife will then work with local community groups to encourage the digging of other ponds locally, to create clusters of ‘satellite ponds’ that will be of benefit to amphibians, and many other wildlife species.

Schools shortlisted for the project will be in the following areas: Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Luton, Norfolk, Peterborough and Suffolk. If successful the project will start in spring 2011, lasting three years.

NOTICE TO SCHOOLS: To register interest in your school having a new wildlife pond please fill in the following online form BEFORE Tuesday 23rd of November: ‘http://www.froglife.org/leapfrog/expressionofinterest.html

“We’re particularly keen to hear from schools that have good contacts with local community groups and other schools. We’re also encouraging schools that have already discussed internally the merits in having a wildlife pond within the school grounds.”

Froglife will notify shortlisted schools, arranging a short one-to-one over the phone in the next two weeks.

“Please help us by forwarding this message to local schools!” adds Alex.

10 November 2010

Share your gifts with frogs, toads, newts, snakes and lizards this Christmas!

We are really excited about our expanded range of wildlife-themed goodies this Christmas. As well as packs of Christmas cards, we also have toad greetings cards designed by our competition winners, lovely new cotton bags, books, phone charms, decorated pebbles, air fresheners, magnets....

Our busy shop team Tina, Mel and Lucy have also put together some really special ‘bundle bags’ with different selections of items from the Frogalogue. These include the ‘goody bag’ (a cotton bag containing a magnet, car air freshener and ‘pebble pal’) for only £5, and a ‘book bag’ containing four of our bestsellers for £25 (+p&p).

You can also purchase the gift of Froglife Friendship for a year or a virtual gift of support for our hard working Toad Patrollers.

Orders can be made from our website www.froglife.org/shop or over the phone on 01733 558844.
Not only can you send out wildlife friendly messages with your Christmas cards, you can find a unique gift for that special someone, and directly support our work to save reptiles and amphibians in the wild.

Prices in the Frogalogue start from just £1.50 and the final order date for Mel to get your items out before Christmas is 15th December.

Happy shopping!

4 November 2010

Remember, remember: check your bonfire for amphibians and reptiles!

A big pile of logs, twigs and leaves – a great bonfire, and also a really appealing hiding place for amphibians, reptiles and other creatures looking for somewhere to spend the winter. Frogs and toads will often choose log piles and garden debris to shelter in and a pre-prepared bonfire is the perfect hiding place.

Here are a few tips to make help make your celebrations more wildlife friendly:

• Collect your wood and other bonfire materials in a separate place to where you’ll be having the bonfire, and move them just before you want to light the fire, ideally as late in the day as possible.
• If you’re going to an organised event you could get in touch beforehand and ask if they need any help searching for uninvited guests!
• To be extra safe, ensure the fire is only lit from one side so anything left within has the chance to escape.
• If you do come across any animals, just transfer them to a similar habitat in another part of the garden. They will be a little disorientated but the disturbance won’t do them any harm.
• You could create a permanent log and leaf pile specifically for frogs, toads, newts, lizards, hedgehogs and other creatures to hide in over winter in a quiet corner of the garden.
• Build a compost heap for your other garden waste – as well as helping reduce your rubbish, they are a great place for slow-worms!
• Try to burn only clean, untreated wood on your bonfire, with no nasty varnish, paint or plastics so you don’t release toxic chemicals in the smoke.
• Why not fundraise for our Tuppence a Toad campaign instead of collecting a penny for the guy? More information about the campaign and how you can help us save more toads from death or injury on roads with your small change can be found

So, ‘Remember, remember the 5th of November’… especially what might be buried in your bonfire!

2 November 2010

Froglife on The One Show!

The BBC’s One Show came and visited one of our wildlife friendly allotments in Peterborough on Monday, to find out about our Children in Need funded project Green Pathways. Some young people from the project met One Show wildlife expert Mike Dilger and the camera crew to talk about their experiences.

Green Pathways has been running for two years and enables all sorts of young people from the city to find new ways to shine in wildlife-themed sessions. Vulnerable young people such as young carers, victims of bullying, those at risk of offending, or from disadvantaged backgrounds mingle with peer mentors with a shared interest in being outdoors and learning about nature. The sessions have a positive, inclusive and hands-on approach.

The project has been really successful and oversubscribed, seeing improvements in self-esteem, confidence, knowledge and skills, as well as providing precious opportunities to escape from the pressures of everyday life in the fresh air. Nicole, who was interviewed for the show, has been involved from the beginning and now volunteers to help other young people get their hands dirty! Nicole was given a special thank you for all her hard work by Mike.

Children in Need funding has provided a salary for a project officer, supported by resources from other funders. We are planning to expand Green Pathways and roll it out to new areas so that more young people can benefit from the therapeutic atmosphere and improve biodiversity in their local area.

The short film will be featured on The One Show on BBC 1, 7pm Tuesday 2nd November.

Find out more about the project at www.froglife.org/greenpathways

27 October 2010

Leap forward for East of England’s frogs

Frogs and other pond life are getting a welcome boost in the East of England with the announcement that a £195,500 grant has been earmarked by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for Froglife.

We have been given the green light to finalise an education project that would involve hundreds of pupils from eight schools and develop learning materials that could be used in future by many more. An initial £8,300 grant has been awarded by HLF for Froglife to work up precise details of the project and to come back within two years with the fully developed scheme.

The project – called Leapfrog – aims to create a high quality wildlife pond at eight schools and to train teachers, parents’ association members and grounds staff in the proper care and management of the sites.

The ponds would not only be used as learning resources but would help to encourage local communities to build their own ponds creating a network of habitats for amphibians and other wildlife throughout the area.

Commenting on the Leapfrog project Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said: “2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and projects like this one are fundamental to raising awareness of the importance of our local natural heritage and encouraging communities to celebrate and care for it. We look forward to seeing how Froglife develop their project over the coming months.”

You can find out more about the Leapfrog project here.

25 October 2010

Join Froglife for a free Lunch Time Lecture

The lovely St John’s Church in the centre of Peterborough is hosting a series of Lunch Time Lectures, starting with a talk by Froglife’s Sam Taylor. Sam will be showing images illuminating the history of Hampton Nature Reserve - Peterborough’s newt haven - and giving a lively presentation about Froglife’s education, conservation and communications work.

The Lunch Time Lectures have been coordinated by Peterborough’s Heritage Regeneration Officer Alice Kershaw, based around the theme of Peterborough’s landscapes, historically, geographically and culturally. The Lunch Time Lectures are free, and will be running on Wednesdays throughout October, November and December. The full programme is available

22 October 2010

Support Jules’s Dash to Save Toads!

Toad fan Jules Howard is undertaking a mission throughout October to raise awareness (and funds) for toad crossing sites by running 100km on roads in Northamptonshire where toads are known to cross.

Having spent a number of years seeing toads die at each of Northamptonshire’s ten toad crossings, and seeing the carnage caused to toads by traffic, Jules was urged to take action:

“This doesn’t look like a problem that is going away any time soon. In Northamptonshire, none of our ‘Toad Crossing’ sites have any toad signs in spring to warn passing motorists, so motorists have no idea of the threat that cars pose to the toads. The signing process is coordinated by the local authority – getting this issue onto their radar too is really important. Hopefully this toad dash will help!”

The 100km is being run in ten stages, each round one of Northamptonshire’s crossings. T-shirts emblazoned with ‘Toad Crossing’ signs will help spread the message to motorists.

“It’s likely that toads are in decline in Northamptonshire,” adds Jules. “I know of two sites where they are now likely to be extinct. I think it’s important that toads remain a common part of British wildlife and folklore – for me, it’s a crime to sit back and let them disappear, budget cuts or not.”

You can sponsor Jules’s Toad Dash to raise funds to support Froglife’s Tuppence a Toad campaign HERE.

Thank you!

21 October 2010

Dedicated Toad Patroller Wins IFAW Conservation Award!

The work of one of our hard working Toad Patrollers has been recognised with a Conservation Award from the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW). Helen Hobbs, who coordinates the Charlcombe Lane Toad Patrol in Bath, was nominated by friend and fellow Toad Patroller Anna Ferguson.

“Helen works so hard making sure that the Toad Patrollers are out rescuing toads at the right time,” said Anna, explaining why she nominated Helen. “We are out at night in all sorts of weather, and it’s great to be able to do something to help animals. Helen gives a lot of time and really deserves recognition for what she has done.”

The Patrol has the support of the local council, who close the road each night during the toad migration season. This has given an extra boost to the toad population and this year Helen and her volunteers managed to help an incredible 3380 toads (plus 498 frogs and 607 newts!) towards their breeding pond. When the toad crossing was registered, in the early 1990s, only a few hundred toads were recorded each spring.

“We were really taken with the nomination of Helen Hobbs via our Animal Action Awards partner the Sunday People newspaper,” said Josey Sharrad Campaigns Manager for IFAW UK. “We are delighted that she has accepted the award for dedicating her time to co-ordinate teams of volunteers to rescue toads and frogs.”

Helen received her award at the House of Lords on Tuesday 19th October.

We’re really proud of Helen, Anna and all of our Toad Patrollers, who this year alone have saved over 70,000 toads. It’s great to see Helen’s work for our often forgotten species scooping such a high profile award.

You can find out more about Toads on Roads and your nearest patrol at here.

12 October 2010

Collect your tuppences for toads!

Froglife is encouraging people to collect their small change to support their Tuppence a Toad campaign to help wildlife in the UK.

The Tuppence a Toad campaign will offer extra support to Toads on Roads, and highlights the difference that can be made when we all contribute a little bit.

“So many of us keep our small change in a jar or piggy bank,” said Tina Lindsay, Community Fundraiser for Froglife. “As a small charity working with volunteers, we can make money go a long way to help wildlife. We are asking people to send us those coppers from the back of the sofa so we can put them to good use!”

Tuppence a Toad is a yearlong campaign that launched in October 2010. The tuppences raised funding will go towards:

1. Setting up a funding pot for volunteers
2. Research to improve current methodology
3. On the ground conservation work
4. Publicity and educational materials
5. Lobbying and awareness raising

You can donate your tuppences online at www.froglife.org, over the phone via credit card on 01733 558844 or by popping a cheque in the post to 2a Flag Business Exchange, Vicarage Farm Road, Peterborough, PE1 5TX.

You can also add your fundraising activities to Froglife’s map at www.froglife.org/tuppence/map.htm, whether it’s setting up a 'toady bank', being sponsored for something via Virgin Money Giving (www.virginmoneygiving.com), or hosting a dinner party with Dinner4Good (www.Dinner4Good.com).

6 October 2010

Campaign for toads off to a great start!

Our Tuppence a Toad campaign got off to a flying start with our pyjama party on Friday. A big thank you to all who came and to all the staff, trustees and toad patrollers who made the night a great success.

Toad Ambassador Nathalie Cox hosted the evening, with interesting talks from CEO Kathy Wormald, Trustees Rob Oldham and John Walker. The evening was rounded off with a toast to Mr Toad, who then drove off into the night with a ‘poop-poop’ in his toad mobile! (Some of the Froglife team are pictured in the toad car below).

Warty, inscrutable, vulnerable, resilient, beautiful, brave, lovable, bizarre and lonely were just a few of the words we collected from guests to canvas opinion about these small amphibians. The launch was just the beginning to a yearlong push to save more toads, over the course of which we aim to improve opinions and chances for toads.

More about the Tuppence a Toad campaign can be found here.

29 September 2010

Cosy up to wish toads goodnight for winter!

Froglife is busy preparing for our cosy event on Friday October 1st to say goodnight to UK’s toads for winter. Tucking in the Toads is a bed-timed themed event at the Orton Hall Hotel in Peterborough. Pyjamas are optional as we launch a year-long campaign to help save toads.

Tucking in the Toads is a seasonal launch for our campaign to help these little garden heroes,” said Sam Taylor, Communications Coordinator from Froglife. “We’ll be wishing the toads a safe hibernation and aiming to protect more of them when they wake up in spring. This year alone, volunteers have rescued over 65,000 toads from roads."

You can still join us for the launch for £5 a ticket, free to Froglife Friends and Toad Patrollers. All the money raised will go to the Tuppence a Toad campaign to promote toads and support them through on the ground conservation work and research. The night will feature information about how toads are getting on across the UK, ideas to help them, and launch the year’s campaign in style. Toad merchandise will also be on sale, including our gorgeous new greetings cards, designed by our competition winners!

“This will be a heart-warming night to celebrate the work of the Toad Patrollers, and wish the toads a happy hibernation,” said Nathalie Cox, Froglife’s Toad Ambassador. “Froglife are so good at mixing serious conservation with fun, this promises to be a great start to an important campaign.”

Tucking in the Toads takes place on Friday October 1st from 7pm at the beautiful Orton Hall Hotel just outside Peterborough. You can find out more or book tickets from http://www.froglife.org/tuppence/tucking.htm or 01733 558844.

More about the campaign can be found at www.froglife.org/tuppence

22 September 2010

Froglife urges allotment-holders to have a reptile rummage

Froglife is asking allotment-holders in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire to be on the look-out for snakes and lizards, as part of efforts to make sure that these animals are protected in the area.

Over the coming weeks we will be encouraging allotment-holders to tell us more about reptiles locally, asking them to fill in a short questionnaire. We will also be running a series of celebration events on allotments, which are safe havens for reptiles, particularly grass snakes, common lizards and slow-worms.

“Our survey of London’s allotments in 2003 found that 42% of allotments were home to reptiles (compared to only 8% in gardens),” said Jules Howard. “We’re hopeful that we can uncover similar results in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, and we’re encouraging allotment-holders to come forward and help us out by telling us about reptiles that they may have seen.”

Sightings of reptiles on allotments can be reported here or by calling the office on 01733 558844. You can also submit sightings of common frogs, common toads and great crested newts. Please let us know if you have NOT seen these animals on your allotment, to help us narrow our search.

The project will work closely with Peterborough and Cambridgeshire Biodiversity Partnership, with CPARG (Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Amphibian and Reptile Group), and with the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Biological Recording Centre. The project will contribute to the local Habitat Action Plan for Allotments.

Reptile Rummage is funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Biodiversity Partnership Fund.

More information on identifying reptiles is available here.

16 September 2010

Great newt news in London

Froglife has exciting results from one of its London projects. Great Crested Newts Revisited has had a busy first season, discovering amphibians in every Borough surveyed so far. The project has been enabled with £101,370.00 funding from SITA Trust to revisit places known to have newts, pulling together fresh information. Froglife will be sharing the vital results with GiGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London) and record centres to facilitate planning and the protection of wildlife habitats.

Project Officer Sivi Sivanesan has spotted newts in every Borough surveyed with the help of volunteers, although they are not necessarily in every pond in each Borough. Populations have been found in Bexley, Havering, Richmond Upon Thames, Merton, Enfield, Haringey, Hillingdon, Greenwich and Bromley. More Boroughs will be surveyed so that records can hopefully be developed for the whole City.

“It looks like there are still newts on most of the historical sites, which is really good news,” explains Sivi. “Most people would never spot them, and the volunteers have been surprised to discover a whole new, wild world hiding in the heart of sub-urban London.”

Ongoing monitoring will be the key to finding out how stable the populations of newts in the City are in the long term, particularly as the project has also found a number of neglected ponds.

“All Londoners can play a part in looking after these hubs for wildlife. Take your picnic litter home, volunteer to help look after a local pond, or come out newt hunting! ” added Sivi.

Help is always needed surveying and monitoring ponds in London. Find out more and get in touch with Sivi here.

10 September 2010

Countdown to our pyjama party!

Not long to go until Froglife’s Tucking in the Toads event on 1st October!

Tickets are still available for this bedtime-themed event at Orton Hall Hotel in Peterborough. Celebrating all things toad-y and launching our new campaign, the night will start at 7pm. There will be talks and films, with hot chocolate and muffins to keep us cosy. The aim is to share updates on toad populations and the results of this year’s Toads on Roads, as well as highlighting our plans to save more toads. We’ll also be wishing these small amphibians goodnight as they start to hibernate for winter - pyjamas are optional for all guests and staff!

Model and actress Nathalie Cox will be hosting the night and adding a touch of glamour. Nathalie has appeared in The Vicar of Dibley, The IT Crowd and films including Clash of the Titans and La Vie En Rose, and has a passion for wildlife. She was charmed by a very photogenic toad during a photo shoot for the Tuppence a Toad campaign, which Nathalie will be helping us to promote. Tucking in the Toads will be the start of this yearlong campaign to raise funds and awareness to save more toads from death on our roads.

Come and join Froglife for what promises to be a great start to this important campaign!

More information and tickets are available here.

3 September 2010

Can you suggest a site for a new toad pond?

Froglife is hoping to launch a new scheme that will provide breeding ponds for common toads (pictured right) at sites where populations are being impacted by road traffic. We are asking for help to find areas for these ponds.

Bufo Buffer Ponds, a new project being developed by Froglife, will add new ponds to a selection of sites where toads are known to cross roads. If funded, these ‘buffer ponds’ will provide new breeding locations for toad populations. Over time it is hoped that these actions will help safeguard some important local toad populations. This will be one of the on-the-ground elements of the charity’s Tuppence a Toad campaign, launching this October to save more toads.

“The common toad Bufo bufo is thought to be experiencing declines in the UK, and in some cases this is caused, or made worse, by the effect of road traffic.” said Froglife’s Lucy Benyon. “This year alone, we know that 60,986 toads have been reported as rescued from UK roads by volunteers. Sadly 5,290 toads have been recorded dead. Tuppence a Toad is a year-long campaign to help save more toads.”

In 2007, the common toad was added to the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) ‘watchlist’.

Froglife is looking for suitable sites for new toad ponds in the East of England (where the project will be trialled). They would like to hear from groups and landowners within 1km of a UK toad crossing (see our online map) who are keen to have a new wildlife pond created.

Sites where toad declines are known or perceived to be sharp will be prioritised.

The project will seek funding from a number of funders, including the SITA Trust. Sites may be required to provide 10% of habitat work costs at the site, and fundraising support for this can be provided by Froglife.

To submit details of a site you know which could benefit from a Bufo Buffer Pond, visit: www.froglife.org/bufobuffer

For more details about Froglife’s Toads on Roads scheme: www.froglife.org/toadsonroads

27 August 2010

Don’t forget to send in your toad designs!

The deadline is fast approaching to enter our competition to design a greetings card inspired by toads. Froglife is calling on creative people to send in designs, to be sold as sell notelets and help us to save more toads. The brief to create a beautiful design is available here and the deadline for entries is midnight, Wednesday 1st September.

We’re really looking forward to receiving more weird and wonderful creations, and we’ll be picking our top eight to be printed and sold in special packs in our Frogalogue. All the profits will go to our Tuppence a Toad campaign to help prevent toads being killed or injured on roads in springtime. More information about the campaign can be found here.

Please send your entries to sam.taylor@froglife.org

19 August 2010

Come and say hello to Froglife at Bird Fair!

We are off to Rutland Water for the annual British Birdwatching fair from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd of August. Froglifers will be on hand, promoting our new Tuppence a Toad campaign and sharing wildlife tips.

We will also be showing off some of our new merchandise, which includes a gorgeous green version of our popular ‘Make frogspawn not war’ cotton bag (pictured right)! We also have car air fresheners and fridge magnets to help raise funds for the Tuppence a Toad campaign. These will be available from our website soon. We are raising funds to help save more toads from death on the roads – more information about the campaign is available here.

You can also sign up at Bird Fair as a Froglife Friend for a discount rate and buy tickets to the launch of the campaign on October 1st.

Bird Fair is a brilliant chance for us to talk to passionate nature enthusiasts, and remind us all of the habitats and food chains that interconnect wild species. A lot of Froglife’s direct conservation work benefits birds, invertebrates and mammals, and vice versa.

We have had some great wildlife spots this season on Hampton Nature Reserve, which is managed primarily for great crested newts and bearded stonewort. Our Reserve Warden Paul was really excited to spot silver wash fritillary butterflies for the first time on the site, and the volunteer surveyors have confirmed a healthy population of purple hairstreak (pictured right by Nick Peers). A volunteer group also watched in amazement as a hobby caught a dragonfly on the wing!
We will be organising visits to Hampton, or to one of the sites we’re working on in London or Glasgow, for Froglife Friends to come and see some great habitats and wildlife.
We are really looking forward to sharing our reptile and amphibian friendly messages at Bird Fair. So, if you are attending do come and say hello!

9 August 2010

Can you draw a toad to help save these animals?

Froglife is launching a competition for artists, designers and illustrators to create artwork for notelets with the aim of raising money to rescue toads.

The competition will help raise funds for our Tuppence a Toad campaign to help save toads from death or injury on roads. More information about the campaign and the special launch event in October is available here.

Froglife is asking people with a creative streak to donate artwork featuring toads so that we can create a pack of colourful notelets to sell in our Frogalogue, with all profits going into the Tuppence a Toad pot. A full brief, including how to submit your artwork, is available to download here.

The deadline for artwork is the Wednesday 1st September, and the top 8 designs will be chosen by Froglife staff to go into print. We will happily add contact or promotional details about the artists on the back of the card and on our website, and send copies of the finished cards for portfolios.

Shy, secretive and well camouflaged, toads are not the showiest of animals, but they are charismatic and beautiful in their own quiet way. Toad-inspired images could be life-like or funky, conceptual or minimalist, so long as they celebrate the unique and quirky character of these special little animals.

Good luck!

6 August 2010

Pyjama Party Launch for Campaign to Save Toads

Froglife is launching a year long mission to raise money and awareness about the thousands of toads that die on roads every year. Focussing on the big difference that can be made through collecting small change, the Tuppence a Toad campaign launches with Tucking in the Toads on Friday 1st October - a bedtime-themed event to wave the toads goodbye as they hibernate over winter.

Toads (Bufo bufo) are small, secretive amphibians with golden eyes and are facing large declines. Thousands are killed on roads as they return to their favourite breeding ponds every spring. Toads on Roads volunteers saved over 50,000 toads in 2010, but thousands of toads are dying where there are no volunteers to take them to safety.

“Toad Patrollers are dedicated volunteers going out at night to carry toads across roads in buckets,” explains Sam Taylor from Froglife. “Having supported Toads on Roads for over 25 years, we wanted to make a big push to stop the problem,” says Sam. “Through Tuppence a Toad we’re highlighting the difference people can make when we all work together. If everyone gave just tuppence, we could do so much to help these animals!”
Tuppence a Toad launches in October 2010 and promises to be Froglife’s biggest campaign to date aiming to give Toads on Roads a boost with extra funding, research and awareness raising activities. The Tuppence a Toad campaign asks people to give their small change to help achieve this vital work to protect toads.

“This is going to be a fun campaign to raise awareness of a serious issue, and we would love people to get involved. The Tucking in the Toads launch event in October comes as toads head off to sleep for the winter,” explains Sam. “Anyone interested can come along and celebrate the lifecycle of these endearing creatures, and find out more about what we can all do to help them.”
Tucking in the Toads will be held on Friday 1st October 2010 at the Orton Hall Hotel, Peterborough. This event will include short films, guest speakers and bedtime-themed refreshments including hot chocolate and cookies! Toad Patrollers, toad lovers and general Froglife fans will be there to celebrate the work of volunteers, and reveal more about this campaign to give toads a helping hand into the future.

The event will be free for Froglife Friends and Toad Patrollers, and £5 for other guests. Further information and tickets are available from the office on 01733 558844.

4 August 2010

Newts made of willow and shadows at Froglife event in London

Froglife will be hosting an unusual and exciting event for families in partnership with BTCV in London. Come along to Railway Fields in Haringey, North London from 12 to 3 pm on Friday 6th August to help decorate a giant willow newt and to watch shadow puppets of pond life!

This interactive event celebrates the launch of a newly restored pond at this Local Nature Reserve, which has been given a boost with money from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“We have been working really hard on the pond, as well as running workshops and training sessions to help increase local knowledge,” says Rebecca Turpin, Living Waters Officer for North London. “We’re finishing with a flourish, and an invitation for families to come along to enjoy the site. It’s an opportunity to celebrate this fantastic area for urban wildlife, and to have fun learning more about the creatures that live here,” Rebecca adds.

The wildlife shadow puppets (pictured right) have been created by young people in workshops with artists Jenny Pedley, and willow-weaver Angela Baker will be bringing along a newt sculpture to decorate, as well as making smaller creatures during the event.

Railway Fields is in Haringey, North Londn, opposite Harringay Green Lane Station and the event has free entry. You can find more information about the site here.

More information about Froglife’s work on ponds in London is available here.

29 July 2010

Froglife Fun at the Glasgow Show

Join Froglife for frog-themed fun at the Glasgow Show on Saturday 31st July and Sunday 1st of August. The show, which includes all sorts of musical entertainment and hands-on activities, takes place on Glasgow Green and the gates are open from 11:30 to 17:30. Tickets are available to buy online or on the gate.

Froglife will be in the countryside marquee promoting the joys of improving gardens for biodiversity, and the variety of creatures that can move into a wildlife friendly patch. As Glasgow Project Officer Eilidh Spence says, “This is a great opportunity to talk to different people about how helpful amphibians and reptiles can be in a garden, and how people can conserve these secretive creatures in their local areas.”

Eilidh will be joined by Sivi and Rebecca from the Froglife team to create a mini hibernaculum - a hiding place for frogs, toads, newts and lizards - plus giving advice on ponds. They will also be joined by Froglife’s 6 metre long cuddly grass snake (pictured right), who is ten times bigger than the real thing and a bit more cuddly!

You can find out more about the Glasgow Show here, and more about Froglife’s work in Scotland here.

23 July 2010


Froglife is calling for teachers to give their views and solutions to the obstacles that hold schools back from undertaking activities with their pupils outside of the classroom.

A new online questionnaire, launched today, is seeking teachers’ views on a number of ‘outdoor learning’ elements, particularly relating to amphibians and reptiles. The findings from this questionnaire will help shape new Froglife projects that can deliver for wildlife conservation, and that help teachers deliver sessions to their pupils that are memorable and thought-provoking.

“Frogs and newts are particularly memorable to children, and simple activities like pond-dipping have the potential to sow the seeds of inspiration that can lead to a life in wildlife conservation, whilst helping teachers deliver important curriculum concepts.” said Froglife's Jules Howard. “Our concern is that these opportunities and activities for outdoor learning are being sidelined in some schools – we’re asking teachers to provide us with their findings on the ground so we can produce projects that help tackle these concerns.”

The teacher’s questionnaire can be found here, and is open to teachers –primary or secondary- across the country.

Froglife joins a number of wildlife organisations in supporting the government’s ‘Learning Outside the Classroom’ initiative, which was launched in 2006. Although great steps have been made, and some influential organisations have done a good job of spear-heading the campaign, it’s unclear how deep the new government’s support for this campaign goes and whether the battle, after four years, is being won.

21 July 2010

Froglife outlines future direction…

Froglife is announcing its strategy for the next five years, to help the charity continue to develop, in what are likely to be challenging times for the wildlife conservation sector.

Like many charitable organisations, Froglife remains concerned about how deeply the Government will choose to slash spending on wildlife conservation, and how realistic a ‘Big Society’ concept really is, on a national scale, when many parts of the voluntary sector are already running at maximum capacity.

Whatever happens, communicating effectively how charities are offering value for money in their charitable activities will become more important, says Froglife’s Chief Executive Kathy Wormald:

“Like all sectors, we have a responsibility to show that we offer value for money, and show that we are using our resources in the best way to reach our aim, which is to stop amphibians and reptiles declining further,” said Kathy. “In my experience, many organisations within the wildlife sector have a good history of this, though, to survive what could be deep cuts, we all have to improve how we communicate the benefits of our work, for people and for wildlife.”

Today, Froglife launches formally its annual review, and an ambitious five year business plan which outlines how we intend to progress in the coming years, against an economic backdrop many are predicting to be gloomy.

“Times are harder certainly, though there are reasons to be cheerful,” said Kathy. “For Froglife, we have recently recruited a number of new Froglife Friends, new staff and trustees. It may be that the public become more supportive of our cause as a wildlife charity, when they realise that some other funding sources are drying up. Their donations have never been more important.”

If you would like to support Froglife, why not consider Froglife Friendship? Froglife Friendship enables you to support our work for a year, and you also get our glossy new newsletter Natterchat, plus special invites to events. To be part of efforts to help amphibians and reptiles in the UK please click here.

NOTE TO READERS: that Froglife business plan in a nutshell...

1. Conserving species and habitats: we have eight ongoing projects contributing to improved habitats and conservation science. We want more. To date, around 160 volunteers have been involved in our Living Waters programme in Glasgow and London, creating and restoring urban ponds. We have plans to develop this work to include urban centres in the UK.

2. Educating and inspiring new audiences: we have worked with over a thousand vulnerable young people in Peterborough, teaching them about amphibians and reptiles, and creating opportunities to have fun and explore outdoors. To Froglife, these groups matter as much as those in mainstream education. We want to influence and develop our work with both audiences. We are also aiming to expand our work with young people to London and Glasgow in the next two years.

3. Communicating knowledge and encouraging support: we recognise that we need public support to ensure we are effective in our fight for a brighter future for our amphibian and reptile species. With our new website and revamped publications we are continuing to reach out to diverse audiences, sharing ideas and conservation 'tactics' and inviting new people to join the Froglife family!

See the full business plan by clicking here.

19 July 2010

Amphibians and reptiles in Scotland given a big boost with WREN funding.

Froglife have been given some exciting new funding from WREN, and we’re using the grant to launch a new urban pond project in Scotland. Similar schemes have already been a great success in Cambridgeshire and London through our Living Water projects. More than a third of the UK’s ponds have disappeared in the past 50 years, and 80 per cent of those that remain are in poor condition. But WREN’s funding for charity Froglife means ponds in urban areas in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire can now be introduced and rejuvenated.

Outnumbered star Daniel Roche has launched the latest round of WREN grants from a £10million biodiversity fund, with a little help from one of his favourite creatures – a toad.

The child actor, who plays mischievous Ben in the hit BBC show, got up close and personal with the amphibian after funding group WREN announced ten projects are to receive cash from its Biodiversity Action Fund (BAF). The money will protect vital habitats for Britain’s wildlife and includes £200,000 for Froglife to create and restore urban ponds.

10-year-old Daniel, who is about to start filming a new BBC series of Just William, said it was brilliant being eyeball to eyeball with an amphibian.

“I like frogs and toads. The best thing about them is the way they get huge when they puff up their chin. That really makes me laugh. Also it is amazing to watch a tadpole turn into a frog in front of your eyes, the way their legs appear and then all of a sudden they are fully grown almost overnight.”

Mum Judy said he shared a real love of animals with his character Ben. “He’s naturally inquisitive about wildlife and loves being outdoors. Daniel is animal mad. In a recent interview, he decided if he was Prime Minister for the day, he would ban animal cruelty.” she said.

The large-scale urban pond creation project north of the border in Glasgow will restore a stronghold environment for many nationally protected pond species. It will also give children living in urban areas the rare chance to get up close to creatures like frogs and toads – once common sights in our gardens and parks.

Kathy Wormald, chief executive of Froglife, said WREN’s funding will directly increase the amphibian population of Scotland by restoring and introducing priority habitats.

“The UK’s frog, toad and newt population is under threat as ponds decline at a dramatic rate,” she added.

“In the UK more than one third of ponds have disappeared in the latter half of the last century and most of those that remain are thought to be in ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’ condition. We campaign to do everything possible to restore these habitats so that children, like Daniel, can continue to learn about these precious British creatures.”

Former environment minister and renowned conservation expert, Baroness Young, is chair of WREN’s BAF panel. Baroness Young added; “2010 is the official International Year of Biodiversity, an important time to highlight the serious biodiversity issues that the UK faces. Funding from WREN and the Landfill Communities Fund is playing a key role in hitting Biodiversity Action Plan targets and is restoring rich, vibrant, precious habitats throughout the UK, helping diverse species like water voles, bitterns, butterflies and of course frogs and toads, to survive and thrive.”

Find out more about Froglife's current work in Scotland at

Photo (c) Geoff Caddick/Press Association

15 July 2010

Frogs and toads in Scotland need your help!

Froglife has had success with a really exciting bid for £190,000 landfill tax credit funding in Scotland. The project aims to restore and revamp urban ponds in Glasgow and North Lanarkshire, based on the model of our Living Waters work in London.

Urban ponds become important hubs for all sorts of animals, creating a wild oasis for creatures to hide, eat and breed. This new project will benefit a variety of wildlife, including reptiles and amphibians, and also give local young people a chance to meet some of these charismatic water-loving creatures for the first time.

Glasgow Living Water Officer Eilidh Spence is looking forward to the project expanding further into Scotland. "I've been working on lots of ponds around Glasgow, and there are so many more habitats that could do with some TLC," explains Eilidh. "This funding will mean that we can work on enhancing new sites and employ more Froglife staff to engage with the public and raise the profile of amphibians and reptiles in the central belt of Scotland."

However, to unlock this fantastic amount of money we need £21,000 third party funding. So, we are getting our fundraising hats on! And we need your help.

Donations of any size will help towards the final amount we need. Perhaps you fancy getting sponsored for a run or a swim, growing a moustache or shaving your head, holding a coffee morning or a frog themed party? Is your business looking for a worthy wildlife cause to support? Could you have a non-uniform day or a dress-down Friday in the name of new ponds?

Whatever takes your fancy, you can donate online here, or send a cheque to Froglife, 2A Flag Business Exchange, Vicarage Farm Road, Peterborough, PE1 5TX. We can also send you a sponsorship form or some extra ideas for fun activities if you need them.

Thank you for your help!

6 July 2010

Froglife scoops two Green Awards

Froglife is delighted to have scooped two awards at a showcase of environmental projects based in Cambridgeshire.

Judges of the Evening Telegraph Green Awards awarded Froglife with the ‘Green Youth Group Award’ and ‘Most Innovative Environmental Project’ award, facing stiff competition from a number of local and national environmental organisations.

Froglife won ‘Green Youth Group Award’ for Green Pathways, funded by BBC Children in Need. The scheme supports young people in developing their skills, both academically and socially, through wildlife conservation activities like amphibian and reptile surveying and pond-digging.

“It’s a great achievement for the scheme and all of the young people involved, I can’t wait to let them all know.” said Natalie Giles, Froglife’s Green Pathways Project Officer. “They each work so hard and have such passion for their projects that it is good for them to have others recognise what they have accomplished.”

‘Most Innovative Environmental Project’ went to Peterborough Environment Enrichment Project (PEEP). This established project works with young offenders carrying out practical conservation activities as part of their reparation order (similar to 'community service') – these activities have helped create numerous wildlife areas in the city, and have led to some young people gaining training and, later, employment.

“This is quite overwhelming, since this category was very competitive and there was a whole host of excellent innovative projects we were up against,” said Andy Mortimore, Froglife’s Reparation Manager. “The award is heartening recognition for PEEP, which has been going a number of years, and has made some fantastic improvements to wildlife habitats in Peterborough.”

“Both of these award-winning projects are replicable in other towns and cities, and we’re currently looking for partners to help us get these cutting edge projects off the ground elsewhere,” said Jules Howard, Froglife’s Education Coordinator.

For more details about both of these projects, visit: www.froglife.org/education

28 June 2010

Wildlife ponds: a “national responsibility”

Tips on tiny ponds, newt-friendly planting and attractive compost heaps for grass snake egg-laying were dished out to thousands of visitors to this year’s Gardeners World Live.

“One piece of advice that went down particularly well was choosing plants that prove attractive to newts as egg-laying sites. Once spring comes round again, we'd advise getting out there with a torch at night to see the newt soap opera unfold...” said Froglife’s Jules Howard.

A wide range of plants with thin and easily folded leaves are used for egg-laying by newts. These include water forget-me not Myosotis scorpioides, watermint Mentha aquatica and marsh marigold Caltha palustris. (see our Just Add Water advice – planning for plants)

Froglife also took the time to gather memories and personal stories from show visitors about their garden’s populations of amphibians and reptiles. These comments will be collated, and reported on, in due course.

“My Mrs watches Big Brother. Me? I prefer to listen to the toads and frogs in the garden!” said one member of the public. Other stories included allotment owners considering ponds as a nursery ground for rearing organic pesticide control (translation: frogs and newts), and the value of ponds as places for contemplation and quiet remembrance.

“Having a wildlife pond should be a pre-requisite of any allotment or wildlife garden – it’s a national responsibility, a no-brainer,” said another visitor to the Froglife stand.

For more information on building or looking after a pond to attract amphibians and reptiles visit: Just Add Water.

15 June 2010

Froglife at Gardeners World Live

We're off to the NEC in Birmingham from Wednesday 16th to Sunday 20th June to spread our love of amphibians and reptiles to keen gardeners!

Amongst the show gardens, flower stands and a big plant swap, Froglife will be extolling the virtues of having even a tiny pond for wildlife.

Jules Howard, Froglife's education and learning coordinator, will also be giving talks in the VIP lounge, about how to make a wildlife friendly pond from scratch, in less than a weekend.

"It's becoming increasingly recognised that gardens have a big part to play in biodiversity, particularly in urban areas," comments Jules. "A garden pond can add so much value for all sorts of wildlife, and it's incredible just how quickly new creatures will move in."

This complements Froglife's 'Just Add Water' campaign and educational booklet containing tips and ideas for making and maintaining a pond. With habitat loss being one of the biggest theats to amphibians and reptiles, creating inviting areas in gardens is one of the simplest ways people looking to take action can help.

Froglife staff are looking forward to talking to all sorts of people over the days of the event, sharing advice and ideas, and also collecting people's thoughts and experiences about encounters with our species. Gardeners World Live is open from 9am to 6pm from the 16th to the 20th of June. If you are visiting the event, come on over and say hello!

Find more information on buiding or looking after a wildlife pond here.

3 June 2010

A Wild Day Out for Froglife in London

Froglife will be taking part in Springwatch's Family Nature Festival this Saturday at Alexandra Palace in London. Part of Froglife's work to celebrate the International Year of Biodiversity, we will also be be joining the 24 hour 'bioblitz' on Friday night conducting a torchlight survey for newts at the Palace.

The main event on Staurday runs from 11am to 5pm on Saturday and is open to anyone who fancies coming along! Admission is free, and we will be running a stand demonstrating how to make a tub pond. These small ponds suit even the tiniest garden, require no digging, and prove that a little water can go a long way when it comes to supporting wildlife. The resulting ponds filled with plants will be raffled off during the day.

Froglife's activities are part of a host of wildilfe themed activities, with the day promising to be a great opportunity to have fun and learn more about the suprising diversity of creatures you could spot in London.

We hope you can join us for an enjoyable (and hopefully sunny!) Wild Day Out in the city.

Find out more here.

25 May 2010

An uncertain future for our wildlife?

Froglife was delighted to hear that so many new MPs are from the charitable sector. But with no representation from wildlife NGOs, and the potential for the coalition to repeal the hunting ban and reintroduce badger culls in England, just how committed is the new government to protecting wildlife?

The coalition’s policy document states: "We will introduce measures to protect wildlife and promote green spaces and wildlife corridors in order to halt the loss of habitats and restore biodiversity." It remains to be seen just what these measures will be.

“The work of some of our colleagues within the wildlife sector looks like it’s about to get a lot more challenging, even those working with the traditionally more popular animals than our species,” says Kathy Wormald, Froglife’s CEO. “I hope the new government puts its money where its mouth is, and that the good work we have all been part of in pushing wildlife conservation and outdoor education up the agenda continues to develop.”

Wildlife lover and Liberal Democrat deputy leader on Peterborough council, Cllr Nick Sandford, is optimistic. “There is a lot of good stuff coming out of the government of potential benefit to wildlife, including tree planting, habitat protection, and devolution of power to local authorities,” said Nick. “There are also a number of new commissions to look into various more contentious issues, so let’s hope they deliver results.”

Why not contact your MP to find out how they stand on the issues that affect our wildlife, and ask about their visions for the future of biodiversity? You can find your MP’s details here.

We’d love to know how you get on.

19 May 2010

Froglife joins in with global wildlife celebrations

Pond-dipping nets will be at the ready this weekend, as a chain of special events take place across the country, as part of global celebrations for 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.

Froglife will be leading a network of pond-dipping events in London, Peterborough and Glasgow. Attendees will get to see up-close the enormous variety of wildlife that depend on ponds, including frogs, newts, toads, grass snakes, dragonflies, beetles and water boatmen.

Froglife is hoping that adults and children across the country can record one hundred different species on the day, armed with pond nets and specimen trays.

The network of events forms part of a number of celebrations being undertaken across the world, to celebrate the International Day for Biological Diversity. The United Nations proclaimed May 22nd the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.

“Ponds are teeming with wildlife, so this is a fitting way for us to celebrate this important day in our diary, and to show new audiences why ponds are so important for safeguarding our national wildlife treasures.” said Froglife’s Sam Taylor.

“Pond-dipping is a great way to show young people what biodiversity actually looks like.” added Sam.

Pond-dipping events will take place at the following locations:

- Peterborough: Hampton Nature Reserve

- Glasgow: Binghams Pond (Hyndland).

- London: Railway Fields Nature Reserve (Haringay )and Foots Cray Meadows (Bexley)

For details of how to get involved in these events please email: info@froglife.org

14 May 2010

Disney cans Newt

Froglife is saddened to hear that work on Disney’s animation film, Newt, has been cancelled.

The Disney Pixar film, first announced in 2008, was alleged to have been about the fate of the “last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet forced together by science to save the species.” First reported in 2008, a number of media sources today report that the Newt project has been canned, for reasons unknown.

“This film could have been a unique opportunity for kids to engage with the wonderful world of amphibians, in a fun and engrossing way – and to better understand the seriousness of animal extinctions." said Froglife’s Jules Howard. “Disney’s phenomenal ability to engage and inspire millions of children is a league above our combined efforts in the wildlife conservation sector –it’s a unique opportunity lost.”

Globally , one third of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. Of the UK’s thirteen species of amphibians and reptiles, ten species are listed on the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) priority ‘watchlist’.

Froglife has started a campaign on Facebook - join in! “Hey Disney, bring back Newt!”

31 March 2010

Science award for Froglife’s artistic representation of biodiversity…

Froglife has received national recognition for a unique approach to explaining the value of biodiversity to young people.

Froglife’s week-long Under the Surface exhibition featured larger than life pond creatures, like frogs, tadpoles and pond invertebrates, and urged visitors to explore the make-believe underwater scene to understand more about the relationships between the animals and plants.

The magical event was awarded Best Science Event by the British Science Association, as part of National Science and Engineering Week (12th – 20th March).

“We thought it was a really wonderful event, and we loved the way they reached out to different parts of the community to create artistic representations of what life is like under the water.” said Dan Richards, of the British Science Association, who judged the award. “It was a great to see an activity that could be tailored to engage all sorts of different groups while still communicating a core message of biodiversity.”

The exhibition formed part of Froglife’s calendar of events celebrating 2010 International Year of Biodiversity – raising awareness of efforts to safeguard biodiversity and focusing minds on the urgent conservation challenges ahead.

“The International Year for Biodiversity proved to be a great theme for the event, backing up the fun and creativity with a more serious lesson to be learnt about what biodiversity is, and why safeguarding it matters to all of us. Essentially, this was a science lesson with a difference.” said Natalie Giles, part of Froglife’s education team.

“This type of event is something of a niche for Froglife, bringing an interactive and hands-on approach to sharing important concepts in conservation. We will be developing this ‘science with a difference’ approach further through our education strategy and future events and projects.” said Froglife’s Sam Taylor.

The larger than life animals featuring in the exhibition were created by local young people and volunteers through Froglife’s Ponds for Life project (funded by the Heritage Lottery Foundation) and Green Pathways Scheme (funded by BBC Children in Need).

22 March 2010

40,000 toads to be rescued from death on Britain’s roads

Volunteers are well on their way to rescuing over 40,000 toads from death on the UK’s roads, setting a new record.

The action is being coordinated to highlight to planners and highways authorities that roads need to be made more amphibian-friendly, to stop toads from undergoing further local extinctions in the UK.

With the sudden arrival of the milder spring conditions, toads in many parts of the country are midway through their seasonal migrations to breeding ponds. At many sites, these migrations occur across busy roads and thousands of toads become victims of road traffic. A national network of volunteer ‘toad patrollers’ exists to help toads across designated roads, armed with torches and buckets.

This network of over a thousand volunteers rescued 34,970 toads last spring – the equivalent of a line of toads the length of 550 London buses.

The volunteers are coordinated through Toads on Roads, a campaign run by the charity Froglife. 758 toad-crossing points have been registered with the charity.

“These volunteer toad patrollers are incredibly committed and some volunteers have been out on spring nights saving toads for almost 25 years.” said Lucy Benyon, Froglife's Toads on Roads coordinator.

“This spring, we’re keen to break the 40,000 toad-mark, partly as a symbolic gesture to show planners and highways authorities that this is a serious issue for wildlife conservation, and that this issue isn’t going away without their taking notice.”

The common toad Bufo bufo has experienced declines in parts of the UK, in some cases caused by the effect of road traffic. In 2007, the common toad was added to the Government’s Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) priority species list.

To find your nearest registered toad crossing, visit: www.froglife.org/toadsonroads

Green Pathways to London...

Froglife is looking for new partners to join an educational initiative made possible with BBC Children in Need funding.

Froglife's Green Pathways scheme works with a range of young people on conservation projects that benefit amphibians and reptiles in urban areas.

The scheme introduces young people –most of whom have no previous interest in the natural world – to amphibian and reptile conservation; offering skills, training and qualifications.

One output from the scheme has been a frog-friendly allotment which has become a demonstration site to encourage other allotment-holders to embrace amphibians and reptiles as a natural form of pest control.

Young people involved monitor the pond’s progress and take part in pond dipping activities, checking up on the pond’s inhabitants before each session.

To date, the Green Pathways Scheme has reached over 700 people within the Peterborough area – involving 19 partner schools and community groups.

After one year feedback has been positive:

“[This is a] fabulous idea for building self-esteem, self-confidence and providing opportunities to learn valuable life skills,” underlined one teacher from a participating Peterborough school.

“The scheme has been a great opportunity to allow young people to become actively involved in and enthused by wildlife projects they would not normally have access to,” said Natalie Giles, Froglife's Conservation Youth Worker.

Now Froglife is looking to bring Green Pathways to specified London boroughs:

“Due to the success of the project here in Peterborough, we are looking to expand its delivery into the London boroughs of Camden, Tower Hamlets and Hackney.” said Natalie.

“We would be really interested to hear from other organisations, specifically volunteer groups and schools, that have groups of young people that might appreciate opportunities for outdoor learning.”

To find out more about the Green Pathways Scheme...