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