27 September 2011

Talking Toads at London Zoo this Friday

The final preparations are afoot for our event with the Zoological Society of London on Friday 30th September. Here Froglife’s Sam Taylor shares her anticipation about hearing from the speakers on the big night.

“Following Mike Dilger and Peter Firmin in the programme for Tuppence a Toad is rather daunting! In person, Mike is just as enthusiastic and charismatic as he is on the BBC’s One Show, and we’re delighted he’s chairing our event.
Common toad Bufo bufo by Oliver Kratz
 Peter Firmin is our special guest speaker and one of my heroes. Having set up Smallfilms with Oliver Postgate they brought The Clangers, Ivor the Engine and of course Bagpuss and Gabriel the Toad to life through stop-frame animation in Peter’s shed! He’ll be sharing some of his stories.

I’ll be following Peter with an update on Froglife’s Tuppence a Toad campaign to support the national Toads on Roads project, and then handing over to Froglife trustee Professor Roger Downie. Roger will be placing Toads on Roads in context with conservation efforts across the world. He is a passionate and incredibly knowledgeable speaker, recently retired from teaching at the University of Glasgow (although he’s not exactly putting his feet up!).

After the break, we hand over to some of the amphibian experts from ZSL. I can’t wait to hear about Peter Minting’s PhD looking at the chytrid virus and the UK’s rarest amphibian, the natterjack toad. And wrapping up the night is Helen Meredith, who has just started at PhD of her own. Helen is a really enthusiastic and entertaining speaker and will be discussing the weird and wonderful Evolutionarily Distinct and Globally Endangered amphibians.

All in all, it promises to be an inspiring night, packed full of information and personal stories that will touch on the cultural side of toads, citizen science, and volunteering - zooming out from the local perspective to global amphibian conservation efforts.

I hope you are looking forward to it as much as I am!”

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