Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center
The Daily Plant : Thursday, May 1, 2008
Frog Watch Volunteers Hear A Chorus Of Calls
On April 6, over 25 volunteers, including scouts from Troop 125, members from the Metropolitan Herpetological Society, and Student Conservation Association interns, came to High Rock Park in the Staten Island Greenbelt for a FrogWatch USA™ training to learn how to identify various frog and toad species. Aside from learning how to distinguish between the trill of spring peepers and the tremolo of a green frog, volunteers learned of the many threats facing amphibians and why the data they collect is important to conservation efforts.
Amphibians, such as frogs, toads, and salamanders, have porous skin and permeable eggs that make them especially sensitive and vulnerable to changes in their environment. Additionally, since they spend part of their life in water and part of their life on land, amphibians are among the first species to experience the consequences of pollution, habitat loss, invasive species, increased ultraviolet radiation, and climate change. According to the Wildlife Conservation Society, at least 120 species of frogs, toads, salamanders, and other amphibians have become extinct since 1980, and up to half of the remaining 6,000 species may soon succumb to extinction.
The year 2008, a leap year, has been declared the “Year of the Frog.” Conservation organizations have come together to increase public awareness of the plight of amphibians and offer trainings for citizen scientists to help monitor frog and toad habitats. FrogWatch USA™, a citizen science initiative run jointly by the National Wildlife Federation and the U.S. Geological Survey, trains volunteers to monitor frog and toad habitats by listening for the calls of different species and recording the findings.
Beth Nicholls, an Environmental Educator for the Staten Island Greenbelt, who is conducting frog and toad surveys of various Staten Island parks for her masters thesis, led the FrogWatch training. According to Ms. Nicholls, spring peepers dominate the New York City wetland soundscape in March and April, with a Green Tree Frog or Pickerel Frog rarely heard. In mid-May, observers start to hear the distinctive banjo string sound of the green frog, with deep “jug-o-rum” of the bull frog and the sheep-like wailing of the Fowler’s toad. Other species such as the Gray Tree Frog, Pickerel Frog and Southern Leopard Frog also inhabit Staten Island but their populations are unfortunately few and far between.
On April 6, FrogWatch volunteers heard the calls of spring peepers, a distinctive sleigh bell sound. If you missed the April 6 training and would like to be a FrogWatch volunteer, you can obtain the information and register from the FrogWatch website (www.nwf.org/frogwatchusa) and there will be another training in the Staten Island Greenbelt within the next year. Aside from the Greenbelt, there are plenty of freshwater wetland sites throughout the five boroughs where you can listen for frog calls, including Alley Pond Park in Queens, Prospect Park in Brooklyn, Blue Heron and Wolfe’s Pond Parks in Staten Island, Morningside Park and Central Park in Manhattan, and along portions of the Bronx River.
If you are a more casual frog enthusiast who would like to attend an informative and entertaining event to celebrate the “Year of the Frog,” take a look at the following two events:
On Saturday May 3, at 2 p.m., Jessica Jones, National Wildlife Foundation’s Coordinator for FrogWatch USA™ will be at the Carousel Opening Day event at the Carousel for All Children, 2 Eton Place off Richmond Avenue, in Willowbrook Park, to increase public awareness of frogs and the perils they face. May 3 is Record the Ribbit, the culmination of the National Wildlife Federation’s Year of Frog activities, when volunteers throughout the nation will simultaneously listen to frog and toad calls in nearby ponds and wetlands.
On Sunday June 1, the Greenbelt Conservancy will host its annual members event. This year’s event theme is “Amphibian Adventures” and will feature a presentation by Harvey Bird from the Metropolitan Herpetological Society and a short hike focusing on the habitat of local amphibians and their role in the ecology of freshwater wetland ecosystems. Please call Greenbelt Nature Center at (718) 351-3450 or visit www.sigreenbelt.org for details.
Written by Jessica Kratz
EMPOWERING TEENS AT LOST BATTALION HALL
On March 20, Lost Battalion Hall coordinated with Council for Unity for the first Teen Empowerment Summit (TES). Council for Unity is a community based organization that runs a prevention program against gang violence. The Summit focused on providing our youth with information and insight on how to overcome the pressures they encounter to join the world of gangs.
The Summit had over sixty enthusiastic participants between the ages of 12-17, all who are members of our Queens Recreation Centers. They were eager to learn more about alternatives to violence and other options instead of joining a gang. The conference recognized the increase in gang membership and has taken positive actions to help our youth avoid becoming a gang statistic.
The Summit offered workshops in three categories:
History of Gangs
Prevention and Intention
Life as an Everyday Teen
For the closing, guest speakers shared their gang experiences and expressed to the group “Stay off the street or you will only get beat.” Delon Harrison, 15, said “I found out so much about gangs today than I ever did. This was message to tell me not to join.” Queens Parks will continue to promote an anti-gang message and will provide youth with positive recreational activities to deter any gang involvement.
Written by Susan Friedman and Maria Scazzero
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
“I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
(1874 – 1965)
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