Cindy Hoffman: Frog savers of the future

On September 23, Jeff Corwin of Animal Planet fame and Defenders of Wildlife went to the National Zoo to launch the “Feeling the Heat with Jeff Corwin” series of 11 videos on the impacts of global warming on wildlife and release Jeff’s series of 4 children’s books.

Water quality testing in Rock CreekAnd on this sunny morning, Jeff met up on the banks of Rock Creek with 30 lucky third-graders from Chevy Chase Elementary school to learn a little about frogs. Together, the team assessed the habitat and the water quality in the stream, finding that it was pretty good. That’s good news for frogs, especially in such an urban environment.

But as we learned that day, frogs all over the planet are in the fight of their lives. Jeff showed us the Amazonian horned frog, a very cool frog with a really big mouth, and then he introduced us to one of the most threatened frogs on Earth….one of the few Panamanian golden frogs left in the world. These little beauties are being impacted by chytrid fungus and have been extirpated from the wild.

Jeff showed the kids his new Defenders of Wildlife video on frogs from the “Feeling the Heat” series, which highlights the impacts that chytrid fungus  and a changing climate are having on frogs and other amphibians. It set the stage for a discussion about the impacts of chytrid fungus on Panamanian golden frogs, why the kids felt frogs were important and what the Panama Amphibian Rescue Project is doing to save them.

By the end of the day, the students were charmed by the many frog ambassadors at the zoo and concerned about their plight. They all walked away with a signed book from the Jeff Corwin children’s book series and hopefully a memorable experience they will pass on to others about the fragility of life on earth and our responsibility to conserve, because these young minds are the environmental stewards of the future.

“Feeling the heat” videos and books can be found at