Jump into action to help imperiled frogs by participating in the Year of the Frog celebration. The Amphibian Ark, a worldwide coalition of amphibian experts, will work throughout this leap year to raise awareness about threats to frog survival and funds to help frog species in jeopardy. Many frog populations are declining due to environmental contaminants, diseases and habitat destruction. The Year of the Frog conservation efforts will include a captive breeding program to save approximately 500 species that cannot be protected in the wild.
On leap day, Feb. 29, Department of Conservation Nature Centers will offer free frog stickers and Missouri Toads and Frogs brochures. The St. Louis Zoo Leap Day celebration will include 10 exhibits featuring the diversity of amphibian life, games and other frog activities for kids. To learn about Year of the Frog events and activities see the links listed below.
Signs of the approaching spring soon will be popping up all over. One of the most welcome sights is bluebirds building nests. With just a little preparation you can draw the cheerful symbols of happiness to your yard.
Bluebird boxes should be in place by March 1. That makes February the perfect time to clean out, refurbish or build boxes. Bluebird boxes put out in previous years should be checked for damaged roofs, split posts, exposed nails or other flaws that could injure birds. Old nests and other debris that might be inside the boxes should be removed and properly discarded to prevent birds from reusing it. Those items can be breeding grounds for parasites that can kill young birds. Instructions for building bluebird boxes are available online.
For best results, mount each box on a lone post. Posts can be fitted with a 24-inch-long metal sleeve to discourage climbing predators. Posts in fence rows can become overgrown with brush, enabling black rat snakes and mice to enter the box. If you put out several boxes, place them 300 feet apart to accommodate the bluebird’s sizable territory.
Editor in Chief - Ara Clark
Managing Editor - Nichole LeClair
Art Director - Cliff White
Writer/editor - Tom Cwynar
Staff Writer - Bonnie Chasteen
Staff Writer - Jim Low
Staff Writer - Arleasha Mays
Photographer - Noppadol Paothong
Photographer - David Stonner
Designer - Stephanie Ruby
Artist - Dave Besenger
Artist - Mark Raithel
Circulation - Laura Scheuler