Learn about amphibians at March 25 MDC program in Joplin

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JOPLIN, Mo. – Spring and summer months would definitely be different, and very likely not as enjoyable, were it not for amphibians.

People who want to learn more about amphibians should plan to attend the Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) program “Amazing Amphibians of Missouri” March 25 at MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center. This program, which is open to all ages, will be from 6-7 p.m. MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center is located at 201 Riviera Drive. People can register at:


Defining what an amphibian is in a few words can be difficult because all amphibians don’t feature the same traits, but the word “amphibian” offers a good clue. It comes from a Greek word that means “two lives” and therein lies a good, basic definition of these creatures. This name refers to the creatures’ life cycle that, with only a few exceptions, consists of a life cycle with both in-the-water and out-of-the-water components.

Amphibians are cold-blooded, egg-laying creatures that can take in oxygen through three methods; lungs, gills, or permeable skin. Amphibians in Missouri include frogs, toads, and salamanders.

One benefit amphibians provide to humans is through their diets. Frogs, toads, and salamanders have an insect diet that includes mosquitoes, termites, and some other insects that we would term pests. Amphibians are also important environmental indicators. A number of amphibian species aren’t good at adapting to change, which makes them good indicators of problems that may be occurring in an area. And, on top of everything else, warm-weather months in Missouri just wouldn’t be the same without the deep croak of bullfrogs rolling in from a distant pond or the high trill of frogs and toads from elsewhere on the landscape.

At the March 25 program, MDC Naturalist Jessie Ballard will talk about amphibians that live in this region. Program participants will see live amphibians and will also make an amphibian-related craft to take home. The program will also include a short walk on the trails at the Shoal Creek Center to allow people to listen for amphibians in the area. COVID measures will be practiced at this event.

People can stay informed about upcoming programs at MDC’s Shoal Creek Conservation Education Center and other nearby MDC facilities by signing up for text alerts and e-mail bulletins. People who have questions about how to sign up for text alerts from the Shoal Creek Center can call 417-629-3423.

Staff at MDC facilities across the state are holding virtual programs. A listing of these programs can be found at mdc.mo.gov/events.