Winnebago Audubon Society
Making Friends with Frogs
Inside the classroom, a blue tarp lies on the ground. Small pools of water are gathered on it. One by one, Randy Korb, a frog expert, places adult, teen and baby frogs on the tarp.
Children squirm. Some gasp. Others giggle and ask if they could touch the hopping amphibians.
The frog lessons are simple, but memorable. Frog habitat and eating habits are first on the list. Next is a circle of life discussion of sorts -- about the animals that eat frogs.
"Pretty soon, the kids who start with 'ewwww' are touching them," said Carla Hansen, Winnebago Audubon Society. "He is the kind of educator where you learn, without realizing it."
While the local affiliate of the national Audubon Society holds this program in a school classroom, others like it take place in the great outdoors. The programs are part of the Winnebago Audubon Society's mission to educate children and families about the environment.
"By educating children and the public, we believe they'll become active in and aware about the environment," Hansen said.
They use snake programs, raptor educators, butterfly banding and nature walks to share the message. But, it is the frogs that have become the mascot for their programs.
This year, the Winnebago Audubon Society will have new set of helpers with four legs. They'll give frog beanie animals, imprinted with their logo, as a reminder of the program.
"We want kids to remember what they've learned," Hansen said. "The beanies will remind them."