At Disney’s Animal Kingdom on March 7, just a few days before we adjust our clocks forward for Daylight Savings Time, we’re “springing forward” to celebrate frogs, toads and other amphibians during one of a year-long series of events that encourage families to connect with nature.

When guests visit Rafiki’s Planet Watch, they will be able to make toad abodes (special homes for frogs and toads) for their backyards, try leaping like a frog, listen to frog calls, examine amphibian adaptations, and meet some cool amphibians and their keepers. Frog fun fact: Frogs provide a free pest-control service – they eat billions of harmful insects annually, including mosquitoes and their larvae.

Guests also can learn about the critically endangered Puerto Rican crested toad, which we are raising at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and releasing in their native habitat to re-populate the species in an area where these toads once thrived but are now considered extinct.

Did you know that, according to some estimates, as many as one-third of the known amphibian species are threatened by extinction because of loss of habitat, climate change, pollution and disease? The good news is that every one of us can help amphibians leap ahead of extinction. Here’s how:

  • Invite a bug-zapping amphibian into your backyard by placing an overturned pot (toad abode) as a home
  • Use fewer chemical pesticides on your lawn to keep amphibians healthy
  • Build a pond, plant native shrubs, and leave leaf litter and logs in your yard to create a habitat for frogs
  • Plan a family outing to a local pond to hear different species of frogs sing their love songs to one another
  • Find natural alternatives to household chemicals so these toxins don’t end up in amphibian habitats
  • Take part in a local pond or stream clean-up to ensure that native amphibians will have a clean home
  • Find books on frogs to discover why they sing loudly, hear well and stay up late

Upcoming 2013 events for connecting families with nature (as always, dates subject to change):

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

  • April 22: Party for the Planet for Earth Day
  • May 8: International Migratory Bird Day
  • May 23: World Turtle Day
  • June 5: Pollinator Day
  • July 25: Tiger Day
  • August 1: Primate Day
  • August: Cotton-Top Tamarin Month
  • September 5: International Vulture Awareness Day
  • September 26: Elephant Day
  • October 31: Bat Day
  • November 12: Rhino Day

At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:

  • April 22: Earth Day
  • May 18: Endangered Species Day
  • May 23: World Turtle Day
  • June 8: World Ocean Day
  • September 7: International Manatee Day

Read on for more updates from Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Wildlife Wednesdays: Spring Forward to Help Frogs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D.: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

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