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Back You are here: Home Features Events and Features Fort Fisher Aquarium Toads Help Students Make Leaps in Knowledge

Toads Help Students Make Leaps in Knowledge

A N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher Educator Erica Connery points Carolina Beach Elementary
School students to a good spot for releasing the Southern toads raised in their classroom. The release was the culmination of the Aquarium’s Amphibians in the Classroom program.

A tiny Southern toad before release.

Recently, second-grade students from Carolina Beach Elementary trekked down a bank to the edge of a pond at Wade Park in Wilmington. In their cupped-hands, they carefully ferried tiny Southern toads to release. A chorus of “goodbye” and “be careful” accompanied the animals as they hopped from small palms into muddy reeds and water. In addition to the release, the students explored pond habitats, learned to identify different amphibian vocalizations and played a few amphibian-inspired games.
The toad release activities were part of the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher’s “Amphibians in the Classroom” program. This year, six local schools participated in outreach learning in second-grade classrooms with the assistance of the Southern toad. Schools included: Anderson Elementary School, Cape Fear Center for Inquiry, Carolina Beach Elementary, Holly Tree Elementary, Mary C. Williams Elementary and Sunset Park Elementary. For six years, the Aquarium has partnered with local teachers and students to raise Southern toad eggs to toadlets during the six- to eight-week program. Aquarium staff collects eggs, installs the classroom tanks, collaborates with teachers, offers amphibian-themed lesson plans and guides a toad-release fieldtrip to a local wetland. “ The goal of this project is to work with teachers to foster a generation of students who feel a personal connection to the aquatic environments around them, and who are armed with knowledge about how to better care for these environments,” said Aquarium Outreach Coordinator Andy Gould.
“By using amphibians as ambassadors, and fostering a connection to local ecosystems we demonstrate that it is up to us to maintain and care for our wetlands.”Funding for the program was received through a grant from The Walmart Foundation and the Walmart Supercenter on Carolina Beach Road.

 A visitor to the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher creates a grouper relief with the assistance of DREAMS of Wilmington teaching artist, Michael Van Hout.