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Hello from Fontenelle Forest!

We are deep in the midst of a damp, rainy spring and the weather couldn't be more perfect for amphibian searching. A pond, a puddle, a field, a roadside ditch… amphibians are everywhere!

Need an amphibian refresher? Not to worry – it's easy to explain, even to young children. The Greek prefix "amphi" means "both" or "double," and the Greek word "bios" means "life". Amphibians then are creatures that live a "double life."

So what about their lives makes them so shifty and double-crossing? It's actually not as bad as a "double life" might seem! Amphibians have two main stages to their lives: one that's spent in a watery habitat and one that's spent in a dry (or at least drier) land habitat. To be born in a watery habitat, as all amphibians are, each little frog or salamander or toad has gills, and gets its oxygen from the water. Then, in a series of fateful days, each little amphibian changes form enough to begin taking air into its lungs, giving it the ability to breathe on land. This change in oxygen intake method is a big enough deal that it affects the whole name of this category of animals!

Isn't that change super crazy? As you're discussing this with your kiddos, feel free to imagine how wild it would be for us humans to develop gills as we grow, and spend our adult lives entirely in the water. I mean, what?! Or what if fish grew lungs and lived entirely on land once they grew up?!

Amphibians are truly cool, and I can't wait to explore frogs and toads with you and your kids at Hands-on-Habitat this month! Our event is on April 21, from 9:30 am to 11:00 am, and it will be packed with hands-on activities, literature, outdoor exploration, and more. Registration must be done in advance and will fill up quickly, so sign up today

Lindsay Cooley

from Fontenelle Forest

Lindsay is an environmental educator at Fontenelle Forest in Bellevue. She was born and raised in Omaha, and is happy to be back after spending the past four years interning and working at various nature centers around the country. Lindsay has a background in environmental science, and is passionate about cultivating a love of the natural world in children and adults alike. When she's not cutting out craft materials or taking kids on hikes, Lindsay loves birdi ...

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