INSPIR-ACTION Contest Winner: Andrea Gielens

Andrea Gielens is our official winner of the INSPIR-ACTION Contest!Andrea 
Her story of working with the endangered Oregon Spotted Frog will be the basis for the next Monkey100 design.  Andrea invited me to the Mountain View Wildlife Conservation Centre where the frogs are being reared and studied.  It’s a wonderful place, a bit of a secret, nestled amid the farm fields of Langley.  I quickly learned that the center is home to other endangered creatures as well, hosting over 50 species of rare and endangered wildlife from across the globe.

Andrea met me at the visitor centre and from there we made our way to the outdoor tanks where the juvenile frogs are raised.  During my visit, Andrea and her intern assistants were busy checking frogs from each of the tanks for diseases.  It was a chance to take photos and gain valuable knowledge from Andrea who knows a lot about frogs.

In 1999, they were labeled an endangered species by COSEWIC (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada) and the only species in Canada to receive emergency designation for its protection under SARA (Species at Risk Act).

Spotted FrogToday, only fragmented populations exist in Washington, Oregon and the Fraser River lowlands of British Columbia.  The frogs are in critical condition, the result of losing their wetland habitat to grazing land, farms, roads and predation of non-native species like the bullfrog.  Only around 300 remain in the wild today.

The Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Team also works with local First Nation tribes as well as the Vancouver Aquarium, and the Greater Vancouver Zoo, to increase the Spotted frog population and establish new populations.  Their goal is to remove them from the endangered species list.

My visit to Mountain View Centre inspired me and gave me a good start to developing a design for the Oregon Spotted frog.  They may be small but their health is an indicator of the larger ecosystem.  Their Latin name is Rana Pretiosa which means “Precious Frog”.  It’s a good way to think about these delicate and vital creatures.           

Check out these links featuring recent stories on the Oregon Spotted Frog: