Amphibian Education & Outreach
The amphibian outreach ambassador animals reach about 1,200 students every year through four programs: onsite programs, school visits, virtual tours and Garden camps.
During onsite programming, students explore the Garden's public exhibits, see the frogs that live in the Garden and meet several ambassador animals. Education staff visit local schools for outreach programs where students discuss amphibian adaptations that help them survive various conditions in different regions of Georgia then meet two of the ambassador animals from the Garden’s collection. Since the pandemic, virtual tours were added that expand access to the animals and take students behind the scenes into the frog lab to discuss adaptations, amphibian life cycles, and amphibian conservation. Finally, the animals are also part of all the camps at the Garden. Even adults join the fun with visits during Garden art classes and beekeeping classes.
The Garden’s amphibian ambassador animals include three native species and four non-native species that demonstrate different adaptations. Native animals include a Gopher frog who remained behind after one of the Garden’s reintroduction projects. The southeast United States boasts the greatest biodiversity of salamanders in the world, as introduced by our Slimy and Green salamanders. Tiny phantasmal poison frogs introduce students to the often hidden animals that produce the loud beautiful sounds in the tropical rotunda and the idea of “thumbnail” species that thrive in the niche of staying tiny. Full-sized poison frogs are among the most popular ambassador animals, teaching students about food-chains in tropical rainforests. Malaysian digging frogs came to the Garden as rescues after being confiscated from smugglers at the airport. They demonstrate feet adapted for digging and the importance of not supporting poachers. Finally, a leucistic axolotl is the only fully aquatic ambassador animal. It doesn’t leave the classroom but is beloved by all campers who learn about their amazing healing abilities and other adaptations.