MC holds STF2, pioneers in saving the frogs
by: Juman Kevin Tindo
As part of the 5th annual celebration for the international “Save the Frogs” day, The Mountain Collegian (MC), the official student publication of Benguet State University (BSU), held the second “Save the Frogs: Literary and Arts Workshop (STF2)” on April 27 at BSU’s Strawberry Hall and at the College of Forestry.
With 50 elementary and high school students from Benguet and Baguio City, STF2 featured a line of activities for the participants. This included a lecture on frogs and its importance to the ecosystem; a conduct of a poetry and drawing workshops; and a visit to a pine ecosystem where a frog habitat was explored.
In an audio recorded message of Dr. Kerry Kriger, founder and executive director of the “Save the Frogs” movement, for the Philippines, he thanked everyone in Benguet State University in getting involved in the “Save the Frogs,” where 150 events in 27 countries worldwide joined the endeavor.
Frogs: Getting to Know Them
Dr. Erlinda C. Bestre, a faculty from the Department of Biology from the College of Arts and Sciences, lectured on the ecological importance of frogs and other amphibians. She emphasized that frogs and other amphibians play an important ecological role.
“Frogs play an important role in the food chain since they feed on insect pests and serve as food for snakes and other predators. Frogs are also good ecological indicators of a healthy environment due to their high degree of sensitivity, either during tadpole stage or as adults,” stressed Dr. Bestre.
She also said that frogs respond to very slight changes in the environment indicated by habitat fragmentation, ecosystem stress, impact of pesticides, and various anthropogenic activities. This was seconded by Dr. Kriger who said that when amphibians disappear a lot of wildlife will have problems as well.
Exploring the Frog Pond
After the lecture, the participants visited a frog pond at the College of Forestry. The participants were able to put finishing touches, like putting stones, ferns, mosses to the pond whom MCians worked for purposely for the activity and for other upcoming endeavors.
Also, the participants released tadpoles and frogs to the pond.
“I learned that frogs and toads love rainwater and live in a very simple habitat and they are happy with it,” commented Aira Joy G. Bello, an elementary student in La Trinidad.
Saving the Frogs through Arts
“MC has always believed in the power of the pen, in transcending boundaries through literary expression. This is why one of the activities for STF2 is a lecture and workshop on drawing and poetry writing,” said Rhe-Ann B. Ngayaan, MC’s Associate Editor.
Giselle I. Ocyaden, MC Senior Cartoonist, lectured on drawing and Bobby Moreno, a BSE-Biology graduate of BSU, shared his knowledge on poetry writing.
“It would be good to bring up awareness on the importance of frogs while these participants are young. It is also important for them to be able to translate their learnings through arts and poetry,” said Dr. Grace T. Bengwayan, MC’s adviser.
According Ngayaan, the chosen drawings and poems by the participants will be published in the MC paper and in Kalaleng, MC’s literary folio.
STF1 and pro-earth amphibians recalled
Last year on April 28, MC conducted the very first “Save the Frogs: Literary and Arts Workshop 1,” which was inspired by Dr. Kriger’s “Save the Frogs” movement.
“MC recognizes the environmental contributions of frogs and all other amphibians, as they are considered important in the ecosystem. Moreover, MC takes pride in saying that in the Philippines, MC has pioneered activities along this cause as documented in the savethefrogs.com.,” said Ngayaan.
As also recalled, frogs are tagged by MC as “pro-earth amphibians.” According to an article published by MC (April-August 2011) tadpoles keep waterways clean by feeding on algae, adult frogs eat large quantities of insects which can transmit fatal illness to humans. Further, most frogs have permeable skin that can easily absorb toxic chemicals in water.
Save the Env’t, the Frogs, and Yourself
“In order for the remaining population of frogs to survive, people must save, maintain, and enhance their natural habitat; people must be informed and educated; people must abate climate change through planting more trees and non-burning of both biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes,” exclaimed Dr. Bestre.
Unfortunately, a number of frog species around the globe are already on the brink of extinction, as US scientists have reported. As of now, there are approximately 150 numbers of frog species in the Philippines according to savethefrogs.com.
“Helping ensure the survival of frogs and sharing its importance to others is a good cause. God has perfectly made the land in cosmos and all His creations must live together in harmony,” said Ngayaan.
Funds for the activity were donated by the following: Engr. Jordan Abad, Mrs. Rose Abalos, Agricultural Training Institute- DA, Dr. Michael Bengwayan Sr., Dr. Ilene Basitan, BSU- Multipurpose Cooperative, Cooperative Bank of Benguet, Dr. Lita Colting, Carlotta “Kara” Cosalan, Dr. Basito Cotiw-an, Sen. Loren Legarda, Mr. Romeo Ong, Dr. Hilda Quindara, Rising Sun Commercial, Dr. Luciana Villanueva, and former Congresswoman Cynthia A. Villar.