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Save The Frogs Day: April 30th, 2016

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RE-FROGGING AMERICA:
Building wetlands for wildlife

Wetlands Construction Workshops | Build A Frog Pond homepage | The value of wetlands & how wetlands reduce mosquito populations

Redwood City, CA: Clifford School
Ben Lomond, CA: SLV Charter School
Eldorado National Forest, CA
Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
Shingle Springs, CA
Ben Lomond, CA: Quail Hollow Ranch
San Francisco, CA: June Jordan School
Fairfax, CA: Manor School
San Juan Bautista, CA: San Juan School
Oakland, CA: Joaquin Miller Park

"I am so thrilled that you are Re-Frogging America, and the world!"
--Harmony Tenney, Charlottesville, VA

Introduction

Amphibian populations have been rapidly disappearing worldwide and nearly one-third of the world's amphibian species are on the verge of extinction. Habitat destruction is the number one cause of amphibian population declines worldwide and the majority of America's wetlands have been destroyed or modified. To remedy this problem, SAVE THE FROGS! is Re-Frogging America by constructing actual wetlands for frogs and other wildlife. Constructing wetlands is a fantastic method of educating students, teachers and community members about amphibians and ensuring that amphibians have a home in which to live and breed. In May 2014, SAVE THE FROGS! designed 15 wetlands around California. In October 2014 we broke ground with our first wetlands and we plan to expand our wetlands program to other states. Wetlands cost money to build, so please donate to SAVE THE FROGS! and help us Re-Frog America! We also invite you to attend our Wetlands Construction Workshops so we can teach you how to build wetlands!

“Wetlands can last hundreds or thousands of years. There are very few things we build in life that last that long.”
-- Wetland Construction Expert Tom Biebighauser

re-frogging america

Please help fund the construction of these wetlands!

donate frogsWe need YOUR help to make these wetlands a reality! Engineering firms charge $60,000 to build wetlands but we can build them for a tenth of that cost. This is a great ecological value but can only happen with your financial support! Our wetlands programs will also serve to train SAVE THE FROGS! volunteers in the art of wetlands construction, thus enabling us to expand our wetlands construction efforts and to incorporate this valuable habitat creation and education mechanism for many years to come. Please donate and ask your company to sponsor a wetland!

Kids wetland

Arizona pond

SAVE THE FROGS! Wetlands Construction Workshops

Please join us December 2nd and 3rd, 2015 for our next round of Wetlands Construction Workshops! We will train you in the art of wetlands construction and build a wetland suitable for native amphibians and other native wildlife. We welcome students, environmental educators, ecological consultants, wildlife managers and private landowners. Participants will learn all about amphibians and wetland construction, and will physically assist in the construction of the wetland. The workshops will be led by Tom Biebighauser, the world's premiere wetlands construction expert and SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger.

Wetlands Frogs

"Even where land is severely degraded, simple and cheap restoration methods can restore incredible biodiversity, replenish watersheds, attract migratory birds and shield the land from being ravaged by extreme weather. We may not recover everything, but the improvement is dramatic."
—Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary, U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification

Video about building wetlands

Please watch this video all about building wetlands for frogs!

 

 

Wetlands we have built

Eldorado National Forest, California

From October 4th-12th, 2014, SAVE THE FROGS! biologists along with members of the US Forest Service, US Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Trout Unlimited and the Center for Wetland & Stream Restoration built six wetlands for California Red-Legged Frogs in the Eldorado National Forest! Thanks to the Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy for assisting with funding.

Eldorado Forest wetlands frogs

Eldorado Forest wetlands

We built the 60' x 40' wetland shown above, as well as five others in the vicinity. When the rains come, they will fill with water and serve as habitat for an array of wildlife in an arid landscape. California Red Legged Frogs were once common in this area, but the gold miners nearly ate them to extinction in the late 1800's. The wetlands are designed to last and require no maintenance. The pond shown below is nearly three feet deep and will hold water for most of the year. We designed it to dry out each year so that it will not be colonized by fish or non-native American Bullfrogs, both of which require permanent water to survive. Wetlands can be built to retain surface water either by compacting clay soil or by using a plastic liner; they could also be dug to fill with groundwater if the water table is close enough to the surface. The pond shown below uses a wildlife-friendly plastic liner as there was no clay and no groundwater at the site. Unlike most liners sold in stores, our liners were not coated with fungicides or other harmful chemicals. Want to learn how to build wetlands and help us Re-Frog America? See www.savethefrogs.com/workshops

Eldorado frog ponds

Shingle Springs, CA

This site is on private land. In May 2014 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and wetlands construction expert Tom Biebighauser surveyed the site. In October 2014 we constructed a 72' x 36' wetland here, restoring a damaged wetland into habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities and outdoor enjoyment for local children. Learn more and see lots of photos here.

wetland construction

SLV Charter School in Ben Lomond, CA

The SLV Charter School is a public school in Ben Lomond, California in the sandhills of Santa Cruz County. In 1997 one of the teachers built a small pond beside the school but it permanently dried up. In May 2014 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and wetlands construction expert Tom Biebighauser surveyed the site with teacher Marcy Reynolds. In October 2014 we constructed an outdoor classroom, with an oval-shaped 16' x 20' wetland as its centerpiece. We incorporated the students into the construction of the wetlands, introducing many students to the wonders of nature and the value of wildlife. This wetland will create habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers.

 

Wetlands we have designed

San Francisco, CA: June Jordan School for Equity

The June Jordan School for Equity is a public school in the heart of San Francisco, adjacent to McLaren Park. Behind the school is an out of use asphalt tennis court area that is an eyesore and a heat sink for solar radiation. We have surveyed this site and with your help we will construct two wetlands at this school, turning an ugly abandoned lot into habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers. We would incorporate the students into the construction of the wetlands, which would be completed in two days, introducing hundreds of students to the wonders of nature and the value of wildlife. One wetland will be 40' diameter and the other will be 50' diameter. You can download our wetland design report for this site here. The cost to implement this project is $13,607. Please donate to SAVE THE FROGS! so we can make this wetland a reality, and please ask the company you work for to sponsor this project. Thank you!

 

The proposed wetlands location; the green building in the background is the school:June Jordan wetland construction

wetland june jordan School

Wetlands construction expert Tom Biebighauser with school principal Jessica Huang:Tom Biebighauser

With your help, this cracked asphalt will be wildlife habitat!Habitat restoration asphalt removal

Manor School in Fairfax, CA (Marin County)

The Manor School is a public school in Marin County. Behind the school is a woodland with a stream that has been modified. We have surveyed this site and with your help we will construct a beautiful 22' x 36' wetland at this school, creating habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers. We will incorporate the students into the construction of the wetlands, which would be completed in one day, introducing hundreds of students to the wonders of nature and the value of wildlife. You can download our wetland design report for this site here. The cost to implement this project is $5,410. Thank you to the Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy for financially assisting this project!

"The idea for a wetlands project is lovely, there is great passion and love and dedication to both children and the environment driving it, and it would be very meaningful for many people."
— Anne Capron, Ross Valley School District

Tom Biebighauser uses an auger to take a soil sample in the center of the proposed wetland:tom biebighauser

Manor School teacher Laura Honda takes a soil sample. She has been teaching environmental education since 1999. wetlands habitat

The wetland we have designed would fill this space. The pink flagging demarcates the perimeter:wetland construction

build pond

Tom Biebighauser enjoying the wildlife art in teacher Laura Honda's classroom at the Manor School:Laura Dax honda

frogs marin county

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger spoke to the 4th graders about frog conservation in May 2014. The students have been spreading the word about SAVE THE FROGS! and they even fundraised $100 for the frogs! Let's build these kids a wetland!

"They totally understand everything about the importance of wetlands and they LOVE frogs!!!"
-- Manor School Teacher Laura Honda

The 4th graders at Manor School have been writing letters to California's politicians asking them to ban the importation of American Bullfrogs.

We knew that Manor School would be a perfect place to build a wetland when we saw this scooter parked out front of the school with a SAVE THE FROGS! sticker.

save frogs sticker

"Dear Laura, I was really excited to hear about the mini-wetland project at Manor Elementary School. When my children were young we had a similar sized pond in the park behind our home. Going to the pond was one of children's favorite activities. They not only learned about the life cycles of frogs and toads, but also learned about the various types of water insects, and snakes. I am sure that the mini-wetland will provide a rich educational resource for the students of Manor School. As the Town's representatibe regarding work in, and around creeks and streams, I can see no reason why this project should not proceed as presented. I'm sure it will be beneficial to the surrounding natural habitat after it is completed, and into the future. If you require additional information please feel free to contact me. Good luck with this exciting project!
Sincerely, Mark Lockaby
Public Works Manager of Fairfax, CA"

"Fourth grade teacher Mrs. Laura Honda has provided environmental education to the students at Manor School and the community for many years. This project exemplifies her dedication to sustaining environmental education at Manor School for years to come. Mrs. Honda has prepared curriculum to share with all students in all grades. Her enthusiasm and commitment is exemplary and empowering. It provides children and adults with an avenue to nurture the natural environment in a positive way. Hands-on science education is imperative for our children, and this project provides a perfect focal point to foster community building within our school."
— Stephanie Lapine, P.E., Water Resources Engineer and Manor parent

"This will help lead the way for many more schools to have wetlands and help save the frogs."
-- Manor School Environmental Education Teacher Laura Honda

Clifford School in Redwood City, CA

The Clifford School is a public school in Redwood City, CA, surrounded by suburbs. Behind the school is a large grassy area that was once a wetland. We have surveyed this site and with your help we will turn a drainage ditch at the edge of this field into a series of five small wetlands. We will also create a a beautiful 26' x 30' wetland on the hill above the school. These six wetlands will create habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers. We will incorporate the students into the construction of the wetlands, which would be completed in two days, introducing hundreds of students to the wonders of nature and the value of wildlife. You can download our wetland design report for the five small wetlands here and for the large wetland here.

"Hello! I just wanted to thank you all for letting me help build the wetlands and for teaching me lots of cool and useful things! Definitely the highlight of my birthday! I hope to build wetlands with you guys soon!
Thanks again, Amanda Cooper"

The cost to implement this project is $10,445. Please donate to SAVE THE FROGS! so we can make this wetland a reality, and please ask the company you work for to sponsor this project. Thank you!

Please watch this video about the project:

 

The Clifford School's field was once a wetland. In the foreground is the drainage ditch that occasionally fills with water and serves as habitat for Pacific Chorus Frogs. We will construct 5 small wetlands here of various depths so that the drainage ditch holds water for longer and provides a variety of habitats for frogs and other wildlife. The students recently built the frog pond observation deck you see here:Redwood city wetland school

Frog pond

Tom Biebighauser examines the site with teacher Gwen Minor:schoolyard habitat

Gwen Minor

Wetland schools

tom biebighauser wetland

Tom and Gwen stand inside what will one day be a wetland atop the hill behind the school. The pink flags demarcate the perimeter:redwood city wetland

On May 27th, 2011 SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger spoke to hundreds of Clifford Elementary School students about frog conservation. Let's build these kids a wetland!

Clifford Elementary School

Thank you to Pavan Raj Gowda and Green Kids Now for contributing $4,400 to the Clifford Elementary School wetland restoration project!

Green Kids Now"On behalf of everyone from Green Kids Now who have helped for the past one year to raise funds for this wetlands restoration project, I would like to thank Clifford school for this great opportunity to restore the land near their school. Also, it is great to partner with Save The Frogs on this noble cause of restoring natural habitat. Let's continue to be part of the solution. Together everything is possible! Let's Save Our Planet!"
— Pavan Raj Gowda

San Juan School in San Juan Bautista, CA

The San Juan School is a public school in San Juan Bautista, California. The school is surrounded by agricultural areas, housing developments and fields that were once wetlands and wildlife habitat. The watershed in which the school sits has been called one of the most threatened in the USA. Many of the schools' students come from farmworker families. Immediately behind the classrooms is a grassy area. We have surveyed this site and with your help we will turn it into an outdoor classroom, with an oval-shaped 24' x34' wetland as its centerpiece. We will also create a a beautiful 50' diameter wetland in the sports field further behind the school. This larger wetland will be accessible by many students from other schools, whose buses park near the site during their field trips to visit the town's historical offerings. These two wetlands will create habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers. We will incorporate the students into the construction of the wetlands, which would be completed in two days, introducing hundreds of students to the wonders of nature and the value of wildlife.

You can download our wetland design reports for the proposed wetland immediately behind the school and for the large wetland in the sports field. The cost to implement this project is $14,463. Please donate to SAVE THE FROGS! so we can make this wetland a reality, and please ask the company you work for to sponsor this project. Thank you!

Parents, teachers and school board members were on hand to assist with the site design:san juan school pond

The students were excited to have us designing a wetland immediately outside their classroom:san jaun bautista wetland
"I presented the campus wetland study area proposal to our staff last Wednesday, and the response was very favorable. The middle school teachers are particularly enthusiastic about the site inside the school perimeter fence near our classrooms. I am very excited!"
-- Teacher Katy Stonebloom

The site designers stand in the middle of what with your help will one day be a large wetland for frogs and other wildlife:san juan school wetland

Joaquin Miller Park in Oakland, CA

The Friends of Sausal Creek manage a native plant nursery at this site in Oakland's Joaquin Miller Park. The site sites on a mountainside above the city. The area has been excavated in the past and the soil is now so compacted trees cannot grow here. We have surveyed this site and with your help we create two beautiful oval-shaped wetlands, measuring 26' x 30' and 28' x 34'. These wetlands will create habitat for frogs and other wildlife, and educational opportunities for students and teachers who visit on their field trips. We will incorporate many volunteers into the construction of the wetlands, which will be completed in two days. You can download our wetland design reports for Wetland 1 here and Wetland 2 here. The cost to implement this project is $10,598. Please donate to SAVE THE FROGS! so we can make these wetland a reality, and please ask the company you work for to sponsor this project. Thank you!

Please watch this video about the project:

 

The design group stands inside one proposed wetland, demarcated by pink flagging:oakland ponds

Oakland wetlands

The design group stands inside another proposed wetland, demarcated by pink flagging. The City of Oakland, the San Francisco Bay and the City of San Francisco are in the background at the base of the mountain.oakland wetlands

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger, Tom Biebighauser and the Friends of Sausal Creek standing in what will one day be a beautiful wetland:Joaquin Miller Park wetland

 

About the Project Leaders

Tom Biebighauser

Tom Biebighauser began restoring wetlands in 1982 in Minnesota and has since established over 1,700 wetlands in 20 states and two Canadian provinces. Tom has written three books on wetlands construction, has successfully written hundreds of funding proposals, and has completed numerous partnership projects for restoring emergent, ephemeral, forested, and wet-meadow wetlands on public and private lands. He carries a deep and long-standing concern for environmental issues and enjoys assisting like-minded land managers who are initiating wetland and stream restoration programs. You can read Tom's CV here and see a list of schools for which he has built wetlands here.

"I can think of no one individual that has done more for wetland restoration and conservation in the U.S. and Canada over the last three decades."
-- Daniel Taylor, Director of Habitat Conservation and Public Lands, Bat Conservation International

Wetlands Design Expert Tom Biebighauser:Tom Biebighauser

Tom Biebighauser

"I see that you collaborate with Tom Biebighauser in California. He has been very influential to the folks I collaborate with here in the northeast, and I had the privilege to work with him when he conducted a wetlands restoration training workshop in NY in 2012. The two wetlands he constructed as part of this workshop have turned out to be very successful from an amphibian perspective, and are also very aesthetically pleasing!
-- James Arrigoni, PhD Candidate in Conservation Biology, Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, NY

Dr. Kerry Kriger

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger has given over 300 presentations on amphibian conservation and specialize in educating and motivating people around the world to care about and protect amphibians. Under Tom Biebighauser's guidance, Dr. Kriger has designed 15 wetlands, including the wetlands described on this webpage.

SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and Tom Biebighauser:Tom Biebighauser Kerry Kriger

More photos of wetlands Tom Biebighauser has built

Modified Wetland

Logan Lake

ephemeral wetland

Kentucky wetland'

Queens wetland

Stream wetland

Wetlands Construction

Wetland school

Bulldozer

groundbreaking wetland

Marbled Salamander

Danny Peake

 

The value of wetlands and how wetlands reduce mosquito populations

By Wetlands Construction Expert Tom Biebighauser

Wetlands provide great opportunities for outdoor learning. Students can be taught science and mathematics by experiencing lessons firsthand. Wetlands may be constructed at your school to provide habitat for wildlife and plants, and to increase opportunities for outdoor recreation and education. Wetlands are rare habitats, and there are few places in the United States where these fascinating ecosystems can be examined. Completing a wetland project can help clean run-off from buildings, parking lots, and fields. Wetlands will increase opportunities for wildlife viewing, improve water quality, reduce flooding, and add to the beauty of a community. Many wetlands have been changed and destroyed for agriculture, road construction, and for urban development. These historic modifications continue to cause erosion and impair water quality today. The restored wetlands would appear natural, and require little, if any maintenance. The restored wetland can be expected to lower mosquito numbers in your community. The dragonfly larvae, damselfly larvae, salamander larvae, and invertebrates that thrive in the wetland can be expected to control mosquitoes. Swallows, bats, and dragonflies will consume adult mosquitos. The wetland should become a population "sink" for mosquitoes.

"Human beings cannot thrive in a place where the natural environment has been degraded." -- Wangari Maathai, Kenya

Wetlands assist amphibians in a drying world

"Restoring wetlands will create a larger and more efficient storehouse for atmospheric carbon, and will provide the co-benefits of protecting and improving water quality through filtration and pollution reduction; enhanced water storage through the replenishment of groundwater aquifers; and enhanced biodiversity by providing essential habitat for many species of fish and wildlife, some of which are endangered or threatened. Wetlands have among the most efficient sequestration rates per unit of all habitat types allowing for both effective and extensive carbon sequestration. Healthy wetlands provide important and irreplaceable benefits to the human population and fish and wildlife, and can serve as high-value carbon sinks. However, as a result of land conversions and land use changes, only about 10 percent of the wetlands that existed in California 200 years ago remain today. Increasing the quality and quantity of key wetlands in California will provide measurable benefits consistent with the most recent climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies and wildlife and fisheries management and recovery plans."
-- California Department of Fish & Wildlife

"California's vernal pools are key to the survival of native plants and animals found nowhere else on the planet. In a time of drought and climate change, it is more important than ever to protect these endangered habitats from irreversible destruction."
-- Jared Blumenfeld, EPA's Regional Administrator for the Pacific Southwest

Also from the EPA: "Vernal pools occur in shallow swales and depressions with an underlying layer of impermeable subsoil, which fill with water during the rainy season. They look barren during the summer and fall, but after winter rain they are home to endangered tadpole and fairy shrimp that are critical food sources for native and migratory birds. In the spring the vernal pools bloom with uniquely adapted wetland plants creating rings of wildflowers at the pools' edges as the water recedes. Vernal pools and other wetlands help maintain water quality by removing pollutants that may enter the pools from agricultural and urban sources. California is one of the few places in the world where vernal pool ecosystems are found. Once common in the Central Valley, less than 10 percent of California's original vernal pools persist today, as a result of agricultural and urban development."

More info on the wetlands we build

We build naturally appearing and functioning ephemeral wetlands to provide habitat for wildlife, educational opportunities for students and improved aesthetics for outdoors enthusiasts. Our group of dedicated individuals will use the successful techniques that Tom Biebighauser has developed from 32-years of experience restoring over 1,700 wetlands in 21 states and two Canadian provinces. Tom has documented these techniques in the three books he has written about wetland restoration across North America. He teaches these techniques at four universities to engineering, landscape architecture, hydrology, and biology undergraduate and graduate students. Tom has taught thousands of people around the world how to restore wetlands. Please visit Tom's website www.wetlandrestorationandtraining.com for detailed information about wetland projects, and to see photos of the hundreds of wetlands we have built at schools across North America. These wetlands reduce mosquito populations in a community because of the dragonfly larvae, salamander larvae, water boatman, water striders, and aquatic beetles that will live in them. We have found that these wetlands will actually control mosquitoes at schools. These wetlands also support a wide diversity of native plants. The wetland would be built to require no maintenance. The books Tom has written contain chapters describing the many benefits of having ephemeral wetlands at schools.

Regarding fences and safety of wetlands

We are sometimes asked if it is necessary to build a fence aroun d a wetland at a school. Here is what Tom Biebighauser says:

"I have found it rare that a school builds a fence around the wetland at their school. The wetland is built very shallow, and has gradual slopes, presenting no safety risk. The few schools that have fenced their wetlands do not use the site for studies. Generally, it's because no one can ever find a key to the lock on the gate. If required to build a fence, you may want to consider a passive, low fence, that is a cue to care. This would be one that always has a open gate. The fence should be placed at least 20-feet or more away from the wetland so students can use the wetland. You can see photos of school wetlands I have built here."

How Safe Is A Plastic Liner?

We purchase our liners from a reputable company that certifies their liners free of fungicides and pesticides. These liners have been used in hundreds of wetlands with no known negative effects. We require the liner to last a long time since we want to wetlands to hold water for a very long time. We do not want liners that biodegrade and these liners could potentially last hundreds of years, making them a great tool in wetland management. The liner is buried under six inches of soil and protected by two layers of geotextile fabric. The liner and geotextile should remain completely out of sight.

Schoolyard Wetlands Article

The Anderson County Schools Wetland Partners (Anderson County, TN) produced this excellent publication called "Schoolyard Wetlands" (2009). It answers such questions as:

- What is a schoolyard wetland?
- Do wetlands increase mosquitoes?
- What factors are considered when selecting a site for a schoolyard wetland?
- What safety issues are associated with having a schoolyard wetland?
- How do students benefit academically from a schoolyard wetland project?

It also states: "A priority of a wetlands project should be to bring together community groups and organizations that model a positive example of accomplishments through team work."

Thank You to these amazing donors!

Thanks to these donors for helping to make these wetlands a reality!

-- LUSH Fresh Handmade Cosmetics
-- Cabrillo Host Lions Club of Aptos
-- Nature's Path Envirokidz Cereal
-- FrogTape
-- Amphibian & Reptile Conservancy
-- The Norcross Wildlife Foundation, Inc.
-- The students of SLV Charter School
-- Paul Valliere
-- Denise John
-- June Alexander
-- Susan Meyer
-- Judy Banker Mehrling
-- Barbara Bockman
-- Rhonda Schlosser
-- Nadine Diezmann
-- Karen Haralson
-- Ruth Van Sciver
-- Lawrence Thompson
-- Neal King
-- Lynda Marin
-- Chris McCrea
-- Helen N Engledow
-- Mary Ann McFarland
-- Loretta Walter
-- Miranda Rose
-- Heather Reppen

Please add this image to your website to help spread the word!

Wetlands For Wildlife

"Hi Kerry, This page is amazing! You have done a fantastic job. It's attractive, interesting, and accurate."
-- Wetlands Construction Expert Tom Biebighauser

"Hi Kerry & Tom, with all the tragic news that bombards us daily the happiness that comes from seeing that you two are working together on wetlands development touched us deeply watching. Incredible, historical, monuments, influential, inspiring! Thank you."
-- Paul, North Shore Wetlands Partners, British Columbia, Canada

"I agree with your strategy of teaching children about nature and
creating amphibian habitats in their back yards. My interest in nature was a direct result of a rural childhood."
-- F. Michael Creusere

Kerry Kriger

Re-Frogging America