Chairman of the SAVE THE FROGS! Advisory Committee Sacramento, California, USA
Michael Starkey serves as Chairman of the SAVE THE FROGS! Advisory Committee. In this position, he rallies together scientists, volunteers, and others in order to help broaden SAVE THE FROGS’ mission of conservation. Mr. Starkey regularly gives lectures on amphibian conservation at universities, schools, and to public interest groups. Mr. Starkey has worked as an ecological consultant for environmental consulting firms and government agencies such as the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish & Game. He has worked with a wide diversity of California wildlife, including California Tiger Salamanders, San Francisco Garter Snakes, Giant Garter Snakes, bats, and ringtails. He has also worked at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama, studying larval development and parental behavior of the neo-tropical frog, Leptodactylus insularum. After witnessing the result of widespread extinction of amphibians in the Panamanian rainforest, Mr. Starkey became dedicated to conserving amphibian species around the world. Mr. Starkey began working with SAVE THE FROGS! in 2010 to inform the public about the threats facing amphibians and to to help nurture a society that respects and cherishes all forms of wildlife. He has given presentations on frog conservation in the USA, Canada and Belize.
I am raising funds to do amphibian work in West Africa in April 2013 and would love your support! I will be working directly with SAVE THE FROGS! Ghana Executive Director Gilbert Adum, spreading the word about amphibian declines and educating Ghana's people about frogs and their importance to our environment. I will be working to protect the critically endangered Togo Slippery Frog, which survives on only two streams on the planet -- both of which are under threat of mountaintop removal mining. With your support I can provide much needed assistance on our campaign to protect this frog through the creation of the Atewa Hills National Park.
Please help fund my SAVE THE FROGS Ghana expedition!
After you donate, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we know to ydirect your donation to my expedition fund and so we can thank you on this page!
SAVE THE FROGS! Advisory Committee Chairman and Ecologist Michael Starkey is available to give live presentations to your school or organization, in-person or via Skype. Mr. Starkey explains why frogs are under threat and informs the audience about how we as a society can help out amphibians around the globe. The presentation features many of Mr. Starkey's photos of amphibians from around the world, and there will be a question and answer session following the presentation. These PowerPoint presentations usually run between 30-45 minutes. At our talks we like to have a table set up where before and after the presentation, we can offer the audience relevant educational materials, collect petition signatures for our campaigns, and sell eco-friendly merchandise to help fund our efforts.
To cover time and travel expenses we request an honorarium as follows:
Sacramento area: $100
San Francisco area: $150
Online Skype presentation to anywhere on the planet: $50
Some of my efforts in 2012:
-- I gave 52 presentations on amphibian conservation at universities, schools, and community groups, to a total of 3,847 attendees. As part of the San Francisco Tadpole Headstart Project, I spoke to 1,700 elementary school students about amphibian ecology and the threats facing amphibians around the world.
-- At the invitation of the National Park Service, I spoke about amphibian ecology and conservation at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.
-- I traveled to Belize to spread SAVE THE FROGS! message of amphibian conservation by meeting with academics, biologists, and other conservation organizations to publicize and strategize about how to improve amphibian conservation in Belize.
-- I personally collected over 500 signatures to ban the importation of invasive American Bullfrogs, which are displacing native species of amphibians in California and along the West Coast of the United States. I helped get the American Bullfrog banned in the city of Santa Cruz by testifying about their status as an invasive species in California.
-- I raised $8,682 for SAVE THE FROGS! at informational tables and lectures I gave.
Some of my efforts in 2011:
-- I gave 23 presentations on amphibian conservation at California universities, schools, and community groups, to a total of 1,168 attendees. As part of the San Francisco Tadpole Headstart Project, I spoke to 755 elementary school students about amphibian ecology and the threats facing amphibians around the world.
-- I helped restore habitat for the threatened California Red-legged Frog at Antonelli Pond.
-- I personally collected over 600 signatures to ban the harmful pesticide Atrazine, which is used heavily in the United States and has been found to change male frogs into females.
-- I raised $3,200 for SAVE THE FROGS! at informational tables and lectures I gave.
In October 2011 I was fortunate to meet primatologist Dr. Jane Goodall at the Wildlife Conservation Network Expo in San Francisco. The conference aims to bring more awareness to conservation efforts around the world and I was running a SAVE THE FROGS! informational table. Dr. Goodall was the keynote speaker.
There were many talks about larger, more charismatic species (e.g. Ethiopian wolves, marine mammals, apes) but Save The Frogs! was able bring awareness to the conference attendees about the many threats facing amphibian populations and how amphibians, just like wolves, whales, and pandas, need more conservation efforts around the world. It was an incredible experience to be among such great conservationists from around the world and we were able to meet so many other inspirational and interesting individuals.
During the conference, I had a young boy (perhaps 5 or 6) come up to my table with his mother and sister. He explained to me how much he loved his pet frog and wanted all the frogs to be saved. He then left, but soon returned to my table because he wanted to give me a photo of his pet frog. He wanted me to have it so that I would remember him, and his frog. I reassured him that I would and that I would hold his photo close to my heart. He even wanted to take a photo with me (and of course, a photo was taken). Later in the day, I had the amazing opportunity to meet Dr. Jane Goodall. I told her about this experience with the boy and asked her to sign the back of that photo. You see, as I get older and continue my work as an ecologist, activist, conservationist, whatever you want to call what I am… I have noticed that people have started to look up TO ME… Simply, I want to remain humble, and let them know how when I was young… I looked up to her. Teary-eyed, I thanked her for everything.
Image courtesy Tyler Shaw of Sharpmind Photography.
My first introduction to Central America was in 2008 when I traveled to Belize. I fell in love with the diversity of flora and fauna in the tropical rainforest. I quickly understood how such an ecosystem was so fragile and how it needs to be protected. As my career in amphibian conservation grew, so did my concern about the amphibians of Belize. Not much is known about the amphibians of Belize, and I wondered if the same drastic declines were happening in Belize as they were happening in other parts of the world. In 2012, I set out to answer these questions and discover what was the status of amphibian conservation in Belize. I gave presentations throughout the country in order to grow Belize's network of students, academics and biologists interested in amphibian conservation efforts. Currently SAVE THE FROGS! is working with Belizean nonprofits to bring awareness to the threats that amphibians in Belize. We are also conducting research in order to study the prevalence of the chytrid fungus and orographic agrochemical drift in remote wilderness areas of the Maya Mountains.
This is a Foam Frog (Leptodactylus fragilis) I found on my January 2012 expedition to Belize.
With Cody Howard, photo by Casey Capachi
"Thank you for the presentation. I think the girls really enjoyed it. Your slide show was great, and you are off the charts with enthusiasm. Also, I loved your section on contests and what they can do to get involved."
-Anya Manes, teacher at Immaculate Conception Academy, San Francisco, CA
"Thank you for taking your time out to visit our class today. The kids were super excited even before your presentation and even more excited afterward. You should have been here with us after lunch; they can't stop talking about frogs. You were enthusiastic and passionate about the topic and it shows. And thank you for being so patient with the kids, answering all their questions and acknowledging all their comments."
- Jacueline Le, teacher at Cleveland Elementary, San Francisco, CA
"Hi Mr. Starkey, Thank you so much for presenting at our school! Your presentation was very accessible to all of our students, and information was supported with excellent visuals. Our students can be challenging to engage, but you held their attention the whole time!"
-Rebecca Fall, 7th Grade teacher at Visitacion Valley Middle School, San Francisco, CA
"…can't tell you how many kids are talking about the FROGS!!! I wish I could have attended, but heard great things…..thank you again for this opportunity."
-Mary Beth Kropp, Principal/PAIS, Foulks Ranch Elementary School, Sacramento, CA
"I thought his presentation to all grade levels was very appropriate and educational, his speaking style was engaging, and the PowerPoint presentation was also very appropriate. I truly think he did a fabulous job with each group."
-Mark H. Beard, Vice Principal/PAIS, Foulks Ranch Elementary School, Sacramento, CA
"Michael…thank you. Your passion about frogs and what you are trying to do is infectious and so refreshing. It's also great for kids to see that scientists are humans with curiosity, not only someone in a lab wearing a white cost. Thanks again for a thoughtful and informative presentation."
-Mira Sinick, Lawton School, 3rd grade, San Francisco, CA
"A big thank you to Michael Starkey of the Save The Frogs initiative, for a fantastic presentation to the TBZ staff! With 200 amphibians gone extinct since 1979, and over 2000 more threatened to disappear this century, there is a great need to help save those long legged leapers. From being excellent pest control, to vital food sources for many carnivores (including humans!), frogs are definitely worth saving."
- The Belize Zoo, January 18th, 2012
"Thanks so much for coming out to speak to us, and for putting on such an enthusiastic performance. Your dedication shows, and your imagery was fantastic!"
-Roger Repp, Rattlesnake Biologist, Tucson Herpetological Society