In May 2017, Stephanie Steelman won a free SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour through our once in a lifetime Ecotour Sweepstakes. She joined the 2017 SAVE THE FROGS! Ecuador Ecotour, and here is what she had to say about the trip...
Thanks for checking in to see how the trip went. Winning the SAVE THE FROGS! Ecotour was a life changing experience for me. It's one of the most magical things that I've ever experienced and I'm so grateful that, through a sheer stroke of luck, I won and got to know the people I did and see the amazing things I got to see in Ecuador.
Michael and Chelsea were organized, had a great deal of biological and logistical knowledge in navigating the country, and are wonderfully smart and funny people to be around. They have a grace and organizational capacity beyond their years (I can't believe Chelsea is only 25 oh man.) I also liked how they connected the group with local guides who had a great deal of indigenous and biological knowledge specific to each region we traveled to.
It's hard to put into words how much this trip and the wildlife we encountered on it meant to me. My life feels extraordinary for even having seen the things I saw in the jungle and in the cloud forests. I would undulate between awe and gratitude and excitement at the frogs and insects we'd encounter each night, great sadness at their current threatened status, and ultimately hope for their situation when hearing about the work SAVE THE FROGS! does to help these important bioindicators.
I'm going to carry that light here with me as I return to work with children and their families in LA and as well as in my leisure time here walking by the LA river and in the Santa Monica Mountains. I'm planning on giving a frog talk and slide show to my friends in August and also hopefully at the school I work at when I return in the fall.
Another part of the trip that impressed me was how well curated it was. The places we visited and stayed, the guides we had, all focused on values of "responsible tourism" and helping local people who in turn cared for the environment. I could see the organizational values of Save The Frogs manifested in the activities of the tour. Words and actions aligned and I felt good about going the places we went beyond being entertained by them.
I can't wait to go on another Save The Frogs trip (and pay this time because it was absolutely worth it.) The relationships I build with frog lovers from all over from different walks of life is something I'll never forget.
I am most fulfilled by vacations with physical challenges and where I learn things and this hit both of those points for me. Lots of food for mind and body (and also Vegan friendly!). I felt like I was in Planet Earth Part 3.
I can't say enough good things and, at the risk of being effusive and annoyingly positive, I loved every single thing we did on this trip. Keep saving frogs, and thank you and Michael and Chelsea for sharing your green froggy light with me. What an inspiring trip with just the best people. I'm a true convert.
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Dr. Kerry Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!, a nonprofit organization that has held over 2,000 educational events in 57 countries to raise awareness of the world’s rapidly disappearing amphibian populations. He is also a musician who has been studying, teaching, recording and performing the classical music of northern India on bamboo flute since 1996. Dr. Kriger holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science and has traveled to over 65 countries. His nonprofit efforts in western Africa led him to being inducted as Chief of Environment and Development in the remote village of Yawkrom, in the Western Region of Ghana.
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