A global educational campaign got a boost this week (27 January) when the ambassador of Costa Rica dropped in on Manchester Museum.
His Excellency J. Enrique Castillo officially launched 'Learning with Lucy', a University of Manchester campaign to save one of the world’s rarest frogs.
Lucy Marland, 9, joined forces with The University of Manchester after coming face to face with a Lemur Leaf Frog, kept at Manchester Museum and one of only a few hundred left anywhere in the world.
The campaign aims to educate primary age school children in the UK, Sweden, and in the Guayacan region of Costa Rica, where the frog still survives, about the amphibian and its threatened rainforest habitat.
The frog is one of the world’s most unusual: by day it has silver eyes and a lime green body, but by night, its appearance transforms into chocolate brown eyes and skin. It also never leaves the trees.
The Ambassador said: “My country is grateful for this contribution from the University of Manchester and the Museum to the protection of endangered species in Costa Rica and to the country's efforts in environment protection in general.
“I look forward to cementing the already very good relationship between The University of Manchester and Costa Rica.”
My country is grateful for this contribution from The University of Manchester and the Museum to the protection of endangered species in Costa Rica and to the country's efforts in environment protection in general.
Lucy said: "I am so excited to be part of this project because I love frogs and I am very worried about the Lemur Leaf Frog and its survival. I want everyone to know that with a little effort, we can make a difference for these frogs and other endangered animals."
Andrew Gray, curator of herpetology at Manchester Museum, oversees the amphibian collection in its vivarium and leads the Lemur Leaf Frog Conservation Project.
The scientist has worked closely with Sir David Attenborough on several BBC television series.
Backing the campaign, Sir David said: “I wholeheartedly support Manchester Museum's campaign, headed by Lucy Marland, to save the Lemur Leaf Frog. It is after all, one of the world's most unusual and rarest amphibians and it is in real trouble."
Mr Gray, also delivered a lecture on the Lemur Leaf Frog Project and the University’s work in Costa Rica at the event.
He said: “One major aim is to teach Guayacan children about protecting their own threatened natural resources and the biodiversity and natural history of their country: Costa Rica.
“It’s surprising how little they know; educational resources, a booklet and field trips will play a part in correcting that, as well as three films we have had made for the project.”
An education pack for primary school children and part-funded placements in Costa Rica for Biological Sciences undergraduates are also part of the mix.
Professor Amanda Bamford, Associate Dean for Social Responsibility said: “That this University of Manchester project also supports environmental education in primary schools in Costa Rica, where these frogs occur in the wild, not only reflects a genuine commitment to helping conserve endangered species but also provides us with a wonderful opportunity for our undergraduates to exercise their global citizenship.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Manchester Museum has the largest and most important collection of live Costa Rican frogs in the world outside Costa Rica. The Museum’s vivarium, where rare frogs are maintained and exhibited, is open to the public 7 days a week and admission is free. The vivarium is actively engaged in the international conservation of amphibians and the Lemur frog Project, conserving rare amphibians in captivity and supporting them in the wild through research, engagement and public engagement. The theme of the vivarium and related education project is ‘It all starts with you’
Images are available. Please use the use the credit: Copyright Andrew Gray/lemurfrog.org/Manchester Museum if using the David Attenborough image
Videos are available at www.ls.manchester.ac.uk/learningwithlucy