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Toad Action Group: Road Call Count and Amphibian Workshop

 [ kids crowd to see ] From 28 March through 3 April, 1999, Toad Action Group-Hungary held its 10th Annual Road Call Count and Amphibian Workshop in Hont, Hungary. Each spring, this sleepy village of 700 plays host to the Toad Action Group and its "froggers" and school-groups from eastern and western Europe. The goal is to collect and monitor amphibians as they migrate across the heavily traveled border-crossing to Slovakia.

Each spring, thousands of amphibians migrate from the hills where they overwinter to the ponds where they breed. Many die in Hont as they attempt to cross the busy road leading to the Slovak border. Groups from France and Sweden, 2 student groups from ru ral Hungary, and several CEU students joined the Toad Action Group in the evening collection and all-day measuring and weighing of almost two thousand amphibians by week's end. Group members report that a larger number of male bufobufos were missing thei r left eye or had deformities in their toes than had ever been reported in the past 10 years. The group stresses how important it is to monitor amphibians as an early warning sign of environmental problems, as their porous skin makes them sensitive to wa ter pollution.

 [ hanging out  ] When not working with the frogs, participants present slide shows on their groups' work and conduct educational activities for the children who attend.

In The News:On 28 April 1999, The Toad Action Group was awarded the top prize of 1,000,000 HUF (approximately 4,500 USD) by the Henry Ford European Conservation Awards for its 1998 Year of the Salamander project. A US-branch of the Toad Acton Gro up was featured in the 1995 National Geographic, "The Last Frog," which documents the Road Call Counts and the importance of amphibian monitoring.

 [ using calipers to measure amphibians ]

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