Several years ago I was walking in Providence’s North Burial Ground and looked into the water of a small rainwater runoff drainage swale. To my amazement the little pond was filled with thousands of tadpoles. Over the next few weeks I came back frequently to observe. Eventually I figured out the tadpoles were Fowler’s Toad tadpoles and there were also GrayTree Frog Tadpoles in the pond. Once they turned to toadlets and froglets and had hopped away I began to think it would be a great place to do a video project, and it might work for kids. I talked to a variety of youth programs in my community but because the Burial Ground, while in the city, is not very close to anything, and because the breeding season runs from late in the school year right into the summer, I could not find a partner. So despite not having ever owned a camera or shot any video, I decided to do it myself.
With a tiny bit of suport for the Rhode Island Rivers Council I bought a camera and the next spring I started taking video of the tadpoles in the pond. The more I did it, the more I wanted to take videos., Over the last 2 years I have filmed for hundreds of hours and have edited and posted more than 100 videos on the Moshassuckcritters Youtube channel while I learned something about making videos. I have also learned a bit about amphibians.
Amphibians are the most endangered group of animals on earth due to climate change, over development, diseases and chemicals, so as I studied I began to think of how I could use the project to advance the cause of amphibian conservation. Most of my videos show actual behavior, eating, swimming, social interactions, but to have some fun I made a dance video, The Tadpole Shake, and you can now watch tadpoles dance to some music my nephew put together. As I made the Tadpole Shake I realized that the footage I have could be turned into a story that might advance the conservation of amphibians.
Thus “Teddie the Tadpole’s Great Adventure” began to emerge. Using all live footage from the pond, including the Giant who catches them and sticks a big eye right up close to them, then lets them go, a children’s video with tadpole evolution and development being taught in tadpole school as well as adventures with the other animals in the pond, will be crafted into a short story that would get the message of amphibian conservation out to audiences who might not be exposed to it otherwise. I have a first draft of a script, but intend to refine it this winter so that I have a clear picture of what kind of footage I need to collect next spring and summer. I will continue to post science oriented videos during the season but my the end of July I intend to have enough footage to put together an entire story. ETA is December 2015.
if you are coming to this explanation through the Indiegogo site, You already know I need your help to pull this off. If you did not come through the indie gogo site, commenting on this blog post will enable you to contact me to find out more about the project. Can you help support this project. It will take better equipment , resources for actors and musicians, and support for the hundreds of hours it will take to put it together right. Once done the intent is to take it on the road, electronically and in person, to raise awareness about the plight of amphibians and to spur action in the community. Will you help this effort to support global efforts on amphibian conservation? Thanks.
I know lots of folks will volunteer their time, and I know how to do things on a shoestring, but you can play a part for the global efforts to conserve amphibians too by making a contribution to Friends of the Moshassuck” Teddie the Tadpole project through this site. Anyone donating at least $25 will be welcome to join me on a tadpole tour. For at least $100 you are welcome to be one of the voices in the movie or designate someone to be a voice. For $1000 I will come to your neighborhood do a showing, and discuss the project and amphibian behavikor and conservation. Thank you for your support.