Fish and Frogs Forever Youth Education

Fish and Frogs Forever is an educational program designed to provide information about the impacts of water pollution on local aquatic ecosystems.

In the City of Kingston, storm drain runoff enters local water bodies including Lake Ontario without filtration and treatment, ending up directly in the ecosystem. As most of Kingston’s drinking water comes from Lake Ontario, these pollutants can affect us as well.

This program, run jointly by the Society for Conservation Biology, Kingston Chapter (SCB) and the City of Kingston, brings a half-day educational program to school and youth groups within Kingston. Children will paint “yellow fish” and “green frogs” beside storm drains within their local community, and distribute fish- and frog-shaped door hangers to nearby homes.This will provide a lasting reminder about local aquatic ecosystems and the importance pollutants play in them.

Four additional educational activities about water pollution and frogs are also available and can also be presented along with painting, or alone.

Who is this program for?
This program is designed for ages 8 and older, including school classes and youth groups. We will run the program for any group interested and are happy to tailor it to your curriculum.

We have also prepared educational activities that can be presented to complement painting or on their own.

Want to volunteer?
We are always looking for volunteers who are interested in youth education and excited about talking to the public!

Are volunteers range from Queen’s University students to members of the Kingston community. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Fish & Frogs through SCB today for more information on how you can be a part of this educational activity.

 

Invite Fish & Frogs to come visit!

 

The Society for Conservation Biology (SCB) and the City of Kingston are excited to present the Fish and Frogs Forever Program.
Our most popular activity is our storm drain painting & door hanger activity, we have also prepared other educational activities that can complement painting or can be used on their own.Below is a link to our “Teacher Guide for Fish & Frog Progams” guide.

Please take the time to review the activities to choose the one(s) that are most suitable for your class, know what materials we require, and the procedural and safety information for painting.If you would like us to visit your school, please email scb@queensu.ca with the title “Fish & Frogs Request” and information about your class size, age group, desired activities, and if any students have considerations/needs that we need to be aware of.

Thanks so much for your interest in Fish and Frogs Forever and we look forward to meeting you!

Fish and Frogs Forever Activity Guide for Group Organizers & Teachers

Fish and Frogs Forever Program Information Sheet


American Eels and Fish and Frogs Forever Program

 eel

The American eel is a very complicated and mysterious fish. It is the ultimate integrator and indicator for the overall health of our aquatic ecosystems. American eels are important to profile in the Fish and Frogs Forever Program because they are an endangered species in Ontario. Additionally, eels and people have had a long and important relationship, and the mysteries of eels have always fascinated people. Professor John Casselman (john.casselman@queensu.ca) and Colleen Burliuk (colleen.burliuk@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University are conducting a study to understand one of these mysteries, their freshwater wintering habitat. The project has two phases, the first being to document and describe the winter habitat requirements of eels and the second to transfer eel science to students and encourage stewardship and conservation of the species.

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Eels can, on one hand, be loathed and, on the other hand, be loved with a passion. Left: Female angler with fishing guide H.W. “Cass” Casselman expressing the typical response when anglers targeting other species on the upper St. Lawrence River incidentally caught an eel in the 1960s, when eels were extremely abundant. To anglers at that time, eels were typically considered to be a considerable nuisance, repulsive, and loathed. Right) Biologist Emily Verhoek (OMNR) expressing the pleasure of catching an eel in 2009 in Ontario’s inland Mississippi Lake. Seen so rarely then that it required a photograph to record the noteworthy event and celebration.

The first phase of our project involves tagging eels with radio-acoustic transmitters and monitoring their movement in the St. Lawrence River. We locate eels by boat, either on-water boat or on-ice airboat (see picture below), with a radio antenna or hydrophones, attempting to get the highest power signal to determine a precise location. When a location is determined, environmental data are collected, such as water depth, dissolved oxygen, substrate type, and current velocity. This information will help us describe the type of habitat eels prefer in winter. Our initial observations are that eels seem to move to deeper water when water temperature drops below approximately 10°C. Additionally, eels seem to prefer a bottom covered with thick vegetation over a soft bottom in late autumn and winter. It is believed that eels burrow together in this soft substrate, since Aboriginal fishers used to spear them in great numbers from the mud through the ice. These preliminary results have revealed new and interesting insights and supported the knowledge of Aboriginal and commercial fishers.

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An airboat survey being conducted to locate eels at our study site on the St. Lawrence River near Tar Island, January 2015. Airboat on ice just above a dormant wintering eel. See the radio antenna on the front of the airboat.

The second phase of our project is building the profile of the species and creating eel stewards. This involves actively engaging students by conveying science in outreach and education programs in schools. Our school presentations involve an introductory lesson about the American eel through a PowerPoint presentation of eel photos and fish facts. This part of the lesson covers the importance of eels in history and today, life stages, migration, why the species is declining, and the associated mysteries of the eel (e.g., wintering habitat). After the initial presentation, one of the follow-up activities, which are the winter habitat diorama, Eel Ladders and Chutes, Eel of Fortune, and Eel Jeopardy, will be carried out. Below is an image of our Eel Jeopardy board, which is used for students in Grade 6 and above. The follow-up activity covers the information learned in the lesson to allow students to reinforce and showcase what they have learned. We have been able to reach students at Sydenham Public School, Cataraqui Woods Public School, and Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary School. Below is an image of a mural created by Grade 1/2 students, which describes the amazing migration of the American eel.

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Example of board developed for Eel Jeopardy board game. Designed for students in Grade 6 and above.

 

Students contributed images of the various life stages of the freshwater eel, which described the life cycle.

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The top middle image is a pendant from Sydenham Public School where one of our eel outreach presentations was completed. The images are part of a long paper mural that was displayed in the entrance hallway of the school. Created by Grade 1/2 students of Sydenham Public School.

Conducting studies to address knowledge gaps and promoting public awareness for the American eel is a critical step in eel conservation. In recent years, our association with the eel has been lost because of its declining abundance. It is important to try to better understand the species through science and to nurture the relationship between the public and the American eel, for its history and importance date back centuries. If you are interested in learning more about this project, below is a link to a PowerPoint presentation that explains both phases in more detail, which has been presented at several fisheries conferences. Additionally, if you have further questions, observations, or concerns about eels or are interested in having an eel presentation in your classroom through the Fish and Frogs Program, please send an email to Colleen Burliuk at colleen.burliuk@queensu.ca.

For more information about American Eels and Casselman & Burliuk’s research, click here.


 

Fun stuff for kids!

 

What does it sound like?Click on the frog species below to hear what they sound like! All of these species occur in Ontario, maybe you’ve heard them before!

American toad Green frog Grey tree frog Northern leopard frog
Spring peeper Western chorus frog Wood frog Can you guess who’s calling? (2 frogs!)

Links for Kids & Educators*

*NOTE: Links lead to outside content that is not affiliated with the Society for Conservation Biology Kingston Chapter

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