Backyardsafari's Blog

Environmental Inspiration in Your Own Backyard

Backyard Transition Challenge – Amphibians October 1, 2010

I am so happy to introduce the first reader submission to our Backyard Transition Challenge!  Our submission today comes from Donna Watkins of The Nature In Us. About a week ago I noticed some pictures Donna had posted on her Facebook page of eastern gray tree frog tadpoles that were living on her deck. I asked if she would be willing to send in the pictures once their transformation was complete, and happily, she agreed!

Donna has also written up the complete story of the tree frogs on her website, which you can read in two parts, here and here. I hope you all take a look—it’s a great story!

The idea of this challenge is to document changes going on in our backyards and neighborhoods, and what better changes than the metamorphosis these amphibians are going through!


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In school we are taught about metamorphosis and are sometimes shown a series of pictures documenting the changes, but it is rare that we get the opportunity to watch the same set of frogs go through this amazing process.  How unbelievable to think that the small black dots in the first pictures spring arms and legs, that their morphology changes so completely that they are able to take the tenuous steps onto land as a new being, much as our own ancestors evolved to do many million years ago. Many thanks to Donna for documenting these changes in such beautiful and detailed photographs, and for being willing to share them with us here!

So what might you find in your own backyard? What kind of changes are going on all around us, just hidden under a mossy stone, a leafy overhang, our busy schedules? What magic would you like to share?

Thanks again to Donna–and for any one else who is thinking of submitting, please do!! You can send submissions any time to

See you out there!


2 Responses to “Backyard Transition Challenge – Amphibians”

  1. Rachel Says:

    Thanks so much! How much better would students grasp and appreciate metamorphisis if they actually see it occur! Having students observe classroom tadpoles changing into frogs is such a wonderful idea! I promise to someday do it with my class and let you know how it goes.

    • Classroom tadpoles would be so fun! You’ll have to document some of the stuff you do with your classes–I know they will be really lucky to have you! I agree with you–metamorphosis is a pretty crazy concept for little kids (and adults!) to grasp, I don’t really see how they could ever get it just by looking at a picture in a book!

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