Princess Vlei has long been home to hundreds of Western leopard toads every year – but there was some unusual toad activity there in the past few days.
On November 28, forty children from Levana Primary and Primrose Primary stepped into the toad’s flippers and explored Princess Vlei from the perspective of a toad.
The learners spent some time learning about the life cycle of the toad, and discussing what kind of habitat toads need to be happy and healthy and breed successfully. Learners discussed what belonged in a toad habitat. It was agreed that snakes belonged, but plastic pollution did not. Both are harmful to toads, but snakes are part of the eco-system and help to create the habitat that benefits the toads. For example, the snakes eat the moles, which helps the fynbos, and the fynbos attract pollinating insects which provide food for the toads. Children also learned why the western leopard toad is now endangered, as a result of habitat loss, domestic pets and being run over when they are crossing roads to return to their breeding sites.
Learners then explored the vlei from the perspective of a toad looking for a good breeding site.
A highlight of the day was the opportunity to explore the vlei from the water as well as from the land. This was thanks to Andrew and team from Gravity Adventures, who taught the children how to manage a canoe, and provided boats for the children to experience the water themselves. For many, this was their first time in a boat. They were nervous, but exhilarated by the experience.
Afterwards, some learners were so inspired by the life of a toad that they decided to take to the water themselves.
A few days later, the Primrose Park learners returned to explore the life of a toad through art. They created wonderful toads from clay – each one with a great personality. They painted plates to create a habitat for their clay toads, and were careful to include everything a toad might need such as a water plants to hide their tadpoles from predators, and tasty dragon flies and other insects.
Thanks to this experience, we have forty new toad guardians who understand how and why to protect these wonderful creatures.
Posts by Bridget Pitt unless stated otherwise.