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Written by:  Beth Shugg
Date: April 1, 2012

Last year, 13-year-old Rachel Hopkins encouraged her entire school to celebrate the third annual "Save The Frogs Day" and raised more than $1,200 for amphibian conservation initiatives. The eighth-grade student at Ravenscroft School in Raleigh worked with Kerry Kriger, founder of Save the Frogs!, a public charity dedicated to amphibian conservation.

Rachel's efforts prompted N.C. Gov. Beverly Perdue to declare April 28 "Save the Frogs Day" in North Carolina, when it is celebrated worldwide, and Rachel has also been recognized as an "Outstanding Youth" finalist for the 2011 Roosevelt-Ashe Society Conservation Awards.

"Frogs are among the most threatened creatures on the planet and if they continue on their current rate of decline (about a 30 percent decrease), amphibians will not survive the 20th century," Rachel says. "Frogs are economically beneficial because they eat harmful insects that damage our crops and spread pathogens. They are key species in the food chain, and even make contributions to medical science."

Worldwide, nearly one-third of the world's 6,897 amphibian species are threatened with extinction and 200 species have disappeared since the late 1970s.

"I have been interested in frogs ever since I was a young child," Rachel says, adding that she and her friends "would rescue them from the neighborhood pool, take their picture, identify them and let them go in our backyard creek."

Rachel's sixth-grade teacher also played an important part in motivating her to lead amphibian conservation efforts.

"When I was in sixth grade, one of my teachers had a fear of frogs (ranidaphobia)," Rachel says. "Throughout the year we made it our mission to rid her of that fear, and towards the end of the school year she was the one who discovered the amphibian plight. She shared this with me and ever since then I have made frogs my cause."

Kriger and other scientists from all over the world will be part of the 24-hour grand opening of the new Nature Research Center wing at the North Carolina Museum of Natural April 20 in Raleigh.

"Thanks to Governor Perdue's support, North Carolina is leading the way in spreading the news," Rachel says. "The state recognizes the importance of amphibians and that they are key to a healthy environment."

Learn more about Save The Frogs Day and ways you can get involved at www.savethefrogs.com/day.



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