First I would like to say sorry for my tardiness in posting this – I just got back to the U.S. a week ago, and things have been a whirlwind of activity what with readjusting to the States and getting ready for my classes, which start tomorrow. Golden Frog Week was great, and everything that I saw went off more or less without a hitch. Here is a quick recap:
On Sunday, August 11, Punta Culebra nature center had an event as mentioned in a previous post. Then on Wednesday, August 14, the actual Dia de La Rana Dorada (Golden Frog Day), there was a public forum in Panama City with three talks in Spanish: one on conservation of Atelopus in Panama by Dr. Roberto Ibanez, one on the creation of Golden Frog Day by Lucrecia Arosemana, and one on frog research in Panama by Justin Touchon. The forum was a complete success in that it brought in people besides just research scientists.
Then on Thursday, there was a “Ciencia y Cervezas” (“Science and Beers”) talk at the La Rana Dorada pub with two speakers: Dr. Richard Cooke on frogs in Panamanian culture, and Angie Estrada from PARC on the importance of frog conservation. Everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, and the little pub was filled to the brim with people during the talks.
Friday was the Golden Frog event at Summit Zoo. All of the activities that we put together worked great, to our relief. The kids loved “Restaurante Rana”, where two volunteers dressed up in aprons as “chefs”. There was also BINGORANA, where kids received a frog protector badge for winning the game. Kids also painted and colored their own little frogs and put them on the mural by the entrance to the zoo, and made frog bead keychains. I helped with the keychains, since I was one of the few who knew how to make them. It was probably the easiest thing I did as a volunteer with only a very basic grasp of Spanish, since I was able to show kids how to make it or speak very simple phrases to communicate what they had to do. It also helped that we already had spanish instructions in the kits as well. Unfortunately, we were only able to do activities for the morning because around noon, a huge rainstorm swept through, ruining some of our decorations and the posters. There were approximately 200 kids just in the morning, though, so we felt good about what we managed to do.
On Saturday there was the parade for La Festival de la Rana Dorada in El Valle, for which many businesses decorated their buildings with black and yellow. In the parade there were floats featuring golden frogs and people dressed up as frogs. On both Saturday and Sunday at EVACC in El Nispero Zoo, there were several fun activities for kids including mask-painting, in addition to the usual frog exhibits. A circus performer dressed as a golden frog even made an appearance.
All in all, it was a highly successful golden frog week, with lots of kids and adults across Panama participating in the events and learning about the Golden Frogs. I hope that next year, it will be even bigger and better!