Toad Research: Students In Action

BEMP’s environmental action-sibling, the Goodman Project, produced a film that profiles a long-term student research program within the Cebrin Goodman Youth Leadership and the Environment Project. 

Mr. Shaw, Bosque science teacher, remarked, “The video has it all: romance, a race against time, and some pretty loud frogs.”

The film highlights Bosque School's partnership between students from Horizons Albuquerque and more than a dozen other schools working together to conduct research about the amphibian killing chytrid fungus. Much of the fieldwork was led by former BEMP 6th grade student participant, then BEMP summer staffer, then BEMP wildlife biologist, and now Bosque School biology teacher, Katie Elder. 

Fieldwork has been conducted in various locations throughout New Mexico. Students have collected data on three-day Chama River rafting trips, northern New Mexico excursions, and outdoors on our own campus.

Ms. Elder noted, “Collecting field data is always wet and muddy fun.” She explained that they would sometimes travel by soggy foot or other times floating in a raft. “Everyone is armed with a net, their eagle eyes, sharp reflexes, and a strong desire to catch a frog.” Once a frog is caught, the researchers handling the frog will swab its underside 25 times with a sterile Q-Tip, then place the swab in a vial of ethanol to be sent for chytrid analysis. “A few basic body measurements are made, then a quick froggy photoshoot happens before we release it back into its habitat,” she explained.

The research spans more than a decade and has been led by many Bosque high school students. One to three high school students lead the project each year, and then hand it off to younger students when they graduate. Middle school students have been active frog catchers throughout the length of the project. 

These students do science that matters beyond the classroom as they engage in Challenging Education. Learn more about this incredible project by watching the video here.