What we do Education & Training Welcome to Champhibians! ARC’s school pond adoption scheme What are Champhibians? Champhibians is a pond adoption scheme for schools. Ponds are valuable homes for amphibians, the adults return to ponds to mate in spring and ponds provide a nursery for the metamorphosis from tadpole to adult. Without ponds we would not have amphibians such as frogs, toads or newts as our neighbours, not just in the countryside but also in our towns and cities. Some schools are lucky to have ponds within their school grounds, these may be ornamental or wildlife ponds, both of which can be valuable homes for amphibians. This project is not just for schools with their own ponds, but also encourages schools to adopt a nearby community pond. Ponds in parks, community green spaces or local nature reserves need amphibian guardians! Working with the community managers responsible for the pond, the school can form a working relationship to monitor and support the pond and its wildlife, simply through recording the condition of the pond, the animal life there and even the water quality. Champhibians is operated nationally by ARC, and delivered by the Saving Scotland’s Amphibians and Reptiles and SitH projects. A school’s application for the Champhibian scheme provides opportunities for citizen science, vital species monitoring, linking to the biodiversity elements of the curriculum for excellence, health and well-being and community engagement. Why amphibian surveys? Frogs, toads and newts have a wealth of cultural, historical and artistic links with us. They are also easy to recognise and identify, and fascinating in their habits and life cycle. In terms of supporting the curriculum, amphibians provide a treasure trove of opportunities. When surveying animals very few provide such an easy and satisfying objective as amphibians. They have a set timetable for their return to water in Spring and their growth is easily observed as they transition to land animals through metamorphosis. They provide an opportunity for anyone of any age or ability to observe an animal living naturally. Surveying enables records to be gained on what, when and where amphibians are, these are of great value as the records show how our amphibians are faring. Amphibian species are under pressure from pollution, the loss of habitats and the fragmentation of the natural world by modern development. They are good bioindicators of environmental pollution due to their susceptibility to chemicals. We are seeing a fall in the number of amphibians across the UK and we suspect it is due to pollution, loss of ponds, human activity and climate change. The Champhibian Pack and website Register your interest in becoming a Champhibian School by emailing [email protected]. You will then receive a unique login to access and download the Champhibians Teachers’ Information Pack and Resource Sheets, as well as to the online Champhibians recording page. As records build, you’ll be able to see how the data has changed over time, and be able to link-up with other Champhibians Schools to share and discuss your results! Support, advice and information is available through visits and e-mails from ARC’s Education Officers. About your Champhibian Pack The pack for each school will contain a sticker for the school door, showing the school is a Champhibian school with our mascot Newtrino, and a set of smaller stickers for surveyors. There will also be: A welcome letter Advice on adopting your pond Advice on surveying with identification and pond advice resources Survey methods for amphibians and other pond life Biosecurity advice Curriculum information and ideas for using your data Photocopiable Resource Sheets for info and to fill in on surveys We wish you every luck and are excited to start receiving your results! Hop to it!