Spadefoot Toad Headstarting Project

BY Renee Fudala

Sandwich STEM Academy

Project Description
The goal of our program is to spark a passion for science and discovery, instill respect for endangered species in our students, support innovative STEM programming, and strengthen efforts to make science accessible to our diverse middle school population. The primary objective of the 7th Grade Spadefoot Toad program is to offer inquiry-based programs that inspire and teach students about head-starting, or the raising and caring for, an endangered species (the spadefoot toad) on Cape Cod. Students will experience the amazing process of metamorphosis of the toads, from egg mass, tadpoles to adults.

How will the project be evaluated (e.g. how will you gauge its success)
The success of the Spadefoot Toad Head-starting project will be documented with students accurately recording the weekly weight of spadefoot toads, as well as the numbers of toad eggs that successfully metamorphosed into adult toads. This information will be shared with Massachusetts Audubon Long Pasture Wildlife Sanctuary.

Benefit to the students and the school
The benefit to the students is to see live endangered amphibians in the classroom, to observe in their amazing metamorphosis process, and to act as stewards to protect them during this vulnerable stage of their life. This project will use grant funds for in-class presentations by guest speakers from the Massachusetts Audubon Society, and for all aquarium, netting and all other costs associated with raising endangered Spadefoot Toads in all Science 7th grade classrooms.

Timeline of Project (when will you do the project, if applicable)
The project will start in April, when the eggs of the Spadefoot toad are laid at vernal pools in Sandy Neck. There will be a presentation with Massachusetts Audubon naturalists from the Massachusetts Audubon Society during the last week of March, 2018. The Spadefoot Toad head-starting project will take place right after this in late April to mid-June, 2018.