We love it when young people want to know more about the natural world, and we want to support them in any way we can. One way we can do that is to provide stories, photos, and short articles about wildlife and wild places, and The Treefrog Times does just that. Each issue can be downloaded for free, from this page. (Click the link below to open the issue.)
Have you ever watched clouds and imagined things their shape suggested? A short article and a couple of photos get you thinking about lying back in the grass and looking at clouds. Afterward is a profile of the Plains Hog-nosed Snake, and a request for feedback from readers or their parents.
The June issue starts with a story about a visit to the creek on a hot day, and describes how “cold-blooded” reptiles can cope with hot temperatures. Then there is a drawing challenge, asking kids about what makes bird feathers and insect wings strong enough to fly. Finally, readers are challenged to name 8 different animals that fly.
This issue talks about looking for treasure – in the form of some commonly seen animals that kids might find around the yard or a nearby park. There’s also a chance to test your knowledge by matching photos of seeds with the corresponding leaves.
The story of several visits to a nearby creek, introducing Elijah to the plants, fish, frogs, and overall wonderfulness of this creek. Information is included about animals such as the cricket frog and mosquitofish, as well as Cretaceous period fossils occasionally found in the limestone.
More ideas about things to do during the interruptions in school, other activities, and social distancing, including a few recommended books. A profile of the Common Buckeye (butterfly) in “Meet Your Neighbors” and information about the LBJ National Grasslands in “Places to Go.”
A second issue in March, inviting young readers to send in drawings or short essays or notes about how they’re connecting with nature this spring. There is also a “Places to Go” feature about Tandy Hills Natural Area.
Focusing on what you can find in your yard or a local park, particularly for folks who are mostly staying at home with limited activities during the pandemic. There are some wonderful plants and animals to see, even in your yard!
This issue features an article about the historic “Caddo Oak” at Southwest Nature Preserve and a little about other Post Oak trees. A second article talks about taking a walk in the woods while staying focused on the present moment, and how patiently observing insects like tiger beetles and butterflies might be part of the practice of “mindfulness” on such walks.
The September issue includes an article about how food webs work, told as a narrative of the lives of grass, a grasshopper, mice, a lizard, a snake or two, and a hawk. There is also something new: “First Finds,” a page for younger readers with a little information about the Blackstripe Topminnow with a sketch that can be colored.
This issue includes a letter to those who may be afraid of spiders, some information about spiders and other arachnids, a profile of the Northern Cardinal (redbird), and the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge in Fort Worth.
The first issue includes finding salamanders in Kentucky, a profile of the Prairie Kingsnake, and the Southwest Nature Preserve in Arlington.
If you like it, please let others know and send them to this page so they can see for themselves. We think it is ideal for school teachers and homeschoolers. The stories and articles are short and engaging, and the photos bring those stories to life. The “Meet Your Neighbors” feature highlights a species of animal or plant that may live nearby, and so it may be a neighbor you’ll enjoy meeting. The “Places to Go” feature tells about preserves, parks, or other places you can visit and see a slice of wild Texas and learn about how it was before towns, cities, and roads were built.
Michael Smith has written many articles, co-authored a book about finding reptiles and amphibians all over Texas (Herping Texas) and has a book for teens and adults due to be published in May of 2020. Although reptiles and amphibians are his specialty, Michael is interested in the bigger picture of plant and animal communities, and plans to include all of that in future issues.