10 February 2007

Frogs spotted.

Arun’s alumni observed in Kibble Park.

These photos sent to the Gosford Times, were taken recently in Kibble Park in the garden bed covering the old Town Wells.
Why the frogs seemed interested in the Coke bottle, and were apparently trying to move it, is unknown. Could there be a relationship to the reference to in-vitro (Coca Cola) reproductive technology or was it simply an example of waste water harvesting? The drying conditions must be placing great stress on the frog population to establish emergency supplies in the face of forecast climate changes.

“In some areas (Mangrove Mountain/Kulnura) the consequences are far from trivial – falling water tables, reduction of groundwater flow to sustain wetlands springs and rivers, irrevocably salinised or polluted groundwater and land subsidence,” (Tom Hatton, CSIRO as reported in Express Advocate 7/2/07)

A quick check in A Field Guide to Frogs, Martyn Robinson, found no Australian species with the colours or markings of the frogs in the photos. A possible explanation is that unnatural reproductive techniques produced mutations that resulted in “Coca Cola“ colouring. The juvenile frogs observed may simply have been regarding the bottle as one of their family, or a possible mate. [in this context see Cornelia Hesse-Honegger's work After Chernobyl re. environmental stress and mutation]

05 February 2007

Ghost Frogs

While researching the Ex-stream frog education programme for Gosford, I was told of rumours that on some evenings frogs could be heard calling in the vicinity of the old Town Wells in Kibble Park. Despite thorough searching, no animals have been found.

Town Well excavated in 1980

The following is from City Council information about the wells:

“Before reticulated water was installed in Gosford in 1938, two wells existed on the William Street footpath alignment, each approximately 1.5 metres square, located side by side and lined internally with hardwood planking.

These wells filled naturally from subterranean water.

In 1980 during the conversion of the Kibble Estate into Parkland, the town wells were rediscovered, then left in place and covered over with a concrete slab and bitumen paving.

Cosford City Council erected a plaque on a drinking fountain in William Street near to the old wells, and that plaque read as follows:

This drinking fountain was constructed to indicate the location
(under the footpath) of two wells side by side. They were used by
generations of local residents as a public watering place
and covered in the nineteen thirties
Here, on benches placed under a huge Camphor Laurel tree, the
wives and families would gather at the end of a days shopping in
the township, while the men brought back the buggies and gave
their horses a good drink before returning home, thus conserving
their valuable home water supply.

Again, in 2005, the wells were uncovered and then left in position, covered by a new concrete slab to replace the one that had been damaged."

Approximate area where frog sounds have been heard.

There is a theory that some frogs previously confined to designated reservations, have hitchhiked their way into the centre of Gosford and set up a “squat” in the old wells. It has been suggested that these frogs used knowledge acquired in the Ex-stream programme to access Council information in order to locate the wells and gain access.

It seems a shame that these symbols of shared community and the water/life cycle are buried under concrete. Perhaps we need a new “water fountain” sculpture as an icon for the New Gosford.

Frogs Targeted

Frogs targeted in ex-stream education programme for Gosford

An ambitious plan has been announced to drought-proof water-dependent species threatened by the drying climate predicted in recent scientific studies.

The education program, led by graduates from the Aron School for Frogs in Sweden, will seek to teach survival skills and strategies to frogs in Gosford.

As human population in Gosford and the region expands to fuel economic growth, inevitably there will be increased water consumption.

It is anticipated that there will be a drying out of surface water, not only from temperature increases and lower rainfall, but also from the harvesting of run-off and depletion of groundwater by public and private interests. Surface water from rainfall and aquifers provides the water needed for the breeding of amphibians such as frogs. It is predicted that there will an increase in bushfire intensity as the vegetation dries, posing a further threat to juvenile and adult frogs.

The School for Frogs, founded by Swedish artist Aron Fleming Falk “aims to provide the animals with life-saving knowledge. The education offered to them is focused on different ways to build dams, move water and water purification, as well as how to build tunnels to get under roads that cross their path. The frogs get also courses in human behaviour, human economics, how to build windmills and waterwheels to produce power, art, music and philosophy.”

In Gosford the programme will be adapted to include dry-land farming methods, emergency fire planning, dry skin prevention and in-Coca Cola reproductive technology.

The Swedish instructors will be joined by local staff who worked on the program conducted by Synapse Art Initiatives at Mangrove Mountain teaching aesthetics, cultural theory and deportment to domestic ducks.