Reflections on “A Thin Green Line”

On Monday, April 4th, I had the pleasure of attending the film screening A Thin Green Line organized by the Gregg Museum. The event was one of many publicized by The Disappearing Frog Art Project, which has worked to bring awareness about the environmental concerns surrounding frogs and other amphibians in North Carolina.

According to The North Carolina Herpetological Society, North Carolina has the second highest diversity of amphibians, and boasts the highest salamander diversity in the world. The film sought to point out the impact humans have had on these numbers through things like habitat destruction, water pollution (especially through disposal of medicines that enter ponds and streams), and natural threats such as the chytrid fungus. But knowing these facts isn’t enough. The film was a call to action, which is in part why The Disappearing Frog Art sponsored it. They strive to inform the public and use film, sculpture, and art, all while working with the scientific community as well.

Green Tree Frog

Tree Frog Image from The Disappearing Frogs Project

On a personal level I enjoyed this film, and finding out more about the organization because of my passion for combining science and art in the field of biological illustration. But what struck me was how connected I felt hearing about this as an issue for North Carolina. As a non-native I moved to NC at the age of 11. One of my first summer experiences was discovering “frogs” (I’ve since learned they were toads) in my backyard. I had never seen a frog in the wild before and finding them where I lived was exciting.

I can’t help but remember one toad we affectionately named “Stumpy.” He was a large toad who was easier to find and catch than some of the others, and was easy to distinguish since he was missing part of his front leg. When I think about him I can’t help wonder how or when did this deformity occurred? Was it because of fertilizers draining from our lawn to the pond he called home? And how many other toads and animals have been impacted by our neighborhood?

While it would be difficult to erase all impact humans have, raising awareness is the first step. Our planet is a beautiful one with vast ecosystems that work together with such incredible harmony. Shouldn’t we do what we can to protect the creatures living in it?

For more information click: http://www.amphibians.org/disappearingfrogsproject/

Rosalynn Villaescusa, Gregg Museum Intern Spring 2016
Art Studies, Senior

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