Inspired by Nature is a themed Croak to entertain you with art and creative writing based on nature and the outdoors. We hope it will stimulate you to get creative and produce something yourself. If you do and would like to share them with us, please post them on our Facebook page, Twitter account, or email us at email@example.com
This months feature has been written by Rebecca Neal our Conservation Youth Worker on the Peterborough Green Pathways project, funded by BBC Children in Need.
I was inspired this month by Froglife’s big media story about the common toad. I love toads; I think they may be my favourite (but don’t tell frogs!) I like the fact that you can pick one up and get close, let children handle them (carefully), without them leaping out of your hand. It’s these personal experiences with nature that really resonate with people. We remember these for a long time, and maybe are inspired to think more about wildlife in the future.
The story I have written is set in one of those horrible day time TV shows. I imagined the audience in the story to be either a load of people who don’t care about nature, or a collection of other threatened animals.
“Thanks for coming over, you’ve caused quite a stir this morning. I love it! (“Least concern! Least concern!”) Just between you and me though, I’m hoping for a bit more; you know we love a bit of controversy on the Larry Bile show. Don’t worry, we’ve brought in extra security, so the audience can’t get on stage. We’ll be live in a sec, you ready?
“Morning all, and welcome to the show. We’ve got a very special guest this morning here to justify the recent media storm on the decline of the common toad (“Boo!”) please give a warm welcome to… Warty McToadface! (“Common! Common! Common! Common! Common!”)
“Hi Warty, and thanks for coming in today, I know it’s a busy time for you, preparing to lounge about and sleep for the next 4 months, but could you just justify your existence to the audience today?”
See, there’s the problem right there Larry. Why should I have to justify myself? Do I not have a right to live here?” (Boo! Crawl off! We don’t want you’re kind ‘round here! Boo!”)
“Ok, but I think the viewers would love to hear about what you do for a living. Am I right?” (“Sits under stones all day, I’ll bet!”)
“Ok, well, if you really need something, then I suppose I do eat pest species like slugs and spiders, I am part of a healthy wetland ecosystem which has all kinds of other uses, and I am iconic in literature and British culture…is that enough?”
“Well, an icon, no less?” (“You’re ugly, and you know you are!”)
“I prefer to focus on the food-chain element.”
“Indeed. But I’ve been reading up on your species, you know I like to know a bit about my guests. It says right here on the IUCN website that we shouldn’t even be bothered by your kind. You’ve got family over most of Europe and beyond, (“The Irish never let ‘em in though, did they?”) you live in a wide range of places, you’ve got a large population and it says here, and I quote, that you are: ‘unlikely to be declining fast enough to qualify for listing in a more threatened category.’ What do you have to say about that then? These are international specialists saying this, I might add. I’ve not just asked my mate down the pub. It says right here “population stable.”
“What’s the date?”
“What’s the date of the data that was used, and when the assessment was made?” (Boo! Just answer the question!”)
“I can tell you it’s 2008. The information used to make that assessment is from 2008. That’s eight years ago. Eight years. If you look at this most recent research from Froglife you’ll see that the biggest declines have been in the most recent years, so in 2008, the data might have hinted at a stable population (although we’re pretty sure that’s not what was going on in Britain) but it’s not what is going on now. The key to why scientists are now worried, is the rate of decline, not our absolute numbers. And this recent study was huge, far bigger than any previous research. It’s simply more robust. We’ve lost hundreds of thousands and we’re still declining.”
“And we might be found all over, but we also need to move around. These days, the only safe way for us to cross a road is by bucket (thanks toad patrollers). The effects of climate change is only going to get worse and…”
“Yes, I’ve heard that the warm weather affects your ability to sleep. So sorry.”
“… We’ve lost ponds and feeding areas to housing developments. We are not really a suburban species, unlike Hoppy McFrogface over there. We need bigger ponds, a more hospitable countryside.”
“But, you’re common Warty, why should we spend millions of tax-payers money on tunnels, and have our housing developments stopped because of you?”
“I think you’ve missed the point Larry. We may be common now, but it won’t last long. And anyway, everyone benefits from quality green space.” (“Boo! Homes, not nature! Homes, not Nature”)
“I think you can see what our audience thinks of that, Warty. Well thanks for coming and good luck. Warty McToadface, everyone.” (Boo!”)