Book SectionsTable of Contents
The Problem Puddle Power Frog-Friendly Backyard Why are we concerned about amphibians?
Wetlands - function/type Wetland issues
How to help amphibians
Community Green Plans
Home Page Acknowledgements Foreward Quotes
The Adopt-A-Pond wetland conservation programme originally focused on providing educational materials for educators and their students.
Metro Toronto Zoo receives many requests from homeowners for information on backyard ponds and restoring wetland habitats. In recognition of this interest, and with the encouragement of the Ontario Horticultural Association, Metro Toronto Zoo has written a guide that addresses wetland issues, backyard ponds and restoration techniques. Because of the need to provide additional information to conservation agencies and to those dedicated to the preservation of existing wetlands, "The Urban Outback" has become more than a simple guide to backyard ponds. For those who wish to put a simple pond in a well planted flower garden, we encourage you to read the sections most relevant to your own needs. However, we also encourage you to read those sections which provide a background to wetland issues.
Several reviewers commented that sections of the guide are too complicated for the "average" homeowner. We certainly agree. However, there are some wetland issues and restoration techniques that require a good understanding before they are attempted. In many cases scientists are still trying to understand what impact restoration has on wetlands. We include some of the technical information in anticipation that small scale restorations undertaken by homeowners will benefit from an awareness of issues which underlie the science of ecological restoration.
We have also been warned that some sections are repeated throughout the book. We are aware of this. Again, we feel that some aspects of wetland conservation are too important to risk having them missed by a reader who only consults one section which meets their needs. We ask for your understanding in this regard.
We are also aware that there are many individuals and organizations struggling to protect, preserve, and restore wetlands or degraded habitats. Some sections of this guide are written to support their goals and we have provided more scientific information that may not be of use to the backyard gardener. In some cases it is important to understand the issues which underlie wetland conservation before undertaking the modification of any existing wetland.
We remain committed to helping those who need information to preserve wetlands and the species that inhabit them. We remain equally committed to sharing our expertise with the widest possible audience.
A Note to Teachers
The Metro Toronto Zoo's Adopt-a-Pond wetland conservation programme empowers students to act on the behalf of wetlands. Our original publication, "For the Love of Frogs", outlines the issues relating to amphibian declines and provides classroom activities which focus on amphibian and wetland conservation.
The Adopt-A-Pond newsletter, "Amphibian Voice", keeps the programme current with new information on wetland conservation programmes, amphibian biology, classroom activities and stories and photographs of school pond adoptions. The newsletter includes many submissions from students and teachers.
However, as the programme progresses it is clear that the challenge of restoring wetlands is unique to each region, and, in many cases, local politics. As much as this book is intended for homeowners and the creation of frog-friendly backyards, it provides information on wetland ecology and conservation that is equally important for teachers, students, and school wetland projects. As a result, all schools now involved in the programme will also receive "The Urban Outback - Wetlands for Wildlife" as a summary of wetland conservation projects.
Although several reviewers suggested that we include a bibliography, we have not done so. Most of the books we could list are found in local libraries and none cover all the subjects outlined in this publication. We encourage you to look for books on aquatic plants and their culture; wetland conservation issues; wetland and habitat restoration techniques; and water gardens. A recent trip to a large bookstore revealed that there are many excellent books on water gardens alone. We encourage you to read the relevant sections in this publication and consult the pond, water garden and wetland sections of your local library or bookstore.
Try to read a number of books as many still contain inaccurate or misleading information on wetlands and wetland species. Look at the many colour photos which will provide ideas for your own pond or wetland. We encourage you to design your pond or wetland by understanding how it fits into your own landscape.
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