On July 4, 2003, I visited my aunt and uncle in Louisa, a rural county of farmlands and forests in central Virginia. Louisa is 35 miles south of Charlottesville and 95 miles southeast of Washington, D.C. The county is a mix of flat lands and rolling hills and is most known for the 17 mile long Lake Anna, developed in the early 1970s to provide cooling waters for the North Anna Nuclear Power Plant. Louisa’s climate is generally moderate and the annual precipitation averages 41.6 inches, normal for the eastern coast of the U.S.
Over half of the approximately 100 acres of my uncle‘s property is a forest of slopes and gullies surrounding two man-made ponds. Runoff from the ponds feed permanent and temporary forest streams. Wildlife there consists of deer, foxes, turkeys and other more common forest animals. My uncle has also spotted bears on two occasions. His ponds are full of bass, frequently visited by geese and large turtles, and are homes to different species of frogs.
When I visited on July 4th, the weather was warm and particularly humid since the area had experienced record high levels of rainfall every month since January and especially during the spring and summer. Much of my uncle’s land was spotted with puddles in land depressions created by so much rain and in the tire impressions from his golf cart, used for traveling from his house to the ponds and other parts of his property.
Around 3:00pm on July 4th, I drove the golf cart down to the largest pond. On the way, my uncle pointed out whole populations of green treefrog tadpoles swimming around in the many tire impressions along the path to the pond. Having wanted to raise tadpoles ever since I saw my first frog as a toddler, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity and scooped some up in a plastic bucket.
The next day, when I was back home in Charlottesville, I searched online for sources on raising tadpoles. I also consulted several pet stores in Charlottesville. Unfortunately I found or was given conflicting information from what kind of container, water and food to use, to the pros and cons of raising tadpoles. For several days I deliberated over which suggestions were the most valid and compatible with my tadpoles, and decided using the tadpoles as my tenth grade science project to test how they could be successfully raised outside of their natural habitat and if doing so produced desirable environmental benefits.
This web page is the product of my research on raising tadpoles. It identifies what traditional and online resources I used, how I decided to go about raising the tadpoles, the difficulties I had raising them and how I responded to them, their metamorphic development and diversions, and what made me decide when and where to release the survivors. It also contains an analysis and conclusions to highlight the benefits of the project.
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