Welcome to our Guest Curator, Dr. Lydia Fucsko!
Lydia Fucsko Ph.D. is an Australian teacher, researcher, children’s author and illustrator internationally published photographer, narrator, dramatist, poet, and linguist. Lydia Fucsko & email@example.com
Lydia also holds a Masters degree in Counseling. Her active roles in amphibian conservation have been predominantly in education and public relations. As a photographer she has taken countless pictures of amphibians, including photo galleries of mostly south-eastern Australian frogs.
She completed her Ph.D. project on amphibian conservation at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia. Her Ph.D. work, which includes novel research on the significance of amphibians in human cultural development, was reviewed and supported by a worldwide group of amphibian scientists. It highlighted global amphibian declines, as well as reflecting her dedication to environmental issues.
Lydia’s upcoming children’s book “My life is in the Toilet” focuses on the plight of species like the green tree frog which is often forced to find rather unusual alternative accommodation after water mismanagement, pollution and habitat loss have left it with nowhere else to go. By utilising photography in new and ingenious ways, merging science and art, capitalising on the universal appeal of adorable amphibians and incorporating terrific ‘toilet humour’, Lydia hopes to inspire the next generation about the need to protect precious wetland habitat and encourage direct engagement with the environment.
It was once a common species, but serious declines have occurred in sections of the range (Mahony 1999). Ehmann and White (1997) noted that in New South Wales the species had disappeared from sites in the central and southern highlands. It is currently widespread throughout the Murray River valley but has disappeared from a number of sites along the Murrumbidgee River (Mahony 1999) and there are no recent records from the Monaro District near the Victorian border (G. Gillespie pers. comm.). It persists in isolated populations in the greater Melbourne area, and isolated populations are known from a few sites in central Victoria and Gippsland. A similar decline has been noted in Tasmania, and it is now almost absent from the midlands of Tasmania. In New Zealand, where the species is introduced, there are many thousands, although local declines due to chytridiomycosis and/or introduced Gambusia fish have been observed (Source http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/12152/0).
Differing in appearance only slightly from the corroboree frog (Pseudophryne corroboree), the northern corroboree frog has the same distinctive bright yellow and black striped back. However, the stripes are a greener shade of yellow and are also a little narrower. The underside has white, black and yellow-green blotches. Females are larger than males and, unusually, neither sex has webbed toes. In some areas, ‘corroboree’ is an aboriginal word for a gathering or meeting – where traditionally the attendees are adorned with yellow markings not unlike those of this rare frog. (Source http://www.arkive.org/northern-corroboree-frog/pseudophryne-pengilleyi/).
The Red-crowned Toadlet is facing ever increasing threats, but thanks to some dedicated volunteers, help is on the way. Restricted exclusively to sandstone areas around Sydney, the toadlets’ home has been impacted by habitat loss due to sandstone harvesting for garden landscaping as well as pollution, disease and changed fire regimes. The 3cm-long red-crowned toadlet is listed as vulnerable by the New South Wales State Government and already some local populations of the frog have become extinct. Professor Michael Mahoney from the school of environmental and life sciences at Newcastle University believes that human interaction is the biggest threat to the species. “Mostly human impacts affect their habitat,” he says. “Unfortunately, habitat of the red-crowned toadlet overlaps with urban development on the sandstone ridges of the Sydney basin.” (Source http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/blogs/ag-society/2013/01/toadlet-in-trouble).
Consider what it might be like to drink the urine of one particular species of amphibian, which could literally save your life! It was a common practice for Aborigines to squeeze the water out of a frog and drink it. In the words of Waite (1929), “water may be obtained by squeezing the body of the frog, and the Australian native will win through where unattended white men would perish of thirst” (Bayly 1999, p. 23). Here the amphibian being referenced is Cyclorama platycephala, otherwise referred to as the Water-holding Frog, or Tiddalik, a character from the Dreaming stories, told by Australian Aborigines about the history of their country. This species, indigenous to central Australia, has evolved a unique method of surviving in an environment which might not seem particularly suited to frogs. The Water-holding Frog evolved the process of drinking and absorbing water through its skin until its body became a store of water (Bayly 1999, p. 23; Springer & Holley 2013, p. 393). The story of Tiddalik is the stuff of legend and as an enduring story of the Dreamtime it has been translated into many modern children’s books the world over.
Cane Toad Cruelty ©Dr Lydia Fucsko
Lydia Fucsko Frog Pictures
If you are a folklorist or a collector of folklore/popular culture artifacts, please consider becoming a Guest Curator. Your objects will be highlighted here on a rotating basis.
All we ask is that the objects be yours, you have a photograph of the objects, and all or most of the information about the object (see the guidelines below, for more details).
Guest Curator Guidelines:
1. Artifacts must fall within the subject of our website (folklore, folk art, popular culture, etc.
2. Artifacts must be a part of your own personal collection.
3. Submissions must be limited to no more than five artifacts.
4. Submissions must contain a photograph of the artifact, as well as the title, purpose, country of origin, culture , materials, and dimensions of the artifact.
5. We also would like your photograph and a brief biography to accompany the collection.
Please contact, firstname.lastname@example.org and write Guest Curator in the subject line for further information or with any questions. We cannot wait to highlight your collection!