My animal neighbour

CPX research fellow, Danielle Terceiro writes about her love of frogs and how creation care is linked to love of neighbour.

Two years ago, I was rescued from a flood at my school. The Design and Tech teacher didn’t have time to construct an ark as the rains came down. I was, however, grateful to see this resourceful Noah appear with wood from his supplies as my Hyundai bogged itself in some mud and needed some wooden tracks out of there.

And I was glad for frogs. Their constant croaking behind the library that morning confused me at first. Were my study room students playing computer games with croaky sound effects? But the frogs knew that water would soon spill down the hill with cataclysmic effect, and they croaked their alarm.

I remembered my frog soft spot when I saw the exciting news that northern corroboree frogs have been spotted in Namadgi National Park for the first time in five years. Ecologists hope that breeding frogs and restoring land burnt during the 2019-2020 bushfires will help the northern corroboree frog flourish again.

A part of me (the frog soft spot part, probably) is resentful that frogs were one of the biblical plagues inflicted on the ancient Egyptians. Frogs were a curse in that old story, but increasingly they are recognised as an ecological blessing, and there is alarm at dwindling frog populations.

Two weeks ago, frogs croaked to me from a carpark-adjacent shrub as I left school. The frogs were right, again: the rains came down that night and our school flooded, this time outside of school hours.

I am grateful for frogs and for the tender care of the northern corroboree frog as it (hopefully) bounds out of near extinction. I’m left musing on what I can do, what we all can do, to translate our creaturely soft spots into a source of practical blessing for our animal neighbours.

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