The PGAVia team hopped right in to this year’s cause: frogs! Frogs and toads are important indicator species – they are among the first animals affected by environmental changes, which means they can tell us a lot about the health of an ecosystem. Like last year’s bee-centric Pollinator Café, our challenge was to figure out a fun, engaging way to raise awareness of a critter that is often overlooked. We also wanted to develop a transportable, modular solution that could be exhibited at multiple institutions – along with the Saint Louis Zoo, we worked with HealthWorks and the Saint Louis Science Center to spread the message of frog conservation.
We knew early in the process that we wanted to incorporate some type of gameplay – games can be a great way to engage visitors in a meaningful, fun way. We jumped from idea to idea trying to balance feasibility and creativity before landing on our final concept: the Frog Scouts. This knowledge-based challenge had visitors learning facts and completing activities in order to “level up,” earning their Scout badges. We designed three primary kiosks – one for each badge – that could be displayed together at Earth Day and separately at our partner locations. The clever flat-pack design of the kiosks meant they were easy to transport and set up – another challenge we faced early on in our development process.
All of our hard work, late nights, and splinters were worth it when it finally all came together on Earth Day! Our volunteer Scout Leaders wore their Frog Scout sashes with pride, and were instrumental in the exhibit’s success. We were delighted with how determined the kids were to earn their badges, and their proud excitement at earning all three! Creating an exhibit that presented information in this unique challenge-reward format proved to be a great way to engage guests of all ages. By the end of the weekend we had given out around 460 Field Guides and had over 800 visitors!
The Frog Scout materials were split between the Zoo and Science Center for Save the Frogs Day on April 28th, and were ultimately donated to the Zoo. We hope that the Frog Scouts continue to collect recruits at future events!