Posted by: mesabimisadventures | September 5, 2009

Lessons of a Leopard Frog

Crouching down alongside the stream, leaning back on a boulder, patiently waiting for the pH meter to equilibrate when a lil’ leopard frog hopped onto my steel-toed boot.  This lil’ green semi-sparkly, spotted frog calmly perched upon the scuffed brown leather of my Red Wing.  The lil’ one looked around, looked up at me and quietly bounced away downstream, leaving me alone to test the pH of his home.

One lil’ frog roosting on my workboot.  Nature in the midst of industry.  Calm in the midst of organized chaos.


We live in a society so “rich” that we are able to care about that lil’ frog, the wolves, the wetlands.  Food, clean water, shelter and clothing are so readily available in this country that we are able to have individuals, companies and associations that devote all of their time and resources towards preservation of the trees, the wildflowers, the Botrychium.


Two miles from my home, I can hike through McCarthy Beach State Park and get lost in the towering Red Pines that dominate the park.  I can watch the loons drying their wings on Pickerel, sidestep the trees the beavers brought down and get more than a little nervous at the Turkey Vultures that fly above me (wondering if they know something about me that I don’t yet!).  I have the freedom to spend hours traipsing through the park, this beautiful little park, courtesy of the one thing that seems completely antithetical – industry.

I’m not required to grow or raise my own food.  I’m not having to build a fire to cook it.  I’m not having to boil water to clean up after dinner.  I’m not washing our clothes by hand (even when I’m supposed to based on directions!).  I have oodles of free time to explore and enjoy the wilderness as a result of industry and the luxuries provided by it.   


A stunning amount of progress in environmental protection has been made since the first half of the 1900s – banning DDT, utilizing wastewater treatment plants for the treatment of sewage in cities, lining landfills to prevent leachate from polluting groundwater, ensuring rivers like the Cuyahoga aren’t starting on fire.  Scientists, engineers and financial-minds working together to figure out how to maintain our current standard of living in the U.S. while limiting the environmental impact of those 300 million “rich” Americans.  


I wouldn’t want to return to a time period without basic environmental regulations just like I don’t want to return to an era where I’m expected to be barefoot and pregnant.  Progress has been made and the progress has been good.  However, if we want to maintain where we are at as a society, both materially and population-wise, we are going to have to find a way to have a healthy, economically feasible co-existence between nature and industry within our borders.

A healthy, economically feasible co-existence that protects both the lil’ leopard frog and the steel-toes.



  1. Turkey Vultures and Bald Eagles in Northern Minnesota. I remember in ’86 slamming on the brakes and leaping from the car with camera to snap a picture of a Bald Eagle because I had NEVER seen on up here where I grew up. Turkey Vultures are also, to the best of my knowledge, recently returned(arrived?) here. Great examples of how we, as a society, are learning to balance our needs with those of the rest of the biosphere.

  2. well my dear, good to hear you can follow the money trail ;). I’m not going to lie, as a fisherman/hunter/hiker I love the great outdoors. At the same time, every creature has the instinct to help the species continue surviving. Sadly there are many in this society who believe they are a bug/tree/critter. They do help change regulations, but too often go way to far

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