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The story of one frog's epic journey to the frog hospital.

It's not easy being green, but sometimes you have help.

The story of one frog's epic journey to the frog hospital.

In a small town in Queensland, Australia, a woman was mowing her lawn when something went horribly wrong: She ran over a frog.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.


Apparently, the frog had been sitting in her yard in the bright sun, which isn't a normal behavior for a healthy frog.

The woman was worried about the little guy, so she immediately sprang into action, calling her niece to ask what to do. And that's when she got transferred to a frog rescue organization called Frog Safe Inc.

Enter Deborah Pergolotti, the president of the Cairns Frog Hospital, who makes it her priority to rescue frogs near and far.

Unfortunately, this particular little guy was found very far from their facility. He was in Mount Isa, which is 776 miles from Cairns, the city where the frog hospital is located. But if anyone could find a way around the distance, it was Deborah.

"We have run a frog rescue and rehab facility for the past 17 years, and we are pretty much all there is in the northern half of Queensland who specializes in this type of wildlife rescue," Deborah told Upworthy.

That means that Deborah and her team ended up doing the majority of the frog rescue work for the northern half of Australia. And if you've been there, you know that area has a ton of frogs!

Lots of swamp land equals tons of frogs. Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images.

But how would they get the frog to Cairns? Deborah put on her thinking cap and came up with a plan: They would airlift the injured frog to the frog hospital.

Rex Airways immediately volunteered their services free of charge, but since transporting wildlife of any size in Australia is complicated, two other businesses needed to step in to help get the little frog on his way.

After a great deal of back and forth (literally), the frog found himself at the Cairns Frog Hospital and in Deborah's skillful hands soon after his accident. It turns out that he was suffering from not one but two parasitic infections, along with the external injury from the lawn mower. And that's why he was baking out in the sun in the first place.

And after about five weeks, the frog is recovering nicely. His wound is healing, and the infections have cleared up completely.


Healing frog. Photo Courtesy of Deborah Pergolotti.

At this point, you might be wondering: Why all this fuss over one small creature?

The best way to answer that might be with a famous parable about a starfish.

There are many iterations of it, but the basic message is this:

A man goes to a beach and sees that it's covered in dying starfish. Then he notices another man throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one at a time. When the first man asks the second man why he's doing this, the second explains that if he doesn't, the starfish will die.

The first man responds: "But there are miles of beach and thousands of starfish. You can't possibly make a difference."

And the second man picks up another starfish, throws it back into the ocean and replies, "It made a difference to that one."

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images.

Saving small creatures like this two-inch green frog could also, in turn, save us.

According to Deborah, Australia already has seven frog species on the brink of extinction, which no doubt will leave a sizable hole in the Australian ecosystem.

"Certainly frogs, as a 'lower' animal are depended upon as food by other species so their absence creates a demand for something else to feed on which could start a chain reaction of ecological malfunctions," Deborah told Upworthy.

The green frog is not yet considered endangered in Australia, but when hurt or sick frogs are left to die, the more likely that becomes.

Deborah has committed 17 years to rescuing and rehabilitating frogs for this reason.

Despite being a fraction of their size, frogs are just as important to save as tigers, polar bears, and wales. Each species serves a purpose, no matter how small.

Deborah put it succinctly using a metaphor from Paul Ehrlich's book "Extinction" about losing species, where he compared it to rivets holding a plane together:

A few rivets might be missing and the plane still flies, but once a certain number has fallen out, the plane crashes.

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan
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Growing up in Indonesia, Farwiza Farhan always loved the ocean. It's why she decided to study marine biology. But the more she learned, the more she realized that it wasn't enough to work in the ocean. She needed to protect it.

"I see the ocean ecosystem collapsing due to overfishing and climate change," she says. "I felt powerless and didn't know what to do [so] I decided to pursue my master's in environmental management."

This choice led her to work in environmental protection, and it was fate that brought her back home to the Leuser Ecosystem in Sumatra, Indonesia — one of the last places on earth where species such as tigers, orangutans, elephants and Sumatran rhinoceros still live in the wild today. It's also home to over 300 species of birds, eight of which are endemic to the region.

"When I first flew over the Leuser Ecosystem, I saw an intact landscape, a contiguous block of lush, diverse vegetation stretched through hills and valleys. The Leuser is truly a majestic landscape — one of a kind."

She fell in love. "I had my first orangutan encounter in the Leuser Ecosystem," she remembers. "As the baby orangutan swung from the branches, seemingly playing and having fun, the mother was observing us. I was moved by the experience."

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

"Over the years," she continues, "the encounters with wildlife, with people, and with the ecosystem itself compounded. My curiosity and interest towards nature have turned into a deep desire to protect this biodiversity."

So, she began working for a government agency tasked to protect it. After the agency dismantled for political reasons in the country, Farhan decided to create the HAkA Foundation.

"The goals [of HAkA] are to protect, conserve and restore the Leuser Ecosystem while at the same time catalyzing and enabling just economic prosperity for the region," she says.

"Wild areas and wild places are rare these days," she continues. "We think gold and diamonds are rare and therefore valuable assets, but wild places and forests, like the Leuser Ecosystems, are the kind of natural assets that essentially provide us with life-sustaining services."

"The rivers that flow through the forest of the Leuser Ecosystem are not too dissimilar to the blood that flows through our veins. It might sound extreme, but tell me — can anyone live without water?"

Courtesy of Farwiza Farhan

So far, HAkA has done a lot of work to protect the region. The organization played a key role in strengthening laws that bring the palm oil companies that burn forests to justice. In fact, their involvement led to an unprecedented, first-of-its-kind court decision that fined one company close to $26 million.

In addition, HAkA helped thwart destructive infrastructure plans that would have damaged critical habitat for the Sumatran elephants and rhinos. They're working to prevent mining destruction by helping communities develop alternative livelihoods that don't damage the forests. They've also trained hundreds of police and government rangers to monitor deforestation, helping to establish the first women ranger teams in the region.

"We have supported multiple villages to create local regulation on river and land protection, effectively empowering communities to regain ownership over their environment."

She is one of Tory Burch's Empowered Women this year. The donation she receives as a nominee is being awarded to the Ecosystem Impact Foundation. The small local foundation is working to protect some of the last remaining habitats of the critically endangered leatherback turtle that lives on the west coast of Sumatra.

"The funds will help the organization keep their ranger employed so they can continue protecting the islands, endangered birds and sea turtle habitats," she says.

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen. Do you know an inspiring woman like Farwiza? Nominate her today!

Jennifer Lawrence

After being a Hollywood staple, Jennifer Lawrence vanished from the public eye following the release of "X-Men Dark Phoenix" in 2019.

Sure, the pandemic had something to do with that … in addition to the usual way our society treats Hollywood "it" girls, once it grows accustomed to the flavor. But in a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Lawrence opens up about some other reasons she chose to step away for a time.

Lawrence went from being a highly sought-after Oscar-winning actress to starring in less-than-successful films like "Passengers," "Mother!" and "Red Sparrow." The films were not only poorly received among critics, but commercially as well.

"I was not pumping out the quality that I should have," she told VF. "I just think everybody had gotten sick of me. I'd gotten sick of me. It had just gotten to a point where I couldn't do anything right. If I walked a red carpet, it was, 'Why didn't she run?'"

So then, why do it? As any workaholic would know, it's about so much more than money.

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Courtesy of Ms. Lopez
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Marcella Lopez didn't always want to be a teacher — but once she became one, she found her passion. That's why she's stayed in the profession for 23 years, spending the past 16 at her current school in Los Angeles, where she mostly teaches children of color.

"I wanted purpose, to give back, to live a life of public service, to light the spark in others to think critically and to be kind human beings," she says. "More importantly, I wanted my students to see themselves when they saw me, to believe they could do it too."

Ms. Lopez didn't encounter a teacher of color until college. "That moment was life-changing for me," she recalls. "It was the first time I felt comfortable in my own skin as a student. Always remembering how I felt in that college class many years ago has kept me grounded year after year."

It's also guided her teaching. Ms. Lopez says she always selects authors and characters that represent her students and celebrate other ethnicities so students can relate to what they read while also learning about other cultures.

"I want them to see themselves in the books they read, respect those that may not look like them and realize they may have lots in common with [other cultures] they read about," she says.

She also wants her students to have a different experience in school than she did.

When Ms. Lopez was in first grade, she "was speaking in Spanish to a new student, showing her where the restroom was when a staff member overheard our conversation and directed me to not speak in Spanish," she recalls. "In 'this school,' we only speak English," she remembers them saying. "From that day forward, I was made to feel less-than and embarrassed to speak the language of my family, my ancestors; the language I learned to speak first."

Part of her job, she says, is to find new ways to promote acceptance and inclusion in her classroom.

"The worldwide movement around social justice following the death of George Floyd amplified my duty as a teacher to learn how to discuss racial equity in a way that made sense to my little learners," she says. "It ignited me to help them see themselves in a positive light, to make our classroom family feel more inclusive, and make our classroom a safe place to have authentic conversations."

One way she did that was by raising money through DonorsChoose to purchase books and other materials for her classroom that feature diverse perspectives.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

The Allstate Foundation recently partnered with DonorsChoose to create a Racial Justice and Representation category to encourage teachers like Ms. Lopez to create projects that address racial equity in the classroom. To launch the category, The Allstate Foundation matched all donations to these projects for a total of $1.5 million. Together, they hope to drive awareness and funding to projects that bring diversity, inclusion, and identity-affirming learning materials into classrooms across the country. You can see current projects seeking funding here.

When Ms. Lopez wanted to incorporate inclusive coloring books into her lesson plans, The Allstate Foundation fully funded her project so she was able to purchase them.

"I'm a lifelong learner, striving to be my best version of myself and always working to inspire my little learners to do the same," she says. Each week, Ms. Lopez and the students would focus on a page in the book and discuss its message. And she plans to do the same again this school year.

"DonorsChoose has been a gamechanger for my students. Without the support of all the donors that come together on this platform, we wouldn't have a sliver of what I've been able to provide for my students, especially during the pandemic," she says.

"My passion is to continue striving to be excellent, and to continue to find ways to use literature as an anchor, depicting images that reflect my students," she says.

To help teachers like Ms. Lopez drive this important mission forward, donate on DonorsChoose.

Courtesy of Ms. Lopez

This story was originally published on The Mighty and originally appeared here on 07.21.17


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