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In a recent thread I asked a young frogger on the board if he had a mentor to help him in his dart quests. I noticed today that Brent also mentioned it in another thread. In addition to that, he also mentioned concerns of Elitism. With the amount of societies or groups that have popped up in the last year, this could be a possibility, but how would it be received? What would it look like/ how would it function. Brent also mentioned - I believe it was Brent, that it could mimic falconry. What are some thoughts out there? Positives/negatives?

Jon Werner
 

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Mentors.

I know that I have benifitted greatly from the froggers in my area, mostly Jon W., John G., Phil T., Todd K., & Ken D. (Seattle Area). I don't think that reading books works for everyone, well actually I know it doesn't (I teach 7th grade and not all kids can functionally learn by reading it)...so I've learned most of my stuff from seeing what these guys do, by talking with them, by asking them questions, etc. I feel like mentoring is the best way to learn as well as grow in this hobby.

By the way thanks to those mentioned above!
 

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I dont really see the need for any formal type of mentoring program to be established. I think mentoring is a natural process that people with fall into, those who are starting out who want to succeed will seek the advice of others with more experience, and since generally froggers are nice, generous people, knowledge will be shared, friendships formed and everyone benefits. I dont imagine I would be involved in this hobby still if guys like Mark Pulawski and Aaron Handzlik and Phil Ramos were not around to give advice when i was starting out, or to let me know if i was about to do something stupid. Its probably been this way for most people, and will continue to do so, and as was said, with all the clubs and regional groups starting up it will just get easier. My two cents.

mark
 
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If more juvinile people go to the meetings they will learn allot. For 1 person to teach 1 student about frogs can be dificule if you dont have teaching knowledge... Now, if people went to schools and told kids about this stuff that would be great. Kids at my school talk about putting rockets into frogs (toads and bullfrogs) and lighting them :-( ! They need to know more so they dont do these things. I wish they felt some of the pain of the frog when they did this. ( not to die like the frog, but feel major pain )
-Paul
 

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I'm certainly indebted to many electronic mentors like Mike Shrom, Chuck Powell, Tor Linbo, Christina Hanson and many other frognetters.

I don't think Tor is on this board but he has made a lot of good suggestions about the mentorship aspects of the hobby. I tend to agree that we don't need a formal system in general but the context that I brought it up in the other thread was in regard to how best place new and difficult species and morphs into the hands of qualified froggers to give the new frogs the best chance of getting established in the hobby. There is the falconry model where you work your way through the ranks with experience and as you gain skill, you also gain the right to maintain increasingly rare animals. Another model is the Aquatic Conservation Network where an application is made to participate in the conservation breeding programs and you need two recommendations from other members to qualify (plus a favorable review of the application itself). Obviously these are both favorable processes and that's where I start worrying about elitism.

But to fill in a bit about why I think about such things. As some of you know, I work for a major conservation organization. I can see the potential for some innovative partnerships between conservation groups and hobbyists that would serve conservation goals by putting animals into the hands of qualified hobbyists for captive breeding. Additionally, there may some day be a potential of being able to work with zoos and such in conservation breeding programs. However, none of these things will happen through the current importation and regular hobby practices. No professional organization is going to support putting new or rare frogs into the hands of hobbyists ill-equiped to breed them. So for the sake of fantasy, let's suppose through some conservation activity, 100 lehmani were going to become available to start a captive breeding program including private hobbyists. What would be the best way to decide who the best hobbyists for those frogs would be? Would there be interest in the hobby for such a program (I don't mean interest in lehmani, I know that answer, but is there interest in a program that would qualify hobbyists for these opportunities). Would there be interest even if the prospect of getting cool new frogs were only hypothetical? Or would interest only appear if the prospect of getting something like lehmani became real?

I would hate to see the hobby get all rigid and regulated. I love the free-wheeling nature of things. But I also think there has to be a better way of bringing in stuff that we don't have a good handle on how to maintain and breed than the current system of frogs going to anyone with a fistfull of cash.
 

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bbrock said:
What would be the best way to decide who the best hobbyists for those frogs would be? Would there be interest in the hobby for such a program (I don't mean interest in lehmani, I know that answer, but is there interest in a program that would qualify hobbyists for these opportunities). Would there be interest even if the prospect of getting cool new frogs were only hypothetical? Or would interest only appear if the prospect of getting something like lehmani became real?
So from the silence I assume there is no interest in such a thing.
 

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Brent,

i think there should be interest in such programs, even if they are only hypothetical. However I, like you would worry about the politics, and the elitism involved with implementing it, and detemining who who would be "worthy" or experienced enough to work with lehmanni or other similarily coveted frog.

As you have said before, (more or less) that the largest breeders may not be the best home for some of these specialized species that require more effort, and i agree with you completely here, while no doubt, they could keep these frogs alive and thriving, maybe "they" couldnt afford the time neccesary to play around with various parameters to induce reproduction. I myself know that i wouldnt as much time at the moment as may be neccesary to give lehmanni the attention they deserve.

so based on your falconry model, would their be a governing or regulating body determining this, and how would this be put into practice, through appointments, elections of sorts, self appointments etc. i wouldnt know where to start.

i would hope that if columbia ever opens that the "hobbiest" has a more direct role in the import procedure, i for one wouldnt be too thrilled to see lehmanni on a wholesaler list anytime soon.

How would you handle it Brent if you were responsible for directly importing 100 lehmanni and the distribution of them, Im playing devils advocate here a little, but id like to see where you would go with this because i think you are on to something here.

mark
 

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There definately is some degree of this going on now, in the case of lehmanni, I know 4 keepers who are breeding this species, and only one of them has sold any in the last year or so. And those frogs went to other froggers who were keeping lehmanni but not yet breeding them. Which comes back to regulating responsibly. It is going to take a concerted effort by the frogging community to "manage" what we have now to ensure these frogs will always be in the hobby.

Look at how species come and go, like fashion. Vittatus, azureventris, tricolors, some tincts and auratus morphs. Many froggers acquire a said frog and breed it well, then the hobby is saturated with this frog so breeding is stopped, frogs are sold, neglected, die. Then a few years later no one has them, but everyone seems to want them again.

So with rarer frogs the recipients need to have some qualities like stability and proven care with similar species. OF course this would be more stringent for egg feeders that produce a handful of offspring as opposed to mass spawners like tricolor.

Either way the frogs need to go to the best froggers possible before they are sold to anyone who has the $ to pay for them.

It would be very interesting to have a falconry model adusted to darts as a point of reference.

Just some thoughts
ERIc
 
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Even though I'm new to the hobbie and would basically be shooting myself in the foot. I totally agree because even though I may have the $$ to buy whatever species I know for a fact I don't have any of the experience needed to care for the difficult species. Even though the harder species are what atrracted me to the hobbie I will not get one till I feel extremely comfortably with more common species. Plus the mentor aspect behind it is a great idea. It would also bring this hobbies community that much closer together. Just my thoughts on this any ways
 

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It is a good idea, it would help keep people without the knowledge to care for rarer frogs from getting them which I feel should only be kept by people who have a good chance of breeding the frogs to ensure a larger number of frogs in captivity to prevent them from being gradually lost to the hobby. It is seen with a large number of types of frogs, EricM mentioned quite a few of them. I can't help but think the pumilio recently imported will be passed of as too common, and in a few years you won't be able to find them like Blue Jeans today.
 

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The mentor idea is great. But I think people need multiple mentors, and you don't even need to be called a "mentor." By posting on this board with pictures, suggestions, thoughts and questions you help people out. For example, I consider myself fairly adept at putting together viv's, because that's my favorite part of this hobby (aside from seein the frogs hoppin around them :)) I've studied all of the tanks from the England area and local WADS members aquariums, just for ideas and them put them together with my own style. Then the other day Schism posts his 85g tank and I got so many new ideas I wanted to run to the store and buy more aquariums!

So do I think we need mentors? No. I think that we should have several numbers of local people that we can always count on to help us out with. Weither it's discussing tank building ideas, or help with a food crisis :wink: .
 
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I have had several mentors that have taught me alot and shared their experiances and opinions with me. I credit them for what I have done to be all I can be as a frogger.Just a few that are at the top are: Ben Green, Brent Brock, and Scott Mc Donald.
I also believe that some of the rarer frogs,like lehmanni, should go to people that have paid the dues so to speak and worked their way up to being stable, responsible froggers.
If a captive bred/conservation program did become availiable i would hope the people that are qualified are really concerned about maintaining them and not looking at the dollar signs.
Mark
 

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MPepper said:
How would you handle it Brent if you were responsible for directly importing 100 lehmanni and the distribution of them, Im playing devils advocate here a little, but id like to see where you would go with this because i think you are on to something here.

mark
Somehow I missed that this thread had come back to life but I'm glad that it has. Lot's of great discussion here but since Mark has put me on the spot, I'll start with his question. Bear in mind that I know next to nothing about the nuts and bolts of importation so my rose-colored ideas are certainly far from practical at the current time. There is also a little bit of a Catch-22 problem because in my perfect world, before the importation even took place, we would have an organized system in place in the hobby. So maybe that's a better starting place. Actually, a few dendroboarders and frognetters have been discussing potential breeding guidelines and what kind of system might work for placing frogs with good breeders. The Aquatic Conservation Network (ACN) which is geared mostly toward killifishes has what I think it a really good start. This is quite a bit different from the falconry model which I really don't think is a great fit for the hobby, although there are interesting aspects to it. What the ACN does is they have a committee that controls the business of the group and I believe these committee members are elected by the group itself. The way the breeding network works is that the committee maintains a list of species they feel need the most captive breeding attention and they offer eggs to the group for the cost of shipping. The group retains ownership of the animals and the recipient agrees that once their animals are breeding, they will give the group back the same number of animals that they recieved. Membership in the group is through a fairly detailed application form that outlines a person's experience, training and ability. In addition, the applicant is required to get the signatures of two group members who will vouch for the applicant. This last step is the extent of any formal mentor requirement. I don't know the details of how the committee decides whether to accept or deny applications but I do know that participation in the group comes in stages. A new member is qualified for certain species and as they gain experience and recognition, you move up a tier to more challenging or rare species. It's important to note that this is all voluntary. No killifish cops bust down doors if a non-member is caught with a killifish. But if someone wants to participate in the breeder exchange, then they have to play by the rules. Seems like a pretty good carrot to me.

So assuming we had an ACN style breeder's network in place, here's how I think the perfect lehmani importation would go down. The committee would contact a local conservation organization working in Colombia (don't laugh, we have people working there!) and explain what they are wanting to do and why. It would take a bit of back scratching but hopefully the committee could get a conservation organization to bite. The cons. organization's job would be to oversee the collection to make sure it is done in an ethical, sustainable, and appropriate manner. They would dictate who, when, where, and how for collection. They would also figure out what would come out of the exportation that would benefit their conservation goals. That could just be a cut from the sale of he frogs. It's likely the conservation group wouldn't actually want to go into the business of exporting so hopefully the cons. org. and the committee would work together to locate an exporter that would work with them and play within the rules. Then, of course, prices would need to be negotiated and once that was finished, the committee could go back to the group and solicit applicants. The list of qualified members would be given the details of the importation and how much is was going to cost a member to get in on the action (we wouldn't be talking free frogs here). Once preliminary orders were placed by the members, the committee would determine whether the deal was a go. If it was a go, then a group member with experience handling importations would be designated to coordinate with the exporter, receive the shipments, inspect the animals, and redistribute the shipments to the end purchasers. Of course those purchasers being respected members would have their quarantine vivs already prepared and meds on hand to do whatever their experience has taught them to do. Needless to say that part of the group activities and responsibilities is tracking where the animals go and agreeing to genetic exchange as animals begin to breed.... which the WILL because everything has been so well planned ;-)

I've got some thoughts about some of the other discussion but this post has rambled on long enough and it's getting late. Maybe I'll chime in again tomorrow.
 

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A few more thoughts on this discussion. Eric mentioned the problem of frogs gaining and losing in popularity and dropping out after they get labled as "mundane". We've all seen this happen with various frogs: tricolor, vents, imitator, and others. Amazingly, I haven't heard anyone talking about breeding bri bri pumilio lately so are they next? Aside from setting up a more formal breeding exchange as previously described. One way we can fight against loss in the hobby is for individual hobbyists to take "ownership" of one or more common species or morphs. Mark Wilson has mentioned that he is concentrating on green pumilio because they may lose their appeal as 'sexier' morphs become more common. I grabbed onto the thin-striped vittatus after I heard that Mike Shrom got rid of his breeding group. I also grabbed some bicolor when the great wave of terribilis hit the shores because I was sure they would fade away. Luckily, they didn't. Tor's collection is a treasure trove of forgotten species and morphs and he takes particular pride in safeguarding these frogs for the hobby. Eric and many others are also doing their part to safeguard particular species or morphs. To me, ownership of a species or morph means that they become permanent breeding fixtures in your collection and you try to monitor who else is breeding that species or morph. My rule of thumb is that I like to see at least 3 hobbyists regularly producing offspring of a particular frog type. This lets any of the hobbyists increase or decrease their efforts in breeding the frogs according to demand and their own time restrictions without worrying that if their frogs don't breed for awhile, then that type could become lost to the hobby. A lot of people are doing this kind of informal conservation but it would be nice to have a system to be able to identify those types that are at risk so that somebody can take "ownership" before it is too late.

Also, we've beat around the bush a little at the qualifications that would be required to "qualify" for the difficult frogs. This is impossible to say because people come to the hobby with lots of different skills. Some people have experience from other hobbies such as fish, others have professional training in biology or similar. Others have years and years of experience with PDF. And still others just have a natural gift for doing this type of thing. I've seen people with seemingly perfect backgrounds fail at the hobby and others with little background at all become expert within just a couple years. I think stability and discipline have already been mentioned and ultimately these are the qualifications that I think all the long term successful froggers have in common. We wouldn't want to try to establish captive groups of difficult frogs by sending them to people likely to only stay in the hobby for a few years. And a big red flag to me is a collection that grows too fast. Large collections are fine but successful ones are built up over many years. So to me people who can pace themselves and be honest about how much time they have available to give to their frogs is a real asset. This lets each hobbyist reach their optimum peak collection size without catastrophic crashes. Whether that peak is 5 or 155 vivaria is less important than how the hobbyist came to that peak. And while years of experience in the hobby is important, the most important thing would be putting the establishing frogs with hobbyists who WILL be in the hobby for a long time and who are able to honestly assess whether they have the space, time, skills, and resources to have success with a difficult species.
 

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BRent touched on qualifications and I agree with the thoughts there. When I mention stability with frogs, my own experience is my point of reference. When I was younger I bought everything in sight and had a great collection, bred most frogs I'd kept more than a year, but the main problem in So. California is the heat in the summer. The list of frogs I lost to heat would make anyone cringe. But I was living with irresponsible roomates, inadequate air conditioning, and relocating every other year. So the frogs never had a long period to settle in. Now that I have rooted myself to a location I feel more confident at expanding my collection again.

Another good indicator of a frogger is the condition of the frogs they sell, and this is where the shows like frogday and Nwff are valuable. People who bring thin undersized frogs can't hide that fact on the table. John Rillamas had superb frogs at the last frogday, large thick legged, well fed frogs for sale, almost all "common" species. That tells you a lot about how well the frogs are cared for and raised.

Another thing to consider is the influx of new frogs into the recipients collection. Is this person adding wc frogs? Does this person practice adequate quarantine. Would you send a cb pair of lehmanni to a collection that just acquired a bunch of wc trivittatus from Suriname? Is it worth the risk?

Does the recipient wash his hands after touching the inside of a tank, before getting into another tank. THese are things that hopefully would come to light when a person was soliciting the approval of others to vouch for him/her, to be accepted by the board.

Consider having a frogger come to see your collection, someone you respect and who's approval is meaningful. This might provide motivation to improve in the areas of husbandry that are lacking or substandard.

In the long run committed froggers would be accepted, they would work at it and earn it in time. The flash in the pan people or the ones who get a high at having the only pair of x frog will go away.

Once a person qualifies and is elgible for a more difficult species, and their turn comes up, they should be required to purchase the frogs for a set price, and in return they must provide the same amount of offspring to the next elgible person at the same set price. For most of us paying for something deepens the committment for it.

Just some more thoughts
ERic
 

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It's interesting that this should be posted, when almost all of you on this thread are "mentors" to most of us younger froggers. I appreciate all of the help I've recieved on this forum, it's a great place to learn.

I especially thank Ben, the ladies of QC, and Mr. Novy, etc.
 
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I agree with Brent and Eric.It would be great if other followed suite and found their own "special" frogs to work with.
Picking Shepherds Island green pums was an easy thing for me.
I had wanted them since Sept 2003 so I got on a list. While I was waiting I bought a rack, 20highs and made them into vert tanks, bought a misting system, built a hood and bought a 96 watt comapct flourescent kit from AH.
I had them planted and ready. In about March of 2004 I asked the breeder how they were doing and he said he wasn't getting good production so he was holding back any he produced.
I understood but was kind of crushed. It made me hunt harder for them
I found a couple people that were breeding them and eventually ended up with 3 .I bought one more out to NWFF so in Augest I had 4.By November I could tell I had a 3.1 I was going to trade a guy a male for a female but he was getting out of the hobby so he sent me her.
It took me 11 months but I finally had 5 of them. Don't even try and ask me if any are for sale,LOL.
In that span of 11 months I got a deeper appreciation for finding a rare or maybe a less worked with frog. I will do my best to safeguard them in the hobby for the future.
Mark W.
 

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Mentoring...

I think as a breeder, it is our 'duty' to mentor less experienced froggers. It is great to get an email, pm, phone call or instant message from a customer/friend when they breed their first frogs.

We have the collection we do today because of the friendships (professional & personal), networking within the community and mentoring relationships we have built.

Another important part of mentoring is what we, established breeders, learn from newbies!

When a mentor or mentoree (is that the correct word?) are willing to learn and share, the hobby growns!
 

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I thought I would pop this thread back onto the radar. I would just like to know how many people think they would participate in an ACN style breeders exchange/network if it were developed?
 
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Brent,
You can count me in.It would be great to be able to track down others that are working with the same species or morphs by going to one source instead of having to ask around.
Mark W.
 
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