Through a Frog's Eyes
by April Yang and Frances Kwong
Animated Version


It was a lazy summer afternoon. The air was hot and stuffy. Little Pacifica Frog went to visit her grandmother at Mission Creek. Grammy lived in the most lush and  greenest plants under a tangled sycamore tree.  Frogs prefer the refreshing water under the sycamore trees to the spicy, stagnant pool around the eucalyptus trees.

Knock, knock,“ Is anybody home?" croaked Little Pacifica. "Coming, coming!" Grammy said hoarsely.  She unfastened a piece of grass that held the door closed on her tule house. Little Pacifica hopped in happily. Pacifica lives downstream with her family in a nearby lagoon, but during the summer it gets real hot. 

Pacifica, I missed you so much!" exclaimed Grammy. She proceeded to give Pacifica a sticky froggy kiss and handed her a chilled FrogAde. "You only visit me because it’s nice and wet here with all these oaks and sycamores giving us shade," teased Grammy. "Not true," said Little Pacifica, "I’m here because you promised to tell me the story of Mission Creek, remember?" 

"That’s right!" Grammy exclaimed.  "For as long as I can remember, I have lived in Mission Creek. Back in the old days, I used to live in a newspaper stand. It was stuck in the mud, but it was the only shady place so  I made a home out of it. Back then, the creek was in terrible shape. The creek banks were eroded so us creek critters always had a difficult time getting around. During the floods, we'd always have to scramble out of the creek because debris would hit us." 

"That's scary. You could have been killed," said Little Pacifica. "You're right," Grammy continued on, " There were so many eucalyptus trees that wildflowers and green bushes couldn’t grow. Without these, life was hard for us frogs, reptiles, insects, and birds. My friend, Bitsy Bee was so upset that there were no flowers to make honey, she left with a long hmmmm.  Many creatures left."

Moving cut logs and replacing
with large boulders

"That is sad Grammy."  Little Pacifica interrupted, "No friends to play with." "The pre-restoration days were lonely." sighed Grammy, " I remember a time when I couldn’t hear any birds singing. The only birds around were the turkey vultures and they don’t sing. The turkey vultures loved the high trees, and they would soar on the wind. They just look for dead animals to feast on. So it was just a few of us miserable frogs, croaking the blues." 

Pacifica was taking a big gulp of the FrogAde when Grammy suddenly yelled, "Do you know why the creek was in such bad condition?" Grammy’s voice had been so loud that she scared the FrogAde right out of Pacifica's hand. It hit her sticky webbed feet with a big splash. 

Mission Creek with coir logs in the
right to protect erosion of the bank

Grammy angrily croaked on, "Many suns ago, there appeared some colorful giants. They built homes and grew orchards. They didn't think about the creek critters and what we needed to survive. Many creek critters left for wetter areas." 

"Is that so?" Little Pacifica was surprised by the story. Grammy went on, "The giants’ selfish use of the water and paving of the ground with concrete and asphalt caused erosion. It narrowed the creek channels in some places and caused deep gullies. The erosion caused the water to become murky and choked with silt. I don't know how I survived all those years in that newspaper stand." 

"The giants finally got the hint that our creek needed some help. They called it “restoration” and asked us to leave for a little while. I gladly packed my bags and hopped away for a few months. Some of those resourceful giants were able to get money to fix our creek and help us creek critters." 

"When I returned, the creek gently meandered instead of flowing right through, so the water went slower and we could actually cross the creek. They put coir logs, straw wattles, and large boulders called rip-rap in special places to control the erosion, sediment, and storm run off." 

They removed many of the eucalyptus trees, but left some behind for the turkey vultures, so they’d  still have homes. Now the vultures have a better view of us, so you'd better watch out when you are out there playing." 

Removing the non-native
Eucalyptus trees

"Thank you for warning me, Grammy," Little Pacifica nervously croaked. "Life is still hard," Grammy went on, " Now all of the creek critters can share in our beautiful creek. We can enjoy the new trees that are like the ones that were here long before the giants came." 

Pacifica was so proud of Grammy. Her Grammy was the only frog she knew that had seen the effects of the restoration firsthand. Pacifica decided to spend the summer with Grammy, so she could learn all about the trees, shrubs and other creek critters. Best of all, it was always nice and cool in Mission Creek.

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