Building safe environments

Ridgecrest Academy started the year with some unusual new friends, thanks to dedicated nature lovers Ryan D’Acquisto, Michael Helwig, Ciara Santangello and Elijah Zicari.  The four students worked together to create a vivarium for several new resident frogs. The vivarium, a glass-enclosed environment filled with tropical mosses and plants, was built with the help of Student Behavioral Assistant Eric Warren. Warren has a background in science, animal husbandry and art; he helped construct the frog environments at Seneca Park Zoo. 

“We had to prepare the aquarium and used spray foam, wood and silicone to create the realistic background,” said D’Acquisto. “We learned about biology and decomposition. In order to mix the food properly to raise the fruit flies the frogs will eat, we had to learn about math and ratios.” 

The vivarium includes safe places for the frogs to hide and a small, relaxing water feature. It resides in the school’s library, where students can also take a quiet moment to commune with the tenants during busy days. Classes rotate the responsibility of caring for the small amphibians.