Gulfport students work to save the Gopher Frog - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Gulfport students work to save the Gopher Frog

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

Some Gulfport sixth graders are trying to save endangered Mississippi frogs, and hoping to win some prize money at the same time.

Thirty-eight students from Gulfport Central Middle School spent several hours Friday creating a safer habitat for Gopher Frogs. They helped the Nature Conservancy clear underbrush at the Old Fort Bayou Mitigation Bank in Jackson County.

The students will enter the project in the Disney Planet Challenge, which encourages schools to take up local environmental causes.

"They are clearing out the overgrown underbrush because of the deforestation of our Long Leaf Pine, the ground gets overcrowded with smaller species of shrubs and it absorbs the pond that the Gopher Frog needs to breed," science teacher Natasha Mays said. "Not just at the computer and in the class and the research that they actually get to see and make an impact hands-on."

The sixth graders will also harvest and transplant the Long Leaf Pine Trees, and they are using Facebook to encourage the public to change to energy efficient light bulbs.

Their project will be submitted next month. Winners of the Disney Planet Challenge will receive as much as $50,000. The grand prize is a trip to Disney World.

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