It has been many months since the last update regarding the top attraction for the Woods and Forests Media Brand, and in this update, we will discuss significant advancements, major setbacks, and a lot to look forward to ahead; if you are new to reading this blog, PA Woods and Forests inc. and Woods and Forests Media are collaborative partners in writing this blog. Woods and Forests Media is a media brand owned by AAron Capouellez and is similar to a streaming service with various shows. The main attraction is the highly anticipated project, The Woods Exhibit. This project has been five years in the making and is nearly complete. The Woods Exhibit will be a 244 Gallon Pennsylvania Woods Vivarium. The enclosure ecosystem will feature American Toads, wood frogs, purple pitcher plants, canyon isopods, and black field ants. Ace, the female American toad, will be the main attraction as the enclosure will be filmed by AAron, and a documentary series will be released featuring the exhibit. AAron described the project as "a childhood dream come true" because he believed this enclosure would have enough space for the animals to display more natural behavior. He enjoys watching this artificial woodland in his bedroom.
The enclosure is supposed to be "the best American toad and wood frog habitat ever." The section will have artificial weather, like rainstorms, fog, cloudy days, warm fronts, cold fronts, and highly anticipated thunderstorms. The enclosure will focus on many topics these species face in the wild, and the subject is introduced into the enclosure for the viewers to observe in the docu-series. Pollution, invasive species, and more topics will be covered inside the enclosure. AAron will film the project with a new camera and lens combination he has never filmed with on the YouTube Channel. The A-camera is his Blackmagic Pocket 6K Cinema Camera with the Laowa 24mm Macro Cine Lens (also used by BBC America.) The B-camera will be the Sony a6300 with two possible lenses, Sony 24mm-240mm and Super Takumar 50 mm. He will have a security camera that will view the enclosure 24/7. There are likely five total cameras that might be used to get the best shot possible.
First things first, Ace, the star of this documentary series, is thriving. She has been waiting for the completion of this enclosure. She was seen by the vet and was described as looking her very best. She is primed and ready for this project to begin. AAron has released short clips featuring her and other creatures in this project. Ace has continued to look impressive through the shorts and reels. She has leveled out at 136g. Ace has been observed grabbing many dubia roaches with her ballistic tongue. She is an impressive hunter, which is not a typical description for an animal many deem lazy and always overweight. Ace looks lean, and she looks the part of an adult female toad.
Can a common toad be the star of a nature series? Ace will be the first toad to attempt to reach new limits for frogs and toads.
The stand has been completed and moved upstairs. Building the stand started in August 2022 and finished in March 2023. The only holdup is the aquarium itself! The first company tasked with building the enclosure fell through. The enclosure was picked up by Fish Tanks Direct in Florida. It was paid off in January and is in talks on the design, but AAron is working on getting the build done as fast as possible. The enclosure is acrylic and will have holes drilled for foggers, misting systems, air holes, and other gadgets. Hopefully, in the next update, the aquarium will be done and on the way to Pennsylvania so we can finally complete this project.
Esther, the female wood frog, has shown more personality as time passes. She is nothing short of an impressive specimen. She is an efficient hunter. Esther has moved in with Ace for the last two months, and it has been fascinating to watch their interaction. Finally, the giant wood frog and the enormous toad entered this enclosure stood face-to-face, and it was an epic moment. Ace outweighs Esther 136g to 29g, so the weight difference is very in favor of Ace. Esther is a very quick frog, and she has used her speed to compete and ensure she gets her share of crickets and other feeders. At first, it looked like this would not work out because Ace dominated, and Esther seemed intimidated by Ace for the first month. Then, something changed, and Esther began forcing her way in front of Ace to get her share of food. Now, the two seem to co-exist. Esther will be a wildcard inside this ecosystem because she is comparable to an average-sized male American toad. She might outcompete the male toad and wood frog.
Sadly, tragedy has stricken us as Pious and Oracle, the male American toad and wood frog, have passed away. Both were seen by the vet multiple times but inevitably passed away. This was a devastating time for AAron because of how much both meant to him. They will both be honored during Frog Week 2023 and kept in The Woods Exhibit. Pious and Oracle were recorded sleeping together and always spending time together in their temporary quarantine. Oracle spent more time with Pious than Esther (his species!) Now Oracle and Pious are side-by-side as their memorials are together.
This loss has been challenging, leaving a hole with no males for either species. Thanks to the state and the Pennsylvania educator permit, AAron can rescue a new male wood frog and an American toad. While this will be emotional, it will allow a frog and a toad to have a second life after they are rescued at some point in Frog Week 2023. Who will be the new additions to the Woods and Forests Community?
We look forward to telling the new stories of the new frog and toad as we grieve and remember Oracle and Pious. The new frog and toad will have the opportunity to continue the work Oracle and Pious started by educating the public and representing their species and genders well. Frog Week 2023 will reveal who will join us.
The other creatures are doing well. The canyon isopod colony from Josh's Frogs has amassed an impressive colony, and they are treated more as pets than a clean-up crew. These massive isopods have quite the appetite! They eat a varied diet, including dead crickets and roaches. The prized plant from the Carnivorous Plant Nursery, the Purple pitcher plant, died back in dormancy, and we were concerned it would join Pious and Oracle, but it has made an inspiring comeback. This pitcher is an older plant and seems to have settled into the room conditions. Will it be able to thrive inside the enclosure? Pitcher plants are notorious for being terrible vivarium inhabitants. AAron is determined to succeed with this plant, showcase it, and give it a spotlight as big as the frogs and toads. The field ants will be used instead of the carpenter ants because the field ants (Formica subsericea) are more generalist and easier to care for. Tar Heel Ants Owner Mack Pridgen is raising their colony and will build a special enclosure to showcase these ants as their colony grows in front of us. These ants are one of the featured creatures and those already mentioned. More will be revealed in the next update. Hopefully, we will have the enclosure, the ants, and the exhibit will be finished.