Local foundation fights to save disappearing frogs: A famous frog once sang, “It’s not easy bein’ green.” But even he probably had no idea just how difficult life would become for amphibians.
“43-percent of the world’s amphibians are either already extinct or declining, and that’s just a huge number,” says Mark Mandica, co-founder of The Amphibian Foundation. Statistics like that are why Mandica and his wife created the foundation, which is housed at Buckhead’s Blue Heron Nature Preserve. The Amphibian Foundation partners with agencies across the country in the fight to help frogs, salamanders, and caecilians (limbless amphibians) survive. “There have been multiple causes identified,” Mandica says of the reasons amphibians are disappearing. “Habitat loss is huge, there’s not as much habitat as there was for them. The habitat that remains, a lot of times, is contaminated, so that’s another cause.”
A top priority for Mandica and his team is the Frosted Flatwoods Salamander. The speckled creatures have experienced a 90-percent loss in population since the year 2000. “They used to be common throughout the whole coastal plain, and now are restricted to a couple of clusters of puddles.” The hope is that captive salamanders at The Amphibian Foundation will breed, and eventually be released back into the wild.
But one of the major challenges for the foundation, Mandica says, is getting more people on-board with the mission. That’s why he says the foundation is excited to be taking part in this year’s Atlanta Science Festival, a two-week long celebration of science throughout Metro Atlanta. The Amphibian Foundation will be hosting several events for the public during the festival run, and a full list of events may be found here.
The Good Day Atlanta feature team spent the morning inside The Amphibian Foundation, getting a look at the incredible work being done there…not to mention the fascinating animals being cared for inside.
"MasterChef Junior" contestants stop by Good Day Atlanta: Season 7 of "MasterChef Junior" kicks off tonight on FOX 5 and this season seven contestants are from Georgia. Two of those contestants, Brielle and Aaron, stop by Good Day Atlanta to show off their culinary skills and demonstrate how to cook up pan seared scallops with cauliflower puree and baby spinach with pomegranate sauce.. For more information on "MasterChef Junior," click here. For today's pan seared scallops with cauliflower puree and baby spinach with pomegrante sauce see below.
PAN SEARED SCALLOPS WITH CAULIFLOWER PUREE AND BABY SPINACH WITH POMEGRANATE SAUCE
4 Serving, Prep Time 15 Minutes, Total Time 45 Minutes
12 fresh or frozen Scallops
3 teaspoons of Olive oil
Kosher Salt to taste
1 tablespoon of Minced Garlic
Dusting of Pepper
For Spinach with Pomegranate Sauce:
¾ cup 100% pomegranate juice
2 tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
¾ teaspoon cornstarch
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
¼ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 10 oz. fresh baby spinach
¼ pomegranate seeds
Pinch of Kosher salt
For Cauliflower Puree:
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 head of cauliflower, trimmed and cut into florets
1 cup of Heavy Cream
1 cup of Chicken Stock
Kosher Salt to taste
In large saucepan, melt butter over medium high heat. Add garlic and cook. Do not let the garlic brown. Add cauliflower, cream and stock. Cover bring to a simmer, and cook, adjusting heat to maintain simmer, until cauliflower is tender, 5-6 minutes. Uncover and continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is reduced by three-quarters. Use a blender and blend hot cauliflower and liquid for a very smooth puree. Season with salt to taste. Put in a squeeze bottle and squeeze circles on the inside of plate.
For sauce, in a medium saucepan combine pomegrante juice, honey, coriander, and cinnamon; bring to boiling over medium-high heat. In as all bowl combine lemon juice and cornstarch; stir into boiling juice mixture. Gently boil, uncovered, about 10 minutes or until reduced and slightly syrupy. Put in a squeeze bottle and squeeze circles on the inside of plate.
In an extra-large nonstick skillet heat 1 teaspoon of the oil over medium-high heat to heat the skillet. Sprinkle scallops with kosher salt and pepper. When skillet is very hot, add garlic and scallops; cook for 1-2 minutes no more than 2 minutes to avoid rubbery texture (the scallops should be well seared with a brownish color on both sides or just until scallops are opaque in the center). Transfer scallops of four each on top of circles on plates.
Add spinach in batches; toss for 1to 2 minutes or just slightly wilted with bright green color. Season with pinch of salt and black pepper.
Drizzle with sauce and sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.