Grandfather Frog in "Algae Seeing You"

It was springtime, and Old Mr. Sun was high in the sky, warming the land.

Billy Mink came down to the Smiling Pool to cool off. He climbed up the big rock, which makes a great place to dive into the water. Billy looked down at where the Laughing Brook bubbled and splashed down into the Smiling Pool. He raised his arms to make a big dive.

"Stop!" shouted a voice. It was Grandfather Frog, who was sitting on his lily pad.
"Don't swim in the water!" he said loudly. "There's something wrong with it today."

"But I love to swim!" said Billy Mink. Grandfather frog pointed to a blue-green film on the top of the pond.

Just then Ryder Rabbit came down to the pool with his favorite cup, which had a picture of little people on it. He went to fill his cup from the water.

"Stop!" shouted Grandfather Frog. "Do not drink the water."

"But I am so thirsty!" said Ryder Rabbit. "I was raised to drink 3 big cups of water a day! Grandfather frog pointed to a blue-green film on the top of the pond.

Just then Reddy Fox came to the edge of the pond. Ryder Rabbit hid behind a bush. Reddy had his fishing pole. He cast his line into the pond, licking his lips and thinking of a big fat fish.

"Stop!" shouted Grandfather Frog. "Do not fish in the water." Grandfather frog pointed to a blue-green film on the top of the pond. "This blue-green film on the top of the pond is called blue-green algae. I call it pond scum. You can not drink it. You can not swim in it. You can not even touch it, or you might get sick!"

Ryder popped his head out from behind the bush and asked, "What is algae?"

Grandfather Frog answered, "Algae are kind of plants, they are always here in the rivers and lakes in nature. But these big dangerous algae blooms happen when different nutrients are put into the water. Sometimes human beings let farm fertilizer or household detergent or lawn chemicals or greywater or wastewater go into the pond. The algae likes it – but the algae is dangerous for animals and people.

BIlly pouted, "But I love swimming!" Reddy said, "But I love fishing!" Ryder said: "And we all need water!"

Grandfather Frog rolled up his sleeve and said, "Well this algae bloom will go down again, but we'll have to make some changes to what goes into our brook and into our pond!"

Ryder looked sadly at his cup: he was thirsty. He tipped it up and two lonely drops splashed out. When could he drink from the Smiling Pond again?

Did You Know?

Did you know that frogs are often used by people to check on pollution levels? Frogs are small, they live in tbe water, and they have highly permeable skin. Permeable means things can permeate – or get through - it. Water permeates the frog's skin and if the water is polluted, the pollution can affect the frog's health. Also, frogs lay their eggs in water, so chemicals in the water can cause problems that we can see in their children – the next generation of frogs.

Learn More about blue-green algae


Health Canada, Government of Canada

Santé et Services sociaux, Gouvernement du Québec

HealthLinkBC, the Government of the Province of British Columbia