Photo by Robin D. Moore

Many science fiction novels commence with a statement articulating that our placid planet is changing, and if there were one little class of creatures that prove this seemingly impossible scenario true it would be the acclaimed climate-indicators: the amphibians.

With “breathable” skin that is also permeable to water, these ostensibly alien creatures, which include frogs, toads, newts, salamanders, and caecillians, remain as one of the most unique and fragile beasts on Earth. 

All amphibians require clean, fresh water, damp habitats, and rich soil in order to lay their eggs. Once their eggs hatch into larvae, they often undergo metamorphosis into a juvenile with gills then into an adult able to breath air with lungs, though most amphibians breathe oxygen more efficiently through their skin.

With temperatures 1.4°F higher, with a ~1.7mm/year increase in ocean levels from 1950-2009, and with the presence of only 27 glaciers rather than the 150 that were present in 1910 at Montana’s Glacier National Park, it remains no startling wonder that 1/3rd of all amphibians are currently at risk of extinction.

Despite the data, we continue to evade the imminent fate of our planet. Although I do not mind change and usually welcome new opportunities, I am a proponent of keeping as many species, including our own, on our planet as much as possible, especially since it appears that the newly invoked changes are the consequences of our own action.

Thus in an effort to help our harbingers of climate change news, a most unlikely crew have come together to bring about one of the most potent awareness initiatives. In support of work by the Smithsonian Institute, International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Conservation International (CI), and the Amphiban Survival Alliance, National Geographic photographer, conservationist, and amphibian project manager for IUCN & CI, Robin Moore, Emmy Award-winning makeup artist Jennifer Aspinall, Academy and Emmy Award-winning special effects makeup artist, Brian Sipe, and myself (a windblown, thrill-driven 23-year-old wildlife conservationist, Cornell University graduate, and current veterinary student at Cornell University) are fighting to save the last remaining amphibians through a compendium of symbolic photographs titled Metamorphosis.

In this visual collection showing that all creatures are the same regardless of changed form, Sipe and Aspinall will be turning me into a series of threatened amphibians. Each look is best described as “high couture fashion meets Julie Maymor meets what would Lady Gaga do if she were a frog?” Moore will then photograph me alongside the actual amphibians, who share our need to save our planet and ultimately ourselves. Each photograph will embody a metaphor to reach Metamorphosis’ objectives.

Together, we all are using our talents to protect the planet and share its beauty with those who have eyes open wide enough to appreciate it.

For more information or to support this initiative, please email

To see more of Gabby Wild’s work:

To support this project on Kickstarter:

To see Robin Moore’s work:


Photo of Robin D. Moore, courtesy of Robin D. Moore