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Here's how some Kansas Citians celebrate their leap day birthdays on Feb. 29

Becky Janzen celebrates her 18th leap birthday with the dress that she wore at her first leap birthday.
Becky Janzen
Becky Janzen celebrates her 18th leap birthday with the dress that she wore at her first leap birthday.

Leap day babies, also known as leaplings, celebrate their true birthdays once every four years. A panel of leaplings joined Up To Date to discuss how they commemorate their special days.

Becky Janzen was born in 1952. But this year she’s celebrating her 18th leap birthday with a retro senior prom theme complete with two ‘50s classics: maraschino cherry cake and doo-wop.

Max Sheffield is the parent of a leap baby born in 2020. While they and their co-parent typically celebrate their son’s birthday on separate days, leap day requires an adjustment.

“I co-parent my son, so it was kind of up in the air,” Sheffield said. “In our parenting plan, I had to explain to the attorneys, ‘We need special rules on leap years.’”

Although leaplings get plenty of attention on Feb. 29, which only appears on the calendar every four years, so do leaping animals, such as frogs and toads.

Kansas City Zoo CEO Sean Putney used the day to spotlight amphibian conservation. Two out of every five amphibian species is threatened with extinction, but the zoo is promoting awareness and helping to revive an endangered species.

The Wyoming Toad population nearly went extinct in the 1990s due to habitat decline and toxic pesticides. Now, the Kansas City Zoo is a part of an effort to breed and reintroduce the species to its native habitat.

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When I host Up To Date each morning at 9, my aim is to engage the community in conversations about the Kansas City area’s challenges, hopes and opportunities. I try to ask the questions that listeners want answered about the day’s most pressing issues and provide a place for residents to engage directly with newsmakers. Reach me at steve@kcur.org or on Twitter @stevekraske.
Claudia Brancart is an Up To Date producer for KCUR 89.3. She graduated from Pitzer College in Los Angeles where she majored in World Literature and Studio Art. You can reach her at claudiab@kcur.org.
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