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Intersection: The Kindgdon Keepers, Studying Lightning & Battling The Toxic Bufo Toad

For 15 years, author Ridley Pearson has been going behind the scenes at Disney World, doing research for his series of adventure novels for young readers called "The Kingdom Keepers." Pearson says the series has given him a view of Disney that not many visitors to the theme park get to see.

A conversation with Ridley Pearson about how writing for kids has sharpened his skills in other genres. And we’ll chat about the supergroup he’s in-- writers like Stephen King and Amy Tan who get together to play classic rock.

Then, summertime is thunderstorm time. Florida is the lightning capital of the country and according to the National Weather Service, more people die from lightning strikes in Florida each year than any other state. Researcher Amitabh Nag at the Florida Institute of Technology talks about the latest research: what we do -- and don’t -- know about lightning.

And, an invasive cane toad that first appeared in South Florida is hopping North. The Bufo toad which secretes a substance that’s toxic to dogs and cats has been spotted in Central Florida -- and that has pet owners worried. We’ll talk to Jeannine Tilford, a high school science teacher who started toad busters after she realized there was nothing being done to curb the toxic toads. Tilford says her business is growing as the toad population booms.

Brendan Byrne is Central Florida Public Media's Assistant News Director, managing the day-to-day operations of the newsroom, editing daily news stories, and managing the organization's internship program. Byrne also hosts Central Florida Public Media's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration, and the weekly news roundup podcast "The Wrap."