FrogWatch USATM is AZA’s citizen science program that invites individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads. For more than ten years, volunteers have been trained how to collect and contribute data to this nationwide program that can be used to help develop strategies for the conservation of these important species. FrogWatch USA spans the United States and offers more than 100 chapters nationwide.
You may be wondering, “why frogs?” Well, frogs are sensitive to changes in the environment and serve as an indicator of overall environmental health. They also play an important role as predators and prey in the ecosystem and help to control mosquitos and other pest insects. Long revered by people, frogs have symbolized fertility in ancient Egypt, luck in Japan, rain gods for some Native Americans, and we can’t forget to mention Kermit the Frog’s status as a modern-day celebrity. But now, more than ever, it is critically essential that scientists understand the distribution and seasonal timing of frog behavior. Frogs and toads are declining both in the U.S. and around the globe and you can help by becoming a citizen scientist.
How does citizen science help? Citizen science is a collaborative effort between professional researchers and the general public to answer scientific questions which require long-term or large-scale research — and more data than just one researcher could collect. The data collected by citizen scientists provide information about the world around us: supplying evidence about species distribution and identifying population and range changes happening to some wildlife. By becoming a FrogWatch USA volunteer, you will get training at your local chapter to distinguish and identify frog and toad calls and rate the calling intensity of each species. Then go right to your own backyard or community wetland to listen to calls and submit your data online.
Many frogs and toads announce the arrival of spring, but other species call and breed in the summer. In between barbeques and sporting events, we invite you to listen for frogs and toads like this of a Cope’s Gray Treefrog call heard in July of last year in Maryland!
Listening for just 3 minutes an evening as often as you can at a wetland from spring through summer yields the important data needed to document frogs and toads and examine changes over time. Locate a chapter near you or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to become a FrogWatch USA volunteer today!