Monday, February 24, 2014

Frog Watch Training

DSC_0005This past weekend we went to Frog Watch Training which was an awesome experience. In fact, it was my second time to attend. What can I say, I’m a slow learner and need repetitive learning. As many of you know, I usually bring my knitting with me in case I get bored or distracted and I never once pulled out my knitting during the entire session. It was so informative and interesting that I never needed to do anything to help myself focus. Our local chapter is FROGZ for FrogWatch Researchers of Greenville Zoo.

What is Frog Watch USA? It is a long term frog and toad monitoring program. The data collected by citizen scientists describe local species diversity, detect rare and invasive species, suggest shifts in species diversity, range and seasonal timing, and may be an indicator of wetland health.

Here are some other important things I learned in the class:

Citizen science is research collaboration between scientists and volunteers.

DSC_0006Volunteers learn about and explore the nature of science, collect scientific data on frogs and toads, spend time in community wetlands.

They benefit the natural world and humans, predators and prey in the ecosystem, pest control, food, medicine, education and research, culturally significant, serve as indicators of environmental health.

Over the past 20 years, there have been dramatic declines in amphibian populations around the world. See AmphibiaWeb.

DSC_0008Primary causes of decline: Habitat loss, Pollutants, Invasive species, Climate changes, Disease

Types of Wetlands: Marshes, vernal pools, swamps, bogs, fens
Survey site registration:
To find Latitude and longitude, go to
Write in Digital format
Longitude is always negative.

Monitoring protocol: Practice identifying, temperature must be above 35F, Not raining too hard or too windy, monitor 30 minutes after sunset

Recommended Books:
The Calls of Frogs and Toads by Lang Elliot
The Frogs and Toads of North America by Lang Elliott

Wear latex gloves with no powder
No insect repellent

DSC_0003Last year when we were camping I was able to use some of my learning to identify some of the frogs that we heard around us. During class they teach the different frog calls and help you learn how to distinguish between the different calls. I know that it will just take some practice in the same way that it took when I was learning to identify wildflowers.

One of the teachers is going to send out a schedule of when she plans to go out and do some monitoring. We are welcome to meet her there and get experience recording data. I’m really looking forward to doing this and learning. After getting some experience we might be able to do it independently but I know I will need a lot of practice.

There is another training coming up on March 8 from 10-3 at the Greenville Zoo. Here is the form you need to send in if you are interested (Deadline March 3). If you have the time to attend, it is well worth going!

Original photos by Pat Hensley

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