Listen for Frogs, Become a Citizen Scientist!
Not long from now, local ponds, wetlands, and vernal pools will be teeming with life. Teetering somewhere between ice-crusted and mucky as of late, these aquatic habitats are home to a variety of fascinating species – including many types of frogs! As the landscape awakens, families can prepare for the appearance of local amphibian species by learning to identify common species, exploring the life cycle of amphibians, and engaging in citizen science opportunities.
Hibernating amphibians rise from their icy winter sleep on the first rainy night when the temperature rises above 40 degrees. Known sometimes as “the big night,” this occasion is cause for celebration – and for science. Families can serve as salamander crossing guards, helping the creatures to reach their breeding pools and taking part in citizen science at the same time.
Another important opportunity for citizen science is offered by FrogWatch, a frog-monitoring program that has utilized citizen science to collect important data for over 15 years. Adults can train to take part in the FrogWatch program with Mass Audubon, who will offer a frog-centric program at Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary at 6pm on Friday, March 4, 2016. Arcadia’s FrogWatch training will teach participants how to identify frog species based on their calls, allowing them to collect data on the populations found in local wetlands. Data collection for FrogWatch takes place between February and August, and generates information that will be used to help conserve amphibian species.
While the Arcadia program is designed for adults, the FrogWatch program is a perfect project for families. With the help of an adult, children of any age can learn to listen for the sounds of frogs and can tune in to the seasonal changes that help to dictate amphibians’ behavior. Further information, as well as data from past years’ collections, is available from Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Happy ponding!