Silver Spring, MD – Take advantage of Daylight Saving Time, and "Spring Forward" for amphibians by becoming a volunteer in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) FrogWatch USATM citizen science program! There’s no better way to celebrate the season than by taking action and engaging in conservation in your community.
FrogWatch USA is dedicated to collecting information about frog and toad populations, raising awareness about amphibians and wetlands, and engaging the public in science. Since 1998, FrogWatch USA volunteers have collected data on the frogs and toads heard calling in their local wetlands during evenings from February through August. Together, these volunteers contribute to a long-term, nationwide effort to gather information on species presence, habitat use, and changes over time.
Why frogs? Frogs and other amphibians play an important role in the health of ecosystems, but more than a third of the world's amphibian species are currently facing the largest mass extinction event since the dinosaurs. Even in the United States, previously abundant amphibian populations have experienced dramatic declines.
“The data collected by FrogWatch USA volunteers can be used to help understand how amphibian populations are changing over time and can inform conservation and management efforts,” said Shelly Grow, AZA’s Director of Conservation Programs. “Furthermore, learning to recognize and identify the frogs and toads calling at night is rewarding in itself and lets you appreciate your community and local wetlands in a whole new way.”
Want to get in on the fun while making a difference? Volunteers participating in FrogWatch USA do not have to be frog or toad experts to make important contributions. 145 FrogWatch USA chapters--many of which are hosted by AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums-- are available across the nation to train and support people interested in becoming involved. Find a chapter near you and learn how to identify frogs and toads by their unique breeding calls, select a wetland monitoring site, and collect and submit the observations. Online courses are available to help people who do not live near a chapter or want a bit of a refresher. By participating in FrogWatch USA, volunteers can lend an ear for Wood Frogs, members of the Pacific Treefrog complex, and other early season breeders like the Spring Peepers, Upland Chorus Frogs, and Southern Leopard Frogs that can be heard in this audio recording.
FrogWatch USA data is accessible online by anyone with an interest in frogs and toads. Visit the website, managed by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study, to register new monitoring sites, record observations, and use maps and graphs to examine observations alongside those of other volunteers throughout the country. “Leap” into FrogWatch USA’s online communities on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and SoundCloud.
Learn more about FrogWatch USA, and how you can participate, by visiting http://www.aza.org/frogwatch.
Founded in 1924, the Association of Zoos and Aquariums is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of zoos and aquariums in the areas of conservation, animal welfare, education, science, and recreation. AZA is the accrediting body for the top zoos and aquariums in the United States and eight other countries. Look for the AZA accreditation logo whenever you visit a zoo or aquarium as your assurance that you are supporting a facility dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great experience for you, and a better future for all living things. The AZA is a leader in saving species and your link to helping animals all over the world. To learn more, visit www.aza.org.
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