Take advantage of Daylight Saving Time, and "Spring Forward" for amphibians through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) FrogWatch USATM citizen science program! Celebrate the season 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? Amphibians play an important role in the health of ecosystems, but more than 1/3 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.
“Frogs, toads, and other amphibians are sensitive to changes in the environment and therefore act as environmental indicators for factors that could negatively impact ecosystem and human health,” said Rachel Gauza, AZA’s Education and Outreach Coordinator. “The data collected by FrogWatch USA volunteers can be used to help understand the scope and geographic scale of amphibian declines and inform conservation and management efforts.”
FrogWatch USA data are readily accessible online by anyone with an interest in frogs and toads. Developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society, this online site allows people to register new sites and record observations easily, while using maps and graphs to examine observations alongside those of volunteers throughout the country.
Volunteers participating in FrogWatch USA do not have to be a frog or toad expert to make an important contribution. More than 125 FrogWatch USA chapters across the nation--many of which are hosted by AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums--are available to train and support anyone interested in helping out. Volunteers can join a local chapter and learn how to identify frogs and toads by their unique breeding calls, select a wetland monitoring site, and collect and submit the observations. If a nearby chapter is not available or if it has been a while since someone last participated, they are still welcome to join the FrogWatch USA community. Online courses are available to help.
Individuals can also kick off Daylight Saving Time by “leaping" into FrogWatch USA online community on Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, and SoundCloud. Then, they can volunteer to lend an ear for wood frog, species in the Pacific Treefrog complex, and other early season breeders like Spring Peepers, Upland Chorus Frogs, and Southern Leopard Frogs that can be heard in this audio recording. Celebrate the sounds of spring!
Learn more about FrogWatch USA and how you can participate by visiting 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 seven 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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