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Frogs Are Disappearing. How You Can Help

Green Frog

Green frog photograph courtesy of Flickr user e_monk

It happens suddenly every year. One day my backyard universe is still and silent, cushioned in layers of snow and populated by snoozing critters. Then there’s a stray peep. (Did I hear that? I ask myself. No, too soon.) Then another. (Could it be?) Then an explosion of partying peepers. (Yay! Spring!) I love frogs, and not just because they’re welcome harbingers of sunnier days. I can’t seem to pass one without wanting to scoop it up, say hello, run a finger down its slippery skin. But will these chance meetings become fewer and farther between? According to FrogWatch USA, a citizen science program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums,”Many previously abundant populations have experienced dramatic population declines in the United States and around the world.”

So FrogWatch is looking for volunteers to help with their frog and toad monitoring program, which tracks variations in the populations and habitat use of our amphibious friends. Think you have to be an expert to help out? Nope. There’s just one four-hour primer covering the frogs and toads found in our region and how to identify their distinct calls, as well as standard protocol for monitoring and reporting. Then volunteers make a few evening visits to a local wetland of their choosing during breeding season.

If you want to join up, a free training session is happening this Saturday at Up Yonda Farm, in Bolton Landing. (Naturalists at Up Yonda will also be available for support and further training throughout the season.) The frog-finding workshop runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; to register call (518) 644-9767 or email Karin Badey at kbadey@warrencountydpw.com. Learn more about FrogWatch USA at www.aza.org/frogwatch.

If you miss out this weekend, there’s another opportunity to put your citizen scientist cap on—the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry’s Adirondack Interpretive Center, in Newcomb, is offering a Wetland Detectives Training Workshop on May 30, starting at 9 a.m. Billed as an “opportunity to learn about the natural world and help protect it as well,” this program teaches greenhorns how to collect and report vital information on wetland plants, birds and amphibians. To register, call 518-582-2000 or email aic@esf.edu.

 

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