By donating just a few minutes each week, "citizen scientists" can help the Saint Louis Zoo stop amphibian decline. FrogWatch USA™ is partnering with the zoo to train volunteers in the St. Louis area to monitor frogs and toads in parks, fields and even backyards.
Those interested in frogs and toads are invited to attend a training session, where they'll learn how to monitor a site near their home through frogs' breeding season. Volunteers are asked to make a commitment to monitor a site of their choosing for at least three minutes twice a week throughout the frogs' breeding season, which ranges from about February to August. No expertise is needed, and volunteers do not need to touch or even see the frogs. The information gathered will help lead to practical and workable ways to stop amphibian decline.
"In just a couple of hours, we will train you to distinguish the croaks, peeps and various calls of the 10 most common frog and toad species around the St. Louis area," said Michael Dawson, education naturalist at the zoo and coordinator of the St. Louis chapter of FrogWatch USA. "Breeding calls vary greatly and are often mistaken for birds or insects. Their volume ranges from a soft musical trill to a deafening chorus."
FrogWatch will offer training sessions Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Broemmelsiek Park (1795 Highway DD, Defiance, MO, 63385). FrogWatch will also offer training sessions Tuesday, March 31, Tuesday, April 7 and Tuesday, April 14 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Shaw Nature Reserve (Highway 100 and I-44, Gray Summit, MO, 63039). Registration for training is requested. The program is designed for adults, families and high school students.
FrogWatch USA is the Association of Zoos and Aquariums' flagship citizen science program. It allows individuals and families to learn about the wetlands in their communities and help conserve amphibians by reporting the calls of local frogs and toads. For more information and to hear frog calls, visit www.stlzoo.org/frogwatch or www.aza.org/frogwatch. For more information about training, contact Michael Dawson at [email protected] or 314-646-4551.
The Saint Louis Zoo is located at One Government Dr., St. Louis, MO, 63110.