Citizen Scientists Needed for “FrogWatch” Training, Feb. 11

What is making that sound in your backyard? The Santa Fe College chapter of FrogWatch USA is looking for fellow amphibian lovers to come out for a training session at the Teaching Zoo where you will learn to identify frogs and toads by learning their breeding calls and sounds. The training is open to everyone, including families.

The data you collect will be scientifically gathered and recorded on a national level. FrogWatch is a “citizen science” program.

“The health of the frogs shows us the health of the environment,” says Tarah Jacobs, conservation education specialist at the Teaching Zoo. “It’s important to understand the trends and keep a census. We especially have large species diversity here in Florida.”

An indicator species gives us signals about climate change, pollution issues, or even an outbreak of disease.

Training details

The training session starts at 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 11 at the Teaching Zoo and is free. Participants will learn what the program is about and will be instructed on the different species of frogs and their calls.

“By the end of the first session, you should be able to recognize the calls, but it does take some practice,” says Jacobs.

Some of the local amphibians you can expect to hear at the Teaching Zoo, and in your own yard, are southern toads, spade foot toads, bull frogs (“berum“), green squirrel tree frogs (pictured), and Cuban tree frogs.

“Cuban tree frogs are actually an invasive species displacing the other native tree frogs,” says Jacobs. “They’ve slowly spread throughout Florida and are even moving up into Georgia.”

Scientists aren’t the only ones who will benefit from your work with FrogWatch.

“It is so fun!” says Jacobs. “You’ll start identifying frogs in your everyday life, wherever you go, and this heightens your awareness.”

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