We are a little over halfway through the FrogWatch USA season, but there is still plenty of monitoring to be done by the museum’s volunteers. The VLM FrogWatch chapter has been busy in the field, collecting data across Newport News and South Eastern Virginia with great success! So far over 17 species of frogs and toads have been recorded by VLM volunteers, a number that will likely increase as the season progresses.
Not familiar with the FrogWatch USA program? FrogWatch is a citizen-science program created by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Citizen-science is exactly what it sounds like: a community based study that allows the public to directly input data, thus greatly increasing the area and effectiveness of study! So far, over 150 chapters have been established across 45 states, providing a detailed picture of amphibian distribution and activity in the US. Volunteers of the FrogWatch program are trained to recognize frog species by their breeding calls alone, and in the field they monitor what species are active by listening for those calls! Earlier this month, the VLM chapter recorded the calls of a pine woods treefrog in Gloucester, a species that had never been recorded in the area!
The data collected by FrogWatch volunteers is uploaded to FieldScope, an open-access program that displays every observation from every volunteer and chapter. The data collected on FieldScope has even been used in a variety of studies and land management strategies because it is such an effective means of large-scale population monitoring! Below you can see a map of the VLM’s monitoring sites (each of the frogs represents a site, and the number inside represents the number of frog observations).
Want to learn more about FrogWatch? The Virginia Living Museum is always looking for more volunteers to join the FrogWatch team next season! Stop by the VLM if you are interested in becoming a part of this amazing program! For more information visit https://www.aza.org/frogwatch/ .