Volunteers Needed to Help with Frog Census; Three Training Sessions Upcoming in March

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk needs “citizen-scientist” volunteers for a ribbeting project that will reveal important details and trends about our local frog and toad populations.

An army of trained volunteers is needed to collect local data for a national program called “FrogWatch USA.” The local effort is a collaboration between The Maritime Aquarium, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and Yale’s Peabody Museum of Natural History in New Haven.

Although it’s called “FrogWatch,” volunteers are asked to listen, not to watch, and to report what they hear.

You don’t have to know anything about frogs and toads and their different calls to sign up. That will be taught during upcoming training sessions at each of the local institutions:

• Wed., March 4 at The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

• Fri., March 6 at Yale University’s Class of 1954 Environmental Science Center

• Fri., March 13 at Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo

Each training is from 7 to 9 p.m. You only need to attend one. The trainings are free to members of the three organizations, or $10 for non-member families.

“FrogWatch” volunteers must Kermit … er, commit to make regular 15-minute visits to a waterway or wetlands in their neighborhood a half-hour after sunset once or twice each week this spring and summer. During these listening sessions, volunteers are asked to log the different kinds of frogs they hear making calls.

“Ideally, where volunteers listen should be convenient to their homes,” said Bridget Cervero, manager of the Aquarium’s Citizen Science programs. “Anyone who lives within earshot of a pond or stream could even do this from their yard, deck or porch.”

Kids can help, but older children are recommended because, in summer, a half-hour after sunset can be after 9 p.m.

“FrogWatch USA” is a national citizen-science program of the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) to help understand trends in frog and toad populations. These creatures play an important role in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. Many previously abundant frog and toad populations have experienced dramatic declines both in the United States and around the world, and data collected through “FrogWatch” help scientists understand the scope, geographic scale and cause of these declines.

Advance registration is required for the trainings. Sign up and get more details at www.maritimeaquarium.org/citizen-science.


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