Zoo Miamiís Frogwatch USA Chapter
FrogWatch USA is AZAís flagship citizen science program that 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 over ten years, volunteers have been trained to enter their FrogWatch USA information and ongoing analyses of these data have been used to help develop practical strategies for the conservation of these important species.
Frogs and toads have served as important cultural symbols for centuries that can range from symbolizing fertility in ancient Egypt, luck in Japan, and rain gods for some Native American cultures to Kermit the Frogís status as a modern-day celebrity. Frogs and toads have been vitally important in the field of human medicine and compounds from their skin are currently being tested for anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.
Frogs and toads also play an important role, serving as both prey and predator, in wetland ecosystems and are considered indicators of environmental health. Many previously abundant frog and toad populations have experienced dramatic population declines both in the United States and around the world and itís essential that scientists understand the scope, geographic scale, and cause of these declines. Did you know that nearly 1/3 of all amphibian species in the world are threatened and nearly 168 known amphibian species went extinct within the past two decades? The most important factors in the decline have been habitat destruction and diseases such as chytridiomycosis and ranavirus. To find out more about these declines visit these websites:
What is Citizen Science
While an exact definition of citizen science remains elusive, it generally refers to research collaborations between scientists and volunteers that expand opportunities for scientific data collection while also providing access to scientific information for community members. Citizen science programs may be appropriate for supporting research questions that are long-term and/or large-scale in nature, requiring significantly more data than a single researcher or small research team could compile. To date, long-term data collected by citizen scientists has provided evidence about species distribution as well as identified some impacts climate disruption has had on wildlife. Moving forward, as the pace of large-scale ecosystem change increases, data collected by citizen scientists will continue to grow in importance.
Become a FrogWatch USA Volunteer
You do not have to be a frog or toad expert to be a FrogWatch USA volunteer. All you need is an interest in frogs and toads and a willingness to participate in a volunteer training session with the Zoo Miami FrogWatch USA Chapter and a commitment to monitor a site for 3 minutes at least once a month throughout the breeding season.
Frog and toad breeding season generally extends from April through September in South Florida depending upon temperature, rainfall, length of the day, and biological factors for a specific locality and each species. Some species can be heard calling year round in South Florida but we hope to concentrate our efforts in the breeding season.
Zoo Miamiís Frogwatch USA Chapter holds meetings throughout the year to explain the program and train interested volunteers. Look for training session dates and locations on this webpage or in the Zooís newsletter.
FrogWatch USA Volunteer Resources
Find a wetland in your area using the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory map. Click the box marked wetlands on the right side of the screen to highlight them on the map.