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Become a Frogwatcher

Amphibian species are disappearing at an alarming rate across the globe due to a number of factors such as habitat loss, pollution, and disease. As a citizen scientist with FrogWatch USA, you can help save our frogs!

“Amphibians act as an important indicator species for healthy environments and are a vital part of the food chain, making up the diet of many other species; some that rely on amphibians as a sole source of food. Without amphibians, insect populations could grow out of control and potentially spread disease that could threaten human populations and agriculture. The loss of the entire class of amphibians would have a catastrophic effect on the ecosystem. FrogWatch is an easy, enjoyable way for people who have an interest in amphibians and the environment to help.”  Lou Perrotti, director of conservation programs

Trainings:

2023 training coming soon!

Price: $10/household (includes up to 2 adults and children of that household)

FrogWatch trainings cover the importance of amphibians in the environment. The instruction focuses on how to:

  • monitor our local frog population to protect the species;
  • determine factors when choosing a site to monitor;
  • tell frog species apart by their calls; and,
  • report findings to FrogWatch USA.

The training will take approximately 2 hours to complete but will be entirely self-paced and permits the registrants to take breaks as needed throughout.” With the below text “The provided training will take approximately 2 hours to complete but covers all of the FrogWatch essentials to prepare you for your first monitoring session!

After passing a test on identifying frog calls at the end of the training, certified volunteers then commit to monitoring a local amphibian habitat (such as a pond or lake) approximately once a week for about 15 minutes and collecting/submitting data on what they hear. Data collected will be added to a national FrogWatch USA database.

In addition to the training, registrants will also gain access to the following: Roger Williams Park Zoo FrogWatcg USA Facebook Group; ongoing FrogWatch e-newsletters; and access to the RWPZ FrogWatch USA Online Resource Library.

Questions? Contact Programs@rwpzoo.org or call (401) 785-3510 ext. 358.

Please note: FrogWatch trainings will cover a large amount of information and protocols.  While FrogWatching is a great after-dark family activity for all ages, the trainings are designed for interested older children and adults.

FAQs & Results-to-Date

FrogWatch Statistics

The success of the program continues! During the 2021 FrogWatch season, the Roger Williams Park Zoo chapter:

  • trained 78 Frog Watchers;
  • monitored 58 separate sites
  • submitted 936 data observations to FrogWatch USA
  • spent 46.8 hours listening to frogs/toads
What does a FrogWatcher do?

Program volunteers attend just one training session that discusses the importance of amphibians in the environment. The training also informs participants on how to tell frog species apart by their calls, and track our local population to help protect various species of amphibians. Volunteers commit to auditing a local amphibian habitat (such as a pond or lake) and collecting data on what they hear, approximately once a week for about 15 minutes.

Why is this important?

Amphibian species are disappearing at an alarming rate across the globe due to a number of factors such as habitat loss, pollution, and disease. This has led to what many conservationists call a “global amphibian crisis,” with one-third to one-half of all amphibian species facing possible extinction.

While there does not appear to be any immediate threats to the species found locally in New England, the data collected through the FrogWatch program will help conservationists monitor these populations and to react to any decline rapidly.

What happens to the data collected?

Data collected in Rhode Island will be added to a national FrogWatch USA database and will also be shared with the Rhode Island Natural History Survey. In 2021 alone we trained over 60 volunteers and have been consistently recognized  by the AZA as the state with the most active FrogWatchers. Since 2008 we have trained over 700 volunteers to monitor frog and toad populations in all 5 counties in RI.

What is a community scientist?

Citizen scientist or community scientist are community volunteers from the general public who support  scientific work. It is often done in collaboration with or under the direction of professional scientists and scientific institutions. Data collected by community scientists help professional scientists answer research questions about wild plant and animal populations, as well as features of the environment such as water clarity or temperature.

How old do you have to be to be a FrogWatcher?

Families can register as a single unit which includes 2 adults and any children in that household. Although we do not have a minimum age, as an after-dark activity the FrogWatch program is aimed towards adults and older children.

When will I be listening for frogs or toads? When is the FrogWatch Season?

FrogWatchers go outside at night at least 30 minutes after sunset but no later than 1:00am. The total observation period on a given night takes about 15 minutes.

Frogs and toads of New England are most active from March-September.

What if I don’t live in Rhode Island?

That is okay! The RWPZoo FrogWatch chapter trains community members on the 10 species of frogs and toads found in Rhode Island. Along with our Rhode Island watchers, we also have FrogWatchers in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut! In addition to the RWPZoo chapter, there are a total of 174 chapters throughout the US. https://www.aza.org/frogwatch-usa-chapter-list

Will I get to see frogs and toads?

As a FrogWatcher, most of our species’ data is recorded through auditory mating calls during their breeding season. This is when you are most likely to hear frogs and toads during the season but not guaranteed to see anything. As with all wildlife, we encourage community members to observe and not disturb our amphibian friends.

What is the commitment for becoming a FrogWatcher?

In Rhode Island and surrounding New England area, we typically hear breeding calls starting in March through September. We challenge FrogWatchers to go out in the field once per week to listen depending on weather. We ask that all FrogWatchers complete a minimum of 4 observations throughout the season.

I’m a teacher or scout leader, can my classroom/troop/pack participate in FrogWatch?

Yes! FrogWatch can be a great way to introduce children to our Rhode Island amphibians and their importance. To involve a classroom or student group, the teacher or scout leader would complete the FrogWatch training. (While you can view the videos as a group, only the registered adult will be a certified FrogWatcher) Once trained, the teacher will be responsible for verifying and inputting all data collected by students. Check out our teacher resources for how you might be able to incorporate FrogWatch, even if you can’t take your kids out after sunset.

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