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FrogWatch USA

FrogWatch USA

FrogWatch USA is the Association of Zoos & Aquariums' (AZA) 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. 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 it's essential that scientists understand the scope, geographic scale, and cause of these declines.

FrogWatch USA volunteers learn to identify local frog and toad species by their calls during the breeding season and how to report their findings accurately. By mastering these skills, volunteers gain increased experience and control over asking and answering scientific questions which, in turn, augments science literacy, facilitates conservation action and stewardship, and increases knowledge of amphibians.

For a related citizen science project, see iNaturalist.org's Global Amphibian Blitz

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Paul Boyle, Senior Vice President for Conservation and Education
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA)
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Observation
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
  • TIME COMMITMENT: Less than 1 hour per week
  • HOW TO JOIN:

    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 at your local FrogWatch USA Chapter, hosted by AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums nationwide, and a commitment to monitor a site for 3 minutes at least twice a week throughout the breeding season. If a Chapter is not available at the AZA-accredited institution closest to you, contact frogwatch@aza.org.

See more projects in FreeObservationAll Ages.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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