Become a citizen scientist and help the Iowa DNR monitor frog and toad species! Join the DNR's Stephanie Shepherd at Hitchcock Nature Center on April 5th from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. where you'll learn how to identify 16 different frogs and toads based on sight and sound. Registrants for this workshop are signing up to volunteer for the DNR's Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program (VWMP) where they will help survey routes across Iowa and collect and report frog and toad data that will be used to monitor the status of amphibian species in the state.
Frog and Toad Workshops require a $5 registration fee which pays for training materials and a frog and toad call CD. Registrants do not need to pay the park entry fee. Please click the registration button to get signed up today.
Please meet in the Goldfinch Room at the Loess Hills Lodge.
About the Survey:
Every year starting in late March to early April, the chorus begins. The Western chorus frog is usually the first to find its voice with its ascending, constantly repeating crrreeek and it is quickly, if not simultaneously joined by the soprano chirp of spring peepers or the rumbling, snoring leopard frog bass. The singers are all males, and they are trying to attract a female for mating.
The chorus can be deafening, but for those of us listening it is a welcome and sure sign of spring. And every year, since 1991, at wetlands across the state, dedicated volunteers have been there, listening and collecting data on what's singing.
These volunteers are a part of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources' Frog and Toad Call Survey. This survey is coordinated by the DNR's Wildlife Diversity program and our survey is one of the longest running in the country. In its long history, over 13,000 call surveys have been done on more than 1,200 wetland sites in 82 of Iowa's 99 counties. Amphibians are currently in global decline and face many environmental stressors.
The value of this survey is multifaceted. The wildlife diversity program is small and without the dedication of these volunteers, it would be impossible to collect data over such a large area (statewide) and time period. The survey provides us with data that allows us to: 1) determine distribution range extensions, 2) monitor population trends and 3) have an index for water quality.
The survey was started because of serious concern over the global, precipitous decline of many amphibian species. This decline is most often attributed to ever-increasing pollution in aquatic environments. All amphibians spend at least part of their life in the water and due to their highly permeable skin, they are very sensitive to pollutants. Declines can also be due to other factors such as habitat loss (Iowa has drained ~ 95% of its wetlands), or invasive species such as the bullfrog which in Iowa has been expanding its range. It is an aggressive predator of other frog and toad species.
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