FALMOUTH —  Maine Audubon is looking for volunteers to “lend an ear” and help observe the presence of frogs and toads in their local area.

Wood frogs, the northern leopard frog and other amphibians will be active in vernal pools and wetlands throughout the state in the next week or two. Because of the long and cold winter, people are just starting to hear a few lone peepers now in the Portland area. It is anticipated that after the warm temperatures, frog activity will jump soon. Frog and toad species make their mating calls for a very short period of time, often less than two weeks — the need for volunteers in the next week is crucial.

Maine Audubon started the Maine Amphibian Monitoring Program (MAMP) in 1997. It is part of a nationwide effort (22 states participate each year) to collect data and better understand the distribution and abundance of amphibians. The presence of frogs and other species (or lack thereof) is often an indication of larger habitat changes and disturbances, such as vernal pool and wetland degradation, the availability of food and climate change.

“It takes many years of observation and data collection to truly understand how our local habitats are changing,” said Susan Gallo, Maine Audubon wildlife biologist. “Each year, Maine contributes the data our volunteers collect to a national database managed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). This helps USGS staff work with local natural resource managers and contributes to increased knowledge about the general global trend of amphibian decline.”

Volunteers drive along an assigned route three different times during the spring and stop at designated areas to observe the presence of nine different amphibian species. A free online training is available for all volunteers. Volunteers are needed for routes throughout the state.

“Participating in MAMP is a fun family activity,” Gallo said. “Adults and kids can learn how to identify frog and toad calls together and contribute to a great citizen science project that will help us understand the larger changes that are happening to Maine’s habitats.”

Volunteers are especially needed in northern, Downeast and western Maine. To sign up for a route or to learn more about MAMP, contact Susan Gallo at [email protected] or call 781-2330 ext. 216. Learn more at www.maineaudubon.org/frogs.

 

Gray tree frog


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