Jay Chamberlin, a policy analyst with a local land trust in northern
California, dons his boots and flashlight after hearing the first
calls of Pacific treefrogs and makes his way to the small pond in his
backyard. There, he will spend the next few minutes cupping his hands
around his ears and counting the frogs he sees and hears.
Mr. Chamberlin is one of hundreds of U.S. citizens who are counting
frogs as part of the U.S. Geological Survey's Frogwatch USA program.
"With the melodious calls of Pacific treefrogs and Arroyo toads in
California filling the evening air, the second year of the U.S.
Geological Survey's Frogwatch USA has begun," said Sam Droege, a
wildlife biologist and amphibian researcher with the USGS Patuxent
Wildlife Research Center in Laurel, Md.
Frogwatch USA is a USGS educational program that provides children and
adults with an opportunity to learn about the environment while
collecting valuable information about their local frogs and toads.
According to scientists, amphibians are declining worldwide; several
species already have gone extinct, and other once-thriving species
have diminished in numbers.
"Understanding the decline of amphibians is crucial to uncovering how
society's activities affect water quality, wildlife habitat and
overall health of the environment," said Droege. "Over time, the
information that is collected by volunteers will contribute to the
growing body of knowledge regarding the status and health of
amphibians in the United States."
Last year, said Droege, Frogwatch volunteers from 47 states included
many young people, farmers, homemakers, naturalists, scientists and
others. They all are actively monitoring sites and providing
information to USGS for analysis and evaluation. The information is
displayed on the Frogwatch USA Web site.
Droege urges citizens to join Frogwatch USA to begin to monitor frogs
and toads in their communities and to help communities become better
prepared for the environmental challenges of the 21st century.
Frogwatch USA is a part of Frogweb.gov. For more information about the
program and to volunteer, call Frogwatch USA at (301) 497-5819 or
visit the website, which can be reached through Frogweb.gov or
directly at http://www.mp2-pwrc.usgs.gov/FrogWatch/index.htm.
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