(Canastota, NY – March 2013) The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) is dedicated to excellence in animal care and welfare, conservation, education, and research that collectively inspires respect for animals and nature. This winter a chapter of Frog Watch USA was formed at the Great Swamp Conservancy.

The AZA, along with our friend and amphibian ambassador, Kermit the Frog, invite you to celebrate the onset of spring and take advantage of Daylight Savings Time to “Spring Forward” for amphibians.   Kermit, a large plush, stuffed animal, traveled to space and back for Walt Disney Corporation on the United States Space Shuttle Endeavor on March 11, 2008, highlighting the journeys and great lengths amphibians must take to ensure the survival of their species.

Many amphibian species in the United States have timed their emergence, migration, and breeding activity to coincide with the onset of spring.  The first warm, rainy night at the end of winter sends salamanders and frogs in droves under the cover of darkness to congregate for breeding. These amphibians travel from upland forests, frequently having to cross busy roads, to reach critical wetland habitats.

Frog Watch USA is a citizen science program administered by AZA with five chapters in New York State. A volunteer based group trained to identify frog calls and record data this organization  collects information used by biologists to better understand the challenges the frogs are facing. Many are near extinction and frogs are indicators of the overall health of an area.

Rachel Gauza, Frog Watch USA National Coordinator, will bring the “plush” Kermit to the Great Swamp Conservancy Frog Watch USA monthly training session April 2 at 7 pm.

You can help conserve amphibians and their wetland habitat by monitoring local frog and toad populations as a Frog Watch volunteer. The season runs from February through August and one may join any time.

Training is offered each month, first Tuesday, early evening. Check with the GSC at 697-2950 for times.


By martha

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