Pond program gives frogs a helping hand

Frog lovers embarked on a 6-month “pond watch” program on the weekend to monitor eight amphibian species in wetlands throughout western Washington. This is the second year of the program which partners citizen scientists with Woodland Park Zoo, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The program participants will be monitoring amphibian eggs found in ponds and wetlands in the greater Seattle area. The project is supported by a grant from the NW Zoo and Aquarium alliance.

The volunteer watch group from local Woodland Park Zoo involves over 70 people, including adults, youth and Zoo Corps teen interns. This group used hip waders, digital cameras and GPS units during a field training session at Carkeek Park. The volunteers had already taken class training at the zoo.

The program will monitor eight amphibian species including the western toad, Northwestern salamander, northern red-legged frog, Pacific tree frog, Oregon spotted frog, rough-skinned newt, long-toed salamander and American bullfrog. The monitoring of both eggs and amphibians will provide population data that can determine the decline or increase of these species.

With the field training complete the teams of volunteers will regularly monitor egg masses and amphibians in the region at sites in King and Snohomish counties through summer 2013.

Photos courtesy of Woodland Park Zoo.

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