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New Volunteers: Attend a Training Session

Volunteer training sessions are held annually, and are typically scheduled in late winter/early spring, and prior to the peak breeding activity of local frogs and toads (March through August). A training session for new volunteers consists of 3 hours of classroom time to discuss FrogWatch USA program goals, scientific protocols and aquatic habitat site selection as well as orient participants to the frog and toad species that may be heard calling during spring and summer months in the DC-Metro region.

Please check back for an upcoming training announcement. In-person training opportunities are free, but space is limited. Volunteer training sessions are lecture and activity based and monitoring is conducted in and around the city at night. Review the FrogWatch USA Monitoring Protocol and Volunteer Commitments below for more information.

This citizen science program is geared towards adult participation. Youth may participate in data collection alongside a trained parent/guardian using the resources distributed as part of the training sessions. Visit the Aquatic Resources Education Center homepage to learn about programs for families and students.

If you are unable to attend in-person training, or if you are seeking training for youth participation, you can complete the online FrogWatch USA Volunteer Training hosted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums ($15 fee) and contact a DOEE FrogWatch Coordinator with your certificate of completion to receive access to local resources and additional instructions.

For more information email [email protected] or call 202.440.3951.You can also join the DOEE FrogWatch citizen science program e-mailing list to receive program announcements.

About the FrogWatch Citizen Science Program

You can contribute to amphibian conservation in your community! DOEE FrogWatch Chapter Volunteers collect and submit data on calling frogs and toads at streams, ponds, and wetlands in and around the District. These important data are reviewed by DOEE biologists and compiled for FrogWatch USA in a national database where professionals and members of the general public alike can explore trends in frog and toad breeding across space and time.

Frogs and toads are amphibians that live in and around aquatic habitats. They are sensitive to pollution and their presence can act as an indicator of a healthy environment. Amphibians also have important roles in the food web, controlling insect populations and providing food for other animals. As a member of the DOEE FrogWatch Chapter, you will be a citizen scientist who helps gather supplemental information that can support important efforts like the District of Columbia Wildlife Action Plan, Habitat Restoration Program, Wetland Mapping and Registry Project, DC Environmental Literacy Plan, and aquatic resources education in the District.

Read more about FrogWatch USATM, a nationwide frog and toad monitoring program hosted by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Volunteer Commitments

Prospective DOEE FrogWatch Chapter Volunteers should:

  • Have an interest in frogs and toads
  • Commit to learning how to recognize frogs and toads by their unique breeding calls
  • Be willing to conduct listening visits after sunset at a wetland or stream site (Preview the protocol)
  • Plan to be available at least 3 times from March - August, the peak frog and toad breeding season in the District, to monitor one or more locations independently, or in small groups
  • Be prepared to submit data online to a DOEE FrogWatch Chapter Coordinator to be entered into a national online database
  • Attend a training session in-person or online to learn how to register or adopt a monitoring site, recognize species, and collect and submit data.

Volunteers are encouraged to locate and register new stream/wetland sites convenient to them to monitor. A few DOEE-designated locations along stream restoration projects in Wards 3, 4, and 7 are also available. Additional volunteer roles and responsibilities are detailed during an in-person chapter training session. A DOEE FrogWatch Coordinator is available to mentor volunteers and answer questions and can be reached via email or by calling (202) 440-3951 during business hours.

Returning Volunteers: Welcome Back

Thank you for your commitment to monitoring the District’s frog and toad populations and associated aquatic habitats! Because you received training previously, we hope that you will continue to lend your time and talents to this year’s monitoring. DOEE FrogWatch Chapter Volunteers may monitor in the District as well as in surrounding counties in Maryland and Virginia. Did you received training but did not monitor in previous years? No problem! We are pleased to have your participation this season.

No additional training is required for previously trained volunteers, but please contact a DOEE FrogWatch Coordinator via email or by calling 202.440.3951 to continue your participation in the program. Additional review materials and instructions for the new season will be distributed via email. Volunteers are strongly encouraged to continue visiting previously registered sites in order to compile long-term data at individual locations. Please note that it is not necessary to submit an additional site registration form if one was submitted previously unless you are providing updated information.

What have we learned from your monitoring? Read the annual data summaries (attached below) and discover more about Habitat Restoration in the District. Please note that citizen science data and results are subject to ongoing review and revisions and should be treated as provisional.

DOEE FrogWatch Monitoring Resources

Amphibian and Wetland Information

Want to learn more about amphibians and wetlands in the District and across the United States? Schedule a program and tour at the Aquatic Resources Education Center or check out these additional resources: