FrogWatch Citizen Science Program
Join FrogWatch USA!
You can contribute to amphibian conservation in your community! DOEE FrogWatch Chapter Volunteers collect and submit data on calling frogs and toads at wetlands throughout 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 streams, ponds, and other wetlands. 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.
- Download and share the DOEE FrogWatch Flyer (also attached below).
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
- Be prepared to submit data online to a DOEE FrogWatch Chapter Coordinator to be entered into a national online database
- Attend a training session advertised below to learn how to register or adopt a monitoring site, recognize species, and collect and submit data.
This citizen science program is best suited for adults, but participants aged 10 and up may participate alongside a trained adult volunteer. Minors under the age of 18 attending a classroom or field-based training must be accompanied by a parent or guardian who will need to complete additional paperwork on behalf of the youth participant.
Volunteers may locate and register new stream/wetland sites or can work with a DOEE FrogWatch Coordinator to adopt a DOEE-designated location. 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.
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). The sessions consist of 2.5 hours of classroom time to discuss FrogWatch USA program goals, scientific protocols and wetland 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.
2018 training session dates for new volunteers:
Saturday, March 3rd from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm at the Aquatic Resources Education Center in Anacostia Park (view map)
Saturday, March 17th from 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm at the U.S. National Arboretum, Administration Building Classroom (view map; R Street Entrance)
Welcome back and 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 either complete the returning volunteer survey or 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 summary (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
- Review the FrogWatch USA Monitoring Protocol
- Download a DOEE FrogWatch Site Registration Form (attached below)
- Download a DOEE FrogWatch Observation Datasheet (attached below)
- Listen to DC Frog Calls compiled by the National Zoo FrogWatch Chapter
- Listen to calls of the Frogs and Toads of Montgomery County, Maryland hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection
- Practice identification skills with the USGS Frog Call Look Up and Quiz
- Join the DOEE FrogWatch citizen science program e-mailing list
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:
- FrogWatch USA
- Amphibian Ark
- Partners in Amphibian and Reptile Conservation (PARC)
- Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles (SSAR)
- United States Geological Survey (USGS) National Amphibian Atlas
- International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List – Amphibians
- Wetlands in the District
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Wetlands
- U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wetlands Inventory (USFWS NWI)