One of my favorite harbingers of spring is listening for the chorus from a frog known as the spring peeper. Peepers inhabit forested wetlands where their tadpoles can thrive. One such place in the James River Park System lies between the Buttermilk Trail and the Norfolk Southern train tracks just east of Reedy Creek. There’s an ephemeral wetland there, and pretty soon –like within the month — you’ll hear the incredibly loud chorus, especially at dusk and dawn. But don’t get too close! The moment the frogs sense an approaching predator, they clam up entirely.
Which brings me to today’s announcement: Maymont is looking for citizen scientists to help them count their frogs. FrogWatch USA is a long-term frog and toad monitoring program that collects data on local species, helping scientists in their battle to stop amphibian decline. If this sounds appealing, you can join the local chapter at Maymont to help with the effort.
Sign up for one of their free training sessions, which will include background on FrogWatch, an introduction to the site, and information on how to monitor and identify the calls of local frogs.
FrogWatch Training Dates at Maymont:
Tuesdays, February 21 & 28, 6-8pm (must attend both sessions)
Saturday, February 25, 10am-2:30pm
While FrogWatch is a great after-dark family activity for all ages, training sessions are designed for interested high schoolers and adults. Registration is required.
For more information, email their Environmental Educators or call 804-358-7168.