FrogWatch USA is a citizen science program established in 1998 to provide individuals, groups and families with opportunities to learn about wetlands in their communities by reporting on the calls of local frogs and toads.
Though this program has been managed by many organizations over the years, in 2022 the AZA appointed the Akron Zoo as the new managing organization for FrogWatch USA.
FrogWatch USA encourages volunteers to collect and contribute information about the breeding calls of frogs and toads to a national dataset that is publicly available online. The information collected by thousands of FrogWatch USA volunteers across the United States is then analyzed to inform the development of environmental protection and amphibian conservation strategies.
Frogs and toads have served as important cultural symbols for centuries, ranging from symbols of fertility in ancient Egypt, luck in Japan and rain gods for some Native American cultures. Even Kermit the Frog has status as a modern-day celebrity. Frogs and toads have been vitally important in the field of human medicine and compounds from their skin are currently being tested for anti-cancer and anti-HIV properties.
Frogs and toads also play an important role in wetland ecosystems, serving as both prey and predator. These species are often considered indicators of environmental health. Sadly, over 2,000 amphibian species are currently threatened with extinction, and many more are experiencing sharp population declines both in the United States and around the world. This alarming trend may be a sign of deteriorating wetland health. It's essential that scientists understand the scope, geographic scale and cause of these declines.
The FrogWatch USA Community
FrogWatch USA has established an expansive network of chapters across the United States, hosted at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, nature centers and similar organizations. Volunteers with these chapters are the foundation of the FrogWatch USA community. These trained individuals listen for frogs and toads during evenings from February through August and submit their observations to a national online database. Chapters are led by chapter coordinators - trained experts in the program - who mentor volunteers in their community and host training sessions to recruit new citizen scientists.
Visit our FrogWatch USA Volunteer page to learn more about becoming a volunteer or starting a FrogWatch USA chapter and explore the resources available for current volunteers and chapter coordinators.
FrogWatch USA Reports
Volunteers, chapter coordinators, researchers and anyone with an interest in frogs and toads can explore the data through FrogWatch USA's innovative online data entry, mapping and analysis platform, FieldScope, developed by the National Geographic Society. This data is readily available for ongoing analyses to help develop practical strategies for the conservation of these important animals.
Since the program's inception, volunteers have helped gather an immense amount of high-quality data. Use these links to view some of the reports generated from the data:
- 2014 Conference Poster
- 2012 Conference Poster
- 2010 Data Summary
- 2008-2009 Data Summary
- 2006-2007 Data Summary
- 2005 End of Season Report
- Assessment of Utility of FrogWatch USA Data 1998-2005
FrogWatch USA Partnerships
Citizen Science Academy
The Citizen Science Academy, hosted by the Chicago Botanic Garden, provides online professional development resources for educators in order to support the effective implementation of Citizen Science projects and activities that focus on ecology and environmental sciences. In CSA520 - Introduction to Citizen Science: Explorations in Educational Settings, participants will become familiar with five successful Citizen Science projects, including FrogWatch USA; each of which is especially suited to both formal and informal education settings. This is a 30-day self-directed course with suggested Unit deadlines which will be completed with a cohort of other educators. Participants also have the option to sign up for graduate level continuing education credits from Colorado School of Mines.
National Geographic Society
From 2010-2015, the AZA partnered with the National Geographic Society (NGS) on an Informal Science Education award from the National Science Foundation. In this project, NGS developed and evaluated a web-based software platform called FieldScope to support citizen science projects involving geographic data, thereby helping the public engage in scientific research about the world around them. This award helped make FrogWatch USA a more collaborative citizen science program, where data are now freely accessible via an engaging online interface. The award also supported the growth of the chapter network, which has both increased data quality and quantity while improving the volunteer experience.
Stay in Touch!
FrogWatch USA has developed an extensive social media presence to connect with volunteers in meaningful ways.
- Follow FrogWatch USA on Facebook for program updates and announcements, upcoming events, highlights from our chapter coordinators and more!
- Subscribe to FrogWatch USA on YouTube to view tutorials, video introductions to the program and recordings of frogs and toads in the wild for call identification practice.
- Join the FrogWatch USA Flickr group to see photos from training sessions and upload photos and stories of your own.
- Check out the FrogWatch USA SoundCloud stream for user-submitted, high quality audio clips of frog and toad calls.
- Check out our Newsletter Archives for past information about FrogWatch USA.
Get Involved in Akron
To learn more about the AZA FrogWatch USA program, contact your local FrogWatch chapter.