Sign up for training Saturday, February 16
Once upon a time the cricket frog lived happily in the native lands of Illinois. It called. It mated. It flourished. The cricket frog was among the most common amphibians in Illinois in the 1960s. But by the 1990s the species had all but disappeared from the north part of the state, stumping ecologists and prompting an initiative to regularly survey and monitor species in the region.
Since 2000, the Calling Frog Survey data – collected with the help of local, volunteer frog monitors — has helped experts make changes to local land management and regional conservation planning, so all frogs can continue to thrive in their environment.
What’s more, in the last seven years the cricket frog has started to make a comeback, according to Pam Otto, Hickory Knolls Manager of Nature Programs and Interpretive Services. These findings recorded by frog monitors in Kendall County and, now, Kane County, would not have been possible without the Frog Survey.
If you’d like to be part of this important monitoring process or you are curious about frogs, come out to Hickory Knolls Discovery Center for Frog Monitor Training from 10am-12pm Saturday, February 16.
Through slides, recordings and interactive activities, volunteers of all ages will learn to identify 13 different frog species and their mating calls.
The Frog Monitor Training equips volunteers with the knowledge to accurately record their findings during frog mating season from late February to early July. Volunteers walk a route convenient to them at least three times during the mating season, whether it’s in a local forest preserve or their neighborhood.
Due to the frog’s life cycle from a tadpole in water to a young frog on land, this amphibian has long been considered an important indicator of environmental health, Otto said. Therefore, if there is a loss of frogs in a particular species, the water, land and other environmental factors need to be investigated.
“Local frog monitors have their finger on the pulse of the environment, keeping an eye on whose breeding, where they’re breeding and the general numbers of frogs. And then overtime a picture emerges from the data to tell us what’s going on, who is at risk and how to make changes,” Otto explained.
Frog monitors are essential in helping make a difference, but Otto said she hopes volunteers also are inspired to do more locally such as conserving water or cleaning up litter. “The deeper the connection individuals can form with the environment, the greater the improvements that can be made,” she said.
To register for Frog Monitor Training, contact Pam Otto at firstname.lastname@example.org or 630-513-4346. Hickory Knolls is located within the James O. Breen Community Park in St. Charles.