conservation
Become a Frog Friend/Amphibian Advocate
Join FrogWatch USA
Frog Watch USA Logo
by Nadya Seal Faith, MSc, Conservation & Science Associate

Frogs and toads are not just adorable — they are also essential to planet Earth. This order of amphibians fulfills various niches in the ecosystem, acting as both predator and prey, and their presence (or absence) in wetland habitats can serve as an indicator of environmental health. Their permeable skin makes them more susceptible to changes in their surroundings, and since they live on both land and in the water at some point, they serve as barometers for the health of both habitats. Unfortunately, many previously flourishing frog and toad populations around the world have experienced dramatic declines in recent years.

How Can I Help Save Amphibians?
Joining FrogWatch USA, a citizen science program run by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, is one great way to learn about local wetlands and help conserve amphibians by reporting data on the breeding calls of frogs and toads.

The Santa Barbara Zoo formed a local FrogWatch chapter in 2011 and is now one of 151 chapters across 41 states and Washington, DC. Trained individuals, groups, and families form a community with the common goal of getting outdoors and providing large-scale, long-term data on frogs and toads in the United States.

It’s easy to participate! Register a site of your choice, be it a local creek, a favorite walking trail, campground, or even your backyard. Volunteers listen for calls for three minutes after sunset and record what they hear later on the official website. We encourage frequent data collection – but you set the actual schedule.

FrogWatch USA now offers online training! Visit our FrogWatch page for recorded training sessions, data collection sheets, coloring pages, and more! For more info, please email us.

While FrogWatch is a great way to get outdoors and contribute to amphibian research, it’s not the only way to help. Help amphibians and other wildlife by:
Creating amphibian-friendly environments in your yard. Prime amphibian real estate includes leaf litter, rocks, logs, and clean water – backyard ponds make a great family project!

Keeping it clean. Keep garbage, chemicals, and non-native plants and animals out of the natural environment.

Conserving water at home, school, and work. Consider collecting rain water for watering gardens and plants.

Being a responsible pet owner. Discourage your canine and feline family members from pestering wildlife, especially amphibians and birds. Also, don’t release unwanted pets into the wild; non-native reptiles, amphibians, birds, and mammals can prey upon native amphibians and outcompete them for important food sources.

Becoming an amphibian advocate. Donate to wildlife conservation, attend Santa Barbara Zoo events, or help promote amphibians in your community.