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Lend your ear to DNR’s annual frog and toad survey

Lend your ear to DNR’s annual frog and toad survey


The wood frog, pictured here, is just one of 13 frog and toad species you might find in Michigan. The Department of Natural Resources is welcoming volunteers to help with its annual spring frog and toad survey, an important data-collection effort that helps wildlife biologists better understand current populations and abundance in different parts of the state. Photo by Michigan DNR.

If you love the sound of deep croaks and rhythmic ribbits, consider helping the DNR with its annual frog and toad survey. Now in its 25th year, Michigan’s survey is the second-longest-running such survey in the nation, after Wisconsin, and relies on volunteers’ keen ears and observations to provide a clearer picture of species abundance and location.

Caitlin Boon, the DNR’s acting Wildlife Action Plan coordinator, said that declining populations of frogs, toads and other amphibians have been well-documented worldwide since the 1980s. Studies suggest that trend is due to habitat loss, pollution, disease and collection.

“This survey work is key to department efforts to understand and manage amphibian populations, and that work couldn’t be completed without the people who volunteer each year,” Boon said. “It’s really a cool opportunity to get out in nature, along back roads and into the fields and forests, and do something a little different and fun that makes a difference for Michigan’s natural resources.”

Volunteer observers cover a statewide system of permanent survey routes, each consisting of 10 wetland sites. Sites are visited three times during spring, when frogs and toads are actively breeding. Observers listen for calling frogs and toads, identify which of Michigan’s 13 species they hear, and then estimate how many frogs and toads are present.

The survey’s continued success depends on strong volunteer support, and help is needed all over the state. Interested volunteers should contact the Wildlife Division at 517-284-9453 or DNR-FrogSurvey@Michigan.gov.

For more information on the frog and toad survey and other projects supported by the Nongame Fish and Wildlife Fund, visit Michigan.gov/Wildlife.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union

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