DNR brings Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring program to nature center

Photo of a northern leopard frog

While the winter wind whips and the snow keeps falling it is hard to imagine spring but March brings a glimmer of hope.

March is when Iowa’s dedicated frog and toad survey volunteers start listening to their call CD and sharpening their pencils in preparation for the first warm(ish) night in April. For almost 25 years, all over the state, folks have set aside three nights of their summer to go out and monitor Iowa’s wetlands for frogs and toads.

April brings an opportunity for anyone interested to join the ranks of frog and toad call surveyors by attending a training workshop put on by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Dickinson County Conservation Board.  The Volunteer Wildlife Monitoring Program (VWMP) is a three-hour training designed to prepare folks for collecting yearly data on Iowa’s declining wildlife and submitting that data to the IDNR’s wildlife diversity program.  These data are crucial to the DNR’s ability to monitor trends of Iowa’s sensitive amphibian community which in turn tells us a bit about Iowa’s water quality.

A frog and toad survey training will be held on April 11 at the Dickinson County Nature Center in Okoboji.

Participants in the workshop will learn how to identify Iowa’s frog and toad species by sight and sound, how to locate survey sites, and how to collect and submit data to the DNR.  The trainings are open to all adults with an enthusiasm for the outdoors and an interest in observing wildlife.  In 2016, volunteers surveyed 434 wetland sites across the state for frog and toad activity. Join us and become a citizen scientist.

Pre-registration is required with a small fee of $5.00. Attendance is limited to 15 participants. The training will run from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Registration forms are available for download at http://www.iowadnr.gov/vwmp or by contacting Stephanie Shepherd, Iowa DNR, 515-432-2823 x 102 or e-mailing vwmp@dnr.iowa.gov.

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