If one volunteers to help Maine Audubon survey frogs, does that mean one will find themselves saying something like, “Excuse me, Mr. Frog, but could you take a minute to answer a few quick questions?”

“Typically, that’s not what we do,” said Susan Gallo, a wildlife biologist with Maine Audubon and coordinator of the Maine Amphibian Monitoring Project (MAMP), which enters its 14th year of surveying Maine’s amphibian populations.

The project’s annual spring and early-summer surveys team volunteers across Maine to document the sounds and locations of different frog species. Their collected data helps biologists assess the status of amphibian populations, not only across Maine but nationwide as part of an effort coordinated by the U.S. Geological Survey. MAMP was launched in 1997 by Maine Audubon and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The program needs “citizen-science” volunteers to conduct two-hour roadside surveys three times throughout the spring and early summer. Ideally, volunteers have e-mail and Internet access and can commit to the project for more than one season. After listening to frog calls online, and passing a quiz on identifying the sounds of different frogs found in Maine, they conduct surveys first in early spring to hear spring peepers and wood frogs, then in late spring to hear American toads and northern leopard and pickerel frogs, and finally in early summer for gray tree, green, mink and bullfrogs.

Routes that need volunteers are in northern Maine, western Maine, central Maine (Greene and Madison), southeast of Bangor, near Presque Isle, near Houlton and near Bath.

Volunteers make 10 stops along their routes, waiting five minutes at each and listening for frog calls. Since usually only one of Maine’s nine kinds of frogs is heard at any one time, it’s relatively easy for even first-time volunteers to identify which frogs they hear.

“The earliest typical window for frogs to start calling is the last week of March, and despite the nice warm days we’ve seen this month, it looks like we’ll hit that mark,” Gallo said. “Night temperatures are still dipping into the 20s, so I don’t recommend starting your garden, packing up your woolies, or listening for frogs just yet.”

Potential volunteers should visit online at maineaudubon.org for more information about how and when surveys are done, and for a current map that shows survey routes and volunteer vacancies.

The next step is to contact Gallo at 781-2330, extension 216, or e-mail her sgallo@maineaudubon.org. Be sure to include where you are located and how far you are willing to travel.

Potential volunteers as well as the public are welcome to take the quiz on frog calls, designed by the U.S. Geological Survey, online at pwrc.usgs.gov/frogquiz.

Maine Audubon works to conserve Maine’s wildlife and wildlife habitat by engaging people of all ages in education, conservation and action.

Maine Audubon maintains some of the most productive, science-based conservation and research programs in the region. Initiatives such as the Maine Loon Project, the Maine Owl Monitoring Program and ongoing programs to monitor and protect the endangered piping plover and least tern are made possible through partnerships with volunteers, public agencies, universities, and other conservation organizations.

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