World Wetlands Day – February 25th

Wood Frog

Wood Frog (Lithobates sylvaticus) enjoying an early spring swim.

Saturday, Feb 25th is World Wetlands Day. Wetlands support a wide diversity of life including 43% of rare species. They reduce downstream flooding by storing runoff. They filter sediment and pollutants. They recharge groundwater supplies and provide recreational opportunities. And, of course, frogs and toads love them. Arkansas is blessed with these wetlands – ponds, vernal pools, swamps, non-tidal marshes, ditches, and urban wetlands.


The Incredible Frogs of Borneo

harlequin flying frog

Harlequin Flying Frog – photo by Brad Josephs

Join Brad Josephs for a visual feast of the beautiful frogs of Borneo.  This article includes recordings of some of the frogs and an excellent Youtube that Brad put together.

If you love these little critters, you’ve got to see this wonderful tour.

See the article at:

Save Land and Save Frogs with the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust

by Sim Barrow

It is just after sunset as I make my way through the dense grass and shallow pools at Wilson Springs Preserve in Fayetteville, Arkansas.  The thunderstorms from earlier in the day have subsided, and the horizon glows with the remaining light of the day.  With clipboard and pencil in hand, I stop at the edge of an embankment and wait. After a few minutes, the relative quiet is interrupted by a chorus of leopard frogs, American toads and spring peepers.  These are the sounds that drew me to the site, and are the reason for my evening visit to the Preserve.

Frog and toad activity at Wilson Springs Preserve is no small matter for the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust. Protecting wildlife habitat is one of our highest priorities in our work to conserve the natural landscapes of our region.  Whether through conservation easements or by receiving land as a donation, we ensure that those lands will continue to serve as a place for wildlife forever, even as the human population grows.

Of course, seeing the land preserved is just the beginning. With each conserved property we commit to the ongoing stewardship of the land, which includes biomonitoring, or the tracking of native plant and animal species like frogs and toads. The information we gain from biomonitoring is used to inform land management practices like restoration activities and invasive plant removal. It also serves as an indicator of the overall health of the habitat. Because frogs and toads are such great indicator species, it makes sense for the land trust to specifically monitor for them.

For this reason, we are excited to integrate the FrogWatch USA frog monitoring program into our biomonitoring plan.  Citizen-science programs are an excellent way to engage with the community and help people enjoy and appreciate the outdoors. It is also a helpful resource for nonprofits like the Northwest Arkansas Land Trust that have limited staff capacity.  We look forward to recruiting and training new FrogWatch volunteers in 2017 to help us monitor frogs and toads on some of our properties.  It’s also a great opportunity for current volunteers to explore new areas and support local conservation efforts.

Join me and the other NWA Chapter Coordinators this February 25 from 1pm-6pm for the first FrogWatch training workshop of the year. The workshop will be held at the Historic Ozark Mountain Smokehouse (1725 Smokehouse Trail Fayetteville, AR 72701). There will be a special trip to our Wilson Springs Preserve following the workshop, where we will practice the skills taught in the training. We may even hear crawfish frogs making their characteristic “snoring” sound! Contact to register for the training.

With your help, we can all protect habitat for frogs and toads in Northwest Arkansas. Thank you, volunteers, for your commitment to frog and toad conservation!

Northeast Arkansas Frog Watch Update

This just in from the Northeast Arkansas Frog Watch Chapter Coordinator – Ryan Smith, interpreter at Parkin Archeological State Park.

Northeast Arkansas Frog Watch had a successful first year. Two special events were hosted at Parkin Archeological State Park. The first was a volunteer monitoring workshop that was scheduled for January, but was rescheduled for February because of weather. Ten people were in attendance, including a family with a child who got quite proficient in the science of learning frog calls. They were excited and sent an audio recording of a large chorus of Cajun chorus frogs this spring.

Our second event of the year was for Save the Frogs Day. We were able to borrow some live frogs from Dr. Stan Trauth at Arkansas State University. The event was geared toward families with 16 people attending. The children were really excited to see some live frogs up close and sing a “frog chorus.” The event also featured a program on frog adaptations such as “sticky pads” for climbing, jumping ability, and mock frog tongues for catching insects. It is always nice in a program for youth to have something to take home and a “call to action” for them. This was accomplished by making ceramic toad houses they got to paint and set them out to help save frogs themselves.

Ceramic toad houses were also made at an event for preschoolers and at the park’s summer youth craft program Tuesdays at Two. Two other programs were presented on frogs. The first was for a retired teachers group and a senior living center. Older people especially enjoy hearing the songs of the Arkansas outdoors they have heard their entire lives. Both of these events gave Frog Watch USA good publicity.

Park Interpreter Ryan Smith worked closely with Dr. Trauth about documenting Bird-voiced tree frogs in Cross County. They were counted a couple of times in 2015, but unfortunately none were heard in 2016. If any are heard Dr. Trauth is going to send some graduate students to make an official documentation.

The 2017 monitoring season is fast approaching. We are hosting a volunteer monitoring workshop again at Parkin on January 21st. Mississippi River State Park approached us about doing a workshop there this year. One is scheduled for there on February 4th.

2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar now available

2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads CalendarThe 2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads Calendar is now available for a $10 donation.

  • Excellent images of Arkansas frogs, toads, tadpoles, and egg strings!
  • Each species call and season
  • Information about the citizen science frog monitoring program – FrogWatch USA
  • Phenology chart for all 23 Arkansas frog and toad species
  • Six images and descriptions of Endangered Species (NEW!)
  • Six images and descriptions of Invasive Species (NEW!)

2017 Arkansas Frogs and Toads CalendarWe printed just 200 of these calendars.

When they are gone, they are gone.

For more information and to get your calendar by PayPal or credit card,


Thank you for your support of Arkansas Frogs and Toads!

Doctor Frog is in!

Doctor Frog

Will Doctor Frog cure you someday?

Doctor Frog and his bag of medical wonders may be able to cure your ailment!  Frogs and toads produce chemical cocktails on their skins to deter predators from eating them.  Those unique compounds are being used for many medical applications such as cancer cures and pain killers.  Dr. Jodi Rowley of the Australian Museum Research Institute has written an excellent article about the curative aspects of “Frog Goo” which you can read HERE – Frog goo to the rescue.

Master Gardeners can help Frogs

the buck garden in new jersayAttention Gardeners (Master and otherwise)

Peg and I recently talked to Master Gardeners at the annual state meeting held in Eureka Springs.  All Gardeners can do a lot to help save the Earth’s biodiversity and frogs and toads in particular.  Over 40% of the world’s amphibians are currently at risk of extinction due, in part, to pollution.

Actions Master Gardeners and others can take

  • Plant natives – avoid imported plants which may out-compete local species and become invasive.  In addition, pollinators may be disrupted by the imports.  Native species will thrive with less care than imports.  One invasive to avoid is Bradford Pear Trees.
  • Avoid Chemicals – Pesticides, Herbicides, and chemical Fertilizers all end up washing downstream into rivers and eventually the Gulf of Mexico.  Every year there is a 5,000 square mile dead zone along the shorelines of Louisiana and Texas from gardener’s use of chemicals that wash down the Mississippi River.  Frogs and toads like fresh water environments!  This website has natural alternatives for weed and bug control:
  • Build a Pond – “If you build it, they will come.”  There are lots of good articles on the internet for building a frog pond.  Check out  Frogs and toads will find your pond in short order.  The tadpoles will eat any algae buildup and the adults will eat any mosquito larvae.Toad Houses
  • Place a Toad House –  You can get a fancy one as pictured or just turn over an old terracotta pot and knock out an entrance.  Your toad will stay there during the day and may hibernate there in the winter.  Be sure to place your “toad abode” under some shady foliage and make sure the bottom is open so Mr. Toad can absorb moisture through his stomach in contact with the ground.

Gardeners and Master Gardeners can have a direct impact on whether frogs and toads make it through the current mass extinction by making intelligent choices in their gardening practices.

The Sixth Mass Extinction

The Fifth Mass Extinction happened 65 million years ago.

The Sixth Mass Extinction

There have been five mass extinctions in the last 500 million years – the last one being the Late Cretaceous extinction 65 million years ago that wiped out the dinosaurs.  Most biologists think we are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction that could wipe out over half of all existing plant and animal species by 2100.

How can we save Biodiversity?

Many of us understand the magnitude of this problem of biodiversity loss and what it means for us and for the planet.  The question becomes, “What can one person out of seven billion possibly do to make a difference?” Economies of Scale are partly to blame for our predicament – If ten people want beaver hats, there is little impact on nature.  When 100 million people want beaver hats, you have a problem.  It works the other way as well.  If all of us do just a little bit to make a difference, positive changes will happen.

I suggest that we apply a “Conservation Litmus Test” to our daily decisions.  Don’t worry about making decisions that are the “best” for the planet – most of the time those choices are too expensive or time consuming or impractical for a variety of reasons.  Use the Conservation Litmus Test to make a “better” decision.  For example, you are ready to upgrade your gas guzzling vehicle.  The best for the planet might be to ride a bicycle.  If that is possible and practical, then go for it, but in most cases it won’t be.  So you might decide on buying a used Hybrid.  That is a “better” choice than others you can think of, but maybe not the “best” choice for the planet.  Nevertheless, it is one that you can make and therefore make a difference for biodiversity.

Many times the better choice will cost a little extra in time or money – consider that your small contribution to Mother Earth.  The Conservation Litmus Test of “better” choices can be applied to almost every facet of your current habits, and if you multiply those choices times seven billion, we’ll gradually shift the current consumption paradigm to a conservation paradigm and save ourselves and spaceship Earth.

I welcome your comments about how we can take actions to save the planet from ourselves.  Send them to Tom at

Frog Card Deck – Pocket Guide

Frog Card Deck

Have you ever been hiking in the woods and come across a frog or toad and wondered what kind it was?  Then this Arkansas Frogs and Toads – Frog Card Deck is for you.  There are full color images of all the frogs and toads on these laminated 2 7/8″ by 4″ cards with full descriptions on the backs.

You can obtain your Frog Card Deck for a donation of $10 which includes shipping by clicking the button below.

Frog Card Deck