The Incredible Frogs of Borneo

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.

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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 [email protected] 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.