Why Should We Monitor Amphibians?
The easy answer is because it’s fun and we can learn a lot about our environment through observing the life and times of our amphibians. Amphibians live a dual life, on both land and in water and as such are terrific indicators of environmental heath.
Because they require both habitats, they also give us insights into the effect of habitat loss or preservation. We recognize the need to develop an inventory of the species present in Loudoun, track populations and trends, and identify areas of critical habitat.
How You Can Help
Help Loudoun Wildlife Conservancy monitor the reptile and amphibian populations in Loudoun County by joining our new project on iNaturalist. Reptile and amphibian (herpetofauna) populations are on the decline worldwide, so monitoring them gives us valuable information regarding the stability of their populations. With the rapid growth in Loudoun County, it is even more important to track populations and identify areas that may be at risk of population decline.
Participation is easy! Sign up for a free account (if you don’t have one already) on iNaturalist. Log in to your account, and from the “Community” menu, choose “Projects.” On the Projects page search for “LWC Reptiles and Amphibians” and join the project. Please remember to mark us as “trusted” when you join. That allows us to see the location for better tracking purposes. Then go out, enjoy nature, and record any reptiles or amphibians that you see. Please note that for proper tracking purposes, you will need to take a picture, or in the case of frogs and toads, you can record the calls.
If you have any questions or trouble joining, please email Jenny Erickson, Amphibian Monitoring Program Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Eastern Spadefoot Populations
Populations of Eastern Spadefoots have recently been discovered at JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary and Algonkian Park. Since we have little information regarding potential populations in Loudoun County, you can help by learning to identify their unique breeding calls (listen to recordings such as the one below to familiarize yourself with the calls) and record any call that sounds like an Eastern Spadefoot. Then upload the recording to the iNaturalist project or email it to Program Coordinator Jenny Erickson at email@example.com for verification. This will help us attempt to locate other potential populations in the county.
Eastern Spadefoot and Spring Peeper Calls. This recording was made at a vernal pool in Loudoun County. The high pitched calls are the Peepers, and the much lower calls are the Spadefoots.
Amphibian Monitoring Training
If you’d like to become involved in amphibian monitoring, check our event calendar for training sessions that take place at the beginning of the year, usually in January. View the recording of the 2022 virtual training session.
- DISCOVER: Education
- EXPLORE: Citizen Science
- RESTORE: Habitat Conservation
- PROTECT: Conservation Advocacy
- PRESERVE: JK Black Oak Wildlife Sanctuary