The Iowa Frog and Toad Call Survey is a volunteer-based survey that provides interested Iowa residents a unique opportunity the explore Iowa’s nature at night and use only their ears to detect wildlife. Volunteer wildlife monitors have been collecting data on Iowa’s frogs and toads since 1991, which helps track how well our amphibians are doing as well as how they react to changes in their world, such as changes to land use or because of climate change.
Amphibians globally are on the decline and there is ample evidence that they are sensitive to environmental changes. Frogs and toads are relatively easy to survey because during the breeding season they sing! Each species can be identified by its own unique song
. Combine that with the fact that in Iowa there are only about 16 species of frog and toad you could hear, they make an excellent amphibian group for wide scale, volunteer monitoring!
Explore Frog Calls
HOW DOES THE SURVEY WORK?
Volunteer monitors survey a series of 5-10 wet areas along a driving route. New volunteers can create their own route or there are a number of existing routes which need monitors
. Every year, you would drive along your assigned route at night and stop at each wet site, recording all the species of frog and toad you hear calling. This survey is repeated three times within set windows during the spring and early summer (April to mid-July). You would than repeat this series of surveys on the same route each year for as long as you are willing.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER FROG AND TOAD MONITOR?
Commitment to learn:
• You must attend a survey training session or have previous experience with conducting a frog and toad call survey. Trainings are usually offered in March and early April with at least two virtual sessions done online and then an opportunity or two for an in-person training. The in-person trainings move around the state each year. Trainings are between 2.5 to 3 hours long.
• You must commit to learning the calls for most of the frog and toad species in Iowa. You will be provided with a cd or digital audio files for each of the species’ breeding calls in Iowa.
• Surveys are run at night. Be sure you are comfortable driving, and being outside, particularly in rural areas in the dark.
• In the first year, the time commitment includes training, getting acquainted with your survey route, performing the surveys and finally submitting data through the online portal. This adds up to roughly 10-12 hours of time depending on the distance from your home to your route. Beyond year 1, that time commitment is likely closer to 6-8 hours each year.
• There are three survey windows. You must survey your route once during each window:
o WINDOW 1: April 1- May 1
o WINDOW 2: May 7 – June 7
o WINDOW 3: June 13 - July 13
Organization and Computer Skills
• You must be able to make sure all three runs of the survey are conducted.
• You need to completely fill out each survey datasheet and keep track of them throughout the survey season.
• At the end of the season, you must be able to enter your data into our online survey portal AND mail in your paper data sheets to us.
INTERESTED IN GETTING INVOLVED?
Plan to attend one of the training sessions which will be posted on the webpage or send an email to email@example.com
to ask to be placed on a notification list once workshops are scheduled.
If you have questions you can call or email the survey coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
More Survey Information and Available Routes