Volunteers Needed for Frog & Toad Survey

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By Nick Hausen

CYPRESS -- The Illinois Department of Natural Resources is looking for volunteers to take part in a survey of frog and toad populations in southern Illinois.

"The surveys are done four times during a time period from the middle of February to the middle of June," says Molie Oliver of Cache River State Natural Area. "Volunteers go out about once a month and listen for frogs and toads."

Usually, you think of frogs during spring and summer. Oliver says, if you know what to listen for, you can hear frogs most of the year. That includes the spring peeper.

"They're the early birds. If it warms up, if it gets above 40 degrees, they're ready," explained Oliver. "February is usually when they start their breeding cycle. So the males are out calling for the females starting about mid-February."

Those interested in volunteering may be a bit intimidated, but managers at Cache River say all types of people participate and have fun.

"They go out starting about a half an hour after sundown," said Oliver. "And you go to one of ten stops on the route. You stop, you listen for about two minutes, and then you record what you heard."

If you're not an expert on frog and toad calls, don't worry, the refuge provides a CD to compare the sounds.

To volunteer for the frog survey, contact Mollie Oliver at the Cache River Wetlands Center before January 28th at (618) 657-2064 or molie.oliver@illinois.gov
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