Take your family on a new, outdoor adventure this spring in search of frogs as frog monitors. Not only will you and your family have fun exploring different areas of the community, but your data can help make a difference in the lives of frogs and their surrounding environment.

And to prepare you for this adventure, attend Frog Monitor Training from 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 15 at Hickory Knolls Discovery Center in St. Charles.

The training will equip you with the knowledge and techniques to collect frog data for the Calling Frog Survey, an annual, regional initiative that monitors and surveys frogs across northeastern Illinois, as well as parts of Wisconsin and Indiana.

Prompted by the disappearance of Blanchard’s cricket frog, a species once common throughout the state, from the northern third of its range, the survey helps experts make changes to local land management and regional conservation plans

“Since frogs start out as tadpoles in water, but then spend most of their adult lives on land, they are an important indicator of environmental conditions,” said Pam Otto, park district outreach ambassador.

She said the data provides valuable information on where and when a particular species is breeding; which species have been making a comeback, such as the cricket frog in the last several years; and/or which frog populations have been decreasing overtime, such as spring peepers. As a result, land, water and other environmental factors are investigated and changes can be made to help these frogs thrive in their habitats.

During the Frog Monitor Training, participants will learn the difference between 13 different frog species that are native to Kane County and the surrounding areas. Children ages 8 and older are encouraged to attend with their parents.

Although frogs have their own distinct calls, to the untrained ear, it can be challenging to distinguish between different species.

For this reason, Otto said the training will include fun exercises to help accurately identify different frog species, such as imitating their calls or comparing their calls to something else. For example, many individuals liken the chorus frog mating call to running their thumb along a hard plastic comb or the green frog call to plucking a loose banjo string. Incentives will be handed out for participation.

Once you’ve completed the training and choose to participate in the Calling Frog Survey, you will be assigned a route convenient to you to record your findings at least three times during the frog mating season from late February to early July.

Otto encourages residents to become frog monitors, as it provides an opportunity to explore areas of the community you may not normally frequent, and raises awareness of the wildlife in your own backyard.

“Frogs are a vital part of the suburban landscape,” she said.

“This program raises awareness and the consciousness for appreciating our dynamic local nature,” Otto added. “You don’t have to go far to see wonderful wildlife. There are so many neat animals – like frogs and other amphibians – right here in our own community.”

For more information about Frog Monitor Training, contact Pam Otto at potto@stcparks.org or 630-513-4346. For more information on the Calling Frog Survey, visit www.frogsurvey.org.