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Frog swimming in water

Hop on over for World Frog Day, and jump on the Frog Census!

Frogs play a vital role in the ecology of wetlands and waterways. They breathe and drink through their skin and as such are sensitive to drought and pollution. Unfortunately, frog populations are under threat and many species are disappearing or at danger of going extinct. 

That's why this World Frog Day, Melbourne Water is inviting the community to work together to help protect this important species. Join the Frog Census and participate in Citizen Science month, taking part in vital monitoring by getting outdoors and recording frog calls. This information is pivotal in making decisions that protect waterways and the environment. 

Through this Citizen Science Program, far more data can be collected on the state of our frog populations than would otherwise be possible.  

As an ‘indicator species’, frogs are key to understanding how healthy our environment is. They are sensitive to any changes in the environment both in water and on land that they depend on and are an important part of the food chain. They sit in the middle providing food for larger prey such as birds, fish and predators for insects and have eradicated millions of pests.  

To be able to protect wildlife, like frogs, we need to know where they are and how many are left. That’s why we count frogs using the Frog Census app. Rarely seen but often heard, the Frog Census app is the perfect way to keep track of these cool creatures! Like a southern toadlet, which is a hard-to-find species that would rather walk than hop! 

We typically hear frogs calling in Spring, Summer and Autumn. Young citizen scientists have been identifying waterbugs, a delicious food source for frogs, before recording frog calls as the sun set over the waterways.   

Leesa Riley, Program Lead Community Connections at Melbourne Water said “this spring just gone we were fortunate to have several exciting events where over 45 citizen scientists joined from across generations to record calls” 

Citizen Science

One of our young Citizen Scientists, 11-year-old Oliver reflected on his experience saying “it was fun to see all the squiggly waterbugs under the microscope and try to match them to the waterbug chart. I especially liked the walk around the dam waiting to hear the frogs come out after it got dark and then trying to pick which frog was calling”.  

“We recorded an incredible 6 out of 7 local species in one dam near Woori Yallock and even snapped images of a few elusive frogs” Ms Riley added. This was an excellent indicator of waterway health and its surrounding environment. Even more notable in Coldstream, was a recording of Growling Grass Frogs; an important but vulnerable species in Victoria, with the previous recording in that area dated 4 years ago. Last year we recorded 800 frog calls on the Frog Census app with many also identifying records of the vulnerable Growling Grass Frog. The call of the growling grass frog has been described as a “deep stuttering growl like an engine not quite starting”. 

Join us as we go ‘frogging’ and explore a range of sites marking the end of frog call season with a

Citizen Science

concentrated effort of recordings. During the month of April there are several hosted events to get involved in, or you can join independently at any time through the Frog Census app.  

Commencing at Edendale Farm in Nillumbik on March 24, we will be joining the Environmental Volunteer Expo where you can find Melbourne Water staff demonstrating how to use the Frog Census app and providing examples of what you might hear and even see out in the wild.  

Hop into Frogging on Friday April 12 near the Werribee River in conjunction with Werribee River Keeper for a presentation by Erin Bradley, and a kids activity table followed by a walk along Lollipop Creek. 

 Round out the month on Saturday April 27 at the very significant Yarra flats waterways site together with Banyule Council. This activity will delve in to the anatomy of frogs with a Presentation by a PhD student and walk to collect records on the Frog Census app.  

 If you can’t make it outdoors, we will also be hosting an online webinar with knowledgeable Frog Scientists and enthused Citizen Scientists to share their passion for Frogs. 

You do not need to be a frog expert to participate – all you need is to download the Frog Census app! 

More information on Frog Census and download the free app to get involved! 

Media contact:  
  03 9679 7004 

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