Citizen-Science Volunteers Wanted for ‘Frog Watch’ (Although It’s Just Listening)

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Gray Tree Frog Frog Watch Maritime Aquarium 2019

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

Help monitor the population of frogs in your neighborhood – like this gray tree frog – through the “FrogWatch” citizen-scientist program starting this spring. Trainings for volunteers are offered in several organizations, including the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Sat., March 2. Advance registration is required.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk is seeking citizen-scientist volunteers who will be … hoppy to help with a census of frogs in their neighborhoods.

— an announcement from the Maritime Aquarium

An army of trained volunteers is needed to provide local data to a national program called “FrogWatch.” The local effort is a collaboration between the Maritime Aquarium, Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport and Yale’s Peabody Museum in New Haven.

Although it’s called “FrogWatch,” volunteers will be asked to frog listen, not to watch.

You don’t have to know anything about frogs and their different calls to sign up. That will be taught during upcoming training sessions at each of the four local institutions.

“FrogWatch” volunteers must commit to make regular visits to a wetlands in their neighborhood once or twice a week for about 15 minutes this spring and summer, beginning each night a half-hour after sunset. During these listening sessions, volunteers are asked to record the different kinds of frogs they hear making calls.

Gray Tree Frog Frog Watch Maritime Aquarium 2019

Photo from the Maritime Aquarium

Help monitor the population of frogs in your neighborhood – like this gray tree frog – through the “FrogWatch” citizen-scientist program starting this spring. Trainings for volunteers are offered in several organizations, including the Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk on Sat., March 2. Advance registration is required.

“For some volunteers who have ponds or streams near their homes, these listening sessions could even be from their own yard or porch,” said Bridget Cervero, manager of the Aquarium’s Citizen Science programs. “Ideally, where volunteers listen should be convenient to their homes.”

Kids can help, but older children are recommended because, in summer, a half-hour after sunset can be after 9 p.m.

Data collected in Connecticut goes into a national database that helps with amphibian-conservation efforts.

The trainings are free to members of the three organizations, or $10 for non-member families.

Registration for a Feb. 15 training at the Peabody Museum is closed. But there are still three more trainings to choose from:

• Sat., March 2 from 2-4 p.m.

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk

• Fri., March 8 from 7-9 p.m.

Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport

• Fri., March 22 from 7-9 p.m.

Connecticut Audubon Center in Glastonbury

Each session has a snow date.

Advance registration is required for the trainings. You can sign up and get more details here.

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Town Officials Call for Less Conspicuous Garbage Dumpsters in Parks

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A dumpster near the entrance to Mead Park. Credit: Michael Dinan

Town officials said last week that they’re addressing an aesthetic problem whereby those entering local parks in some cases are accosted by the sight of garbage dumpsters. 

Dumpsters east of Waveny House in a three-sided bin. Credit: Michael Dinan

The town many years ago switched from trash cans dotted around fields at parks such as Waveny and Mead, to having dumpsters, according to Parks & Recreation Commission Chair Sally Campbell.

That effort was “very critical to reducing the amount of trash on the fields and in our parks,” she said during the Commission’s regular meeting, held Oct. 10 at Lapham Community Center. 

“However, we find that every park we drive into we are verbally assaulted by City Carting on the dumpsters,” she said.

The answer, according to Commissioner Hank Green, who has looked at how nearby towns handle their dumpsters, will involve putting up three-sided fencing around them.

“It should be a pretty easy fix,” Green said.

Campbell said positioning or “shifting” the dumpsters also will make a difference so that “when you’re driving in, that you are not looking at City Carting.”

“It’s a minor beautification issue,” she said.

Recreation Director Steve Benko said officials are planning to move the conspicuous dumpster near the large ball field at Mead Park once the work on the little league baseball fields is done, and a dumpster at the end of the west parking lot at Waveny also will get a fenced-in area.

Campbell said the changes should be in place by spring.

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