Ribbit! Ribbit! How to Help with Frog and Toad Conservation – in Your Own Backyard
They live in backyards, parks, fields, creeks or just about anywhere, but in many areas their numbers are dwindling. Frogs and toads face major threats, and up to one-third of the world’s amphibian species are in danger of extinction.
Frogs and toads play an important role as both prey and predator in wetland ecosystems, and are considered indicators of the health of their environments. But many previously abundant frog and toad populations have declined dramatically in the United States and around the world.
The Santa Barbara Zoo is part of FrogWatch USA, a national “citizen science” effort to identify and count frogs and toads.
The information gathered is entered into an online database from all FrogWatch chapters over the past 15 years – and may ultimately lead to practical and workable ways to stop amphibian decline.
Want to help?
You don’t have to be frog or toad expert to join FrogWatch. You don’t touch and rarely see the little critters, but are trained to listen for the croaks, peeps, trills, and other calls of common local species.
Volunteers monitor a site of their choosing for at least 3 minutes (minimum of twice a week) throughout the breeding season, roughly February to August. It can be a favorite wetlands, creek, or other amphibian habitat. See box below for more info!
FrogWatch Training at the Zoo
Thursday, February 16 from 6–8 p.m. AND Thursday, February 23 from 6–8 p.m. (must attend both sessions)
Saturday, March 18 from 9 a.m.–noon
To sign up:
Contact Hannah Kistner or Devon Pryor by phone (805) 962-5339 or email
Trainings are free, but reservations are recommended.
FrogWatch Family Camping Trip
Take a hike into the Santa Barbara backcountry with conservation biologists to survey springs and streams for rare and endangered amphibians. You’ll camp overnight at a site along the Santa Ynez River in the Los Padres National Forest, and spend evenings surveying frog and toad vocalization data for FrogWatch USA, a citizen science project.
March 25 – 26, 2017
$85/family or group of four adults
“It is essential that we understand the scope, scale, and cause of declines in frog and toad populations. FrogWatch volunteers have helped by gathering data for more than 10 years.”
— Estelle Sandhaus, PhD, Santa Barbara Zoo Director of Conservation and Research
Local Frogs & Toads
California chorus frog (treefrog)
Baja California chorus frog (treefrog)
Foothill yellow-legged frog
African clawed frog
California red-legged frog *
Arroyo toad *
* listed under the Endangered Species Act