There are two ways to approach volunteering - you can do one or both:
Frogs, toads and salamanders can be tough to find. But just because we don't see them right away doesn't mean they're not out there! Monitoring for amphibians is a great way to find out what your catchment contains, in terms of species of amphibians, their life stages, and more. Each catchment contains more than 1 site; usually 3 or 4 ponds or streams.
Each catchment is surveyed at least twice each summer. This maximizes the value of the data that you turn in. If a catchment is surveyed only once, it will tell scientists what was happening that day - not what is generally happening in that catchment. For example, maybe it was a cold, cloudy day and amphibians were hunkering down. That wouldn't give an accurate representation of activities and species in that catchment. That's why going twice is so important - it fills out the story of the catchment a little better.
Once you turn in your monitoring data online, you will be able to see it on our Data Viewer (called WyoBio). You can see how your catchment is different than or similar to other catchments, and how it changes over time. You'll be able to see the scientific knowledge developing and maturing because of your work!
This method is perfect for a pair of people who work together to sweep the catchment, looking for amphibians. Both team members start at the base of your first site, or at one side, and walk in different directions, zig-zagging through the meadow or shorelines. When you meet at the opposite end, team members pause for 10 minutes, check water and air temperatures and fill out data sheets. Then, team members switch sides and zig-zag back to the starting point. Then, move on to the next site in your catchment and repeat.
This is perfect for groups of three or more who would like to survey a catchment together. This method starts with all team members along the base of the first site, or on one side, and move forward together as one front staying within their imaginary column until everyone reaches the other side. Then, team members pause for 10 minutes, check water and air temperatures and fill out data sheets. Finally, everyone switches spots and repeats the process to get back to the starting point. Then, move on to the next site in your catchment and repeat.
Once you choose your catchment, you'll need to visit it at least once to do the survey. To help with this process, we will send you a loaner kit that contains the following materials.
Once you complete your survey, you will mail the loaner kit back to us.