State of the Environment Report 2007
Frogwatching – hop into it!
Just as canary health warned of dangerous gases in mines, frog health can warn us of threats to our environment. Frogs are good indicators of environmental health: their presence can indicate good water and habitat quality whereas their absence or decline can point to unhealthy or degraded catchments.
The ACT and Region Frogwatch Program is a community program engaging volunteers of all ages in frog monitoring and habitat protection. The Ginninderra Catchment Group, with ACT and Australian Government funding, implements the program.
Monitoring can be done all year round, but focuses on October when most ACT frog species tend to be actively calling and mating. Over 200 Frogwatchers monitor at 140 ACT and regional sites, after training about the fascinating world of frogs and ways to monitor and help protect them.
Important information is gathered on the presence and abundance of frogs, with data about habitat, vegetation and weather. The information is presented in an annual report. Local land managers and environment groups use it to highlight areas of significant environmental value and to help guide and prioritise land management activities.
The initial monitoring focus soon led volunteers on to seeking practical ways to assist frogs. So, activities broadened to include workshops on creating frog habitat, and field days to improve local wetlands. School visits engage and educate students about frog-related and sustainability issues.
Frogwatch is easy to participate in and the focus on frogs makes it fun and engaging for all ages. It alerts and educates people about the value and status of our biodiversity and helps them make a positive difference to our environment. It has become an effective vehicle to engage people in wider sustainability initiatives including Waterwatch and Landcare.
There is enough to do in monitoring and vital response actions to keep us all on the hop.