The Frogs Are Calling You: Citizen Science program launches in regional Victoria
January 2019 – For immediate release
Local people are being called on to help investigate frog activity in northern and western Victoria by taking part in a new citizen science program. The Frogs Are Calling You project is part of the Wetland Monitoring and Assessment Program (WetMAP) – funded by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). Scientists are examining how plants and animals respond to water management in wetlands across the state.
Members of the public are now invited to take part in the research. Project co-ordinator Lynette Plenderleith says, “Some people want to find out what frog species they’ve got on their property. Others want to explore their local wetlands and make a difference. Some people are looking for something to do with the kids during the school holidays.”
The Frogs Are Calling You project highlights how science is accessible to all and offers a project that is fun, free and easy. Lynette explains, “Science is in every part of all of our lives, but there is a feeling of separation between research and people. Citizen science projects are a great tool for everyone to get involved in research, contribute to science and help inform policy and practice.”
Citizen scientists on projects around the world have discovered new species and new planets and contribute to the monitoring of animals, plants and habitats. These projects are often hailed as the future of science, where the more people are involved the better the outcomes of a study, particularly when data collection is difficult or expensive. Lynette says, “People who participate in citizen science make a meaningful contribution to research and gain an insight into science, a win-win for all involved!”
Environmental citizen science projects don’t just improve the outcomes of a study by increasing the amount of data collected. Participants report feeling empowered and having a sense of stewardship of their local area. In addition to being involved in scientific research, Lynette hopes participants will find a connection with nature. She says “Citizen science projects like this offer people the opportunity to learn more about wildlife, share what they know and build a greater understanding of their local environment.”
The Frogs Are Calling You uses the Australian Museum’s FrogID app to collate data. Participants download the app to their smart phones and record frog calls. The museum’s experts then identify the species and report back to the citizen scientist. Full instructions for sign-up and data collection are on the project website www.frogscalling.org.
The Frogs Are Calling You citizen science project is a collaboration between DELWP; Frogs Victoria; Australian Museum; University of Melbourne; Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority (CMA); and North Central CMA.
Further information –
· Dr. Lynette Plenderleith (Project Lead, The Frogs Are Calling You; President, Frogs Victoria) Lynette@frogsvic.org
· @frogscalling on social media