Category Archives: Frogs

Protecting Our Amphibians


American Toad

American Toad on moss

Just a few nights ago we heard American Toads calling.  It’s a happy sound, usually a harbinger of spring and unusual for this time of year.  But we have heard them occasionally when there is a slight bump up in temperature, and they’ve been calling this month.  One of our past blogs, Frogs in the City, was about frogs in urban areas and frogs that we have here in Peachtree Park.  And, we’re really lucky to have them.

Frogs and salamanders are amphibians, which are an indicator species  of ecological health –  ‘canaries in the coal mine.’  Unfortunately, they are vanishing globally at an alarming rate.

There’s a new organization in Atlanta dedicated to creating and implementing long-term solutions to this crisis.  It’s called The Amphibian Foundation and was started recently by Mark and Crystal Mandica.


Mark Mandica during Flatwoods Salamander surveys at Fort Stewart, GA

It’s located close by at the Blue Heron Nature Preserve with state-of-the-art research labs.  There’s also a ‘metamorphosis meadow’, an outdoor area that will hold dozens of ‘mesocosms’ where native species will be bred.  (A mesocosm enables scientists to study the natural environment under controlled conditions.)

It’s an ambitious project with a primary goal of involving our local community in amphibian conservation.  They have volunteers and interns, and hold workshops to help identify Atlanta’s urban species.

Spotted Salamander - Ambystoma maculatum

Spotted Salamander – Ambystoma maculatum

They also created the Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program (MAAMP) with 30 sites that are monitored monthly by citizen scientists.  If you are interested, you can attend a training workshop to help with monitoring activities.  The MAAMP website is a terrific resource for amphibian identification, including the calls of frogs and toads.

Check out The Amphibian Foundation’s website and visit them at Blue Heron Nature Preserve.  Maybe the next time you hear a frog calling or see a salamander in the leaf litter you’ll know who they are!


Blue Heron Nature Preserve

Blue Heron Nature Preserve


Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring

References and Additional Information

[1]  The Amphibian Foundation
[2]  Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program
[3]  Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program: Frog Calls
[4]  Blue Heron Nature Preserve
[5]  Blue Heron Nature Preserve: November 2016 Newsletter
[6]  The Intown Hawk:  Frogs in the City – 2 New Studies
[7]  Wikipedia: mesocosm
[8]  Encyclopedia of Life:  What is an Indicator Species?
[9]  National Geographic: Amphibians

Frogs in the City – 2 New Studies

Frog on the Edge

American Bullfrog

They’re here alright.  You can hear them calling during the day and at night.  Bullfrogs, Leopard and Green frogs. And in among the cicada’s, the wonderful nighttime sound of tree frogs.  Our neighborhood has them all.  It’s no surprise that they depend on safe clean water year round for survival and breeding.  Our neighborhood has that too in creeks and small backyard ponds.

Gray Treefrog

Gray Treefrog – most likely Cope’s Gray

Science Daily is a clipping service that pulls together interesting science news stories from the world’s leading universities and research organizations.  There have been two recently about urban frogs that caught our eye.

The first, If you build it they will come: Frogs flourish in humanmade ponds comes from the University of Florida.  The article is not so much about backyard ponds as storm water ponds in cities.  Good information in a concise form that might help inform our thinking on intown development that affects wildlife.

The second article however does talk about our yards and the issue of safe clean water. Estrogen, shrubbery, and the sex ratio of suburban frogs. To quote the article “A new Yale study shows that estrogen in suburban yards is changing the ratio of male and female green frogs at nearby ponds. Higher levels of estrogen in areas where there are shrubs, vegetable gardens, and manicured lawns are disrupting frogs’ endocrine systems, according to the study.” This information is stunning.

Happily, as gardeners we can do our part to help out the frogs (and other critters, including ourselves) by eliminating chemicals and lawn services that apply chemicals.  Those little signs that warn you to keep babies, pets and wildlife away can’t be read by babies, pets or wildlife.