As the days get colder and shorter the Precious Frog team heads indoors to bask in the warm glow of their computer screens. Unlike the Oregon Spotted Frogs who go dormant during the winter, we are hard at work preparing for the next year’s activities. A hot topic when the weather turns cold: OSF breeding season, which begins as early as mid-February. There are a lot of egg masses to count (Egg Mass Surveys), a lot of frogs to mark (Capture Mark-Recapture), and a lot of events to coordinate! During the brief 2-month window of breeding season the Precious Frog team offers training in egg mass identification to municipalities, hires high school students over their spring break for an opportunity to gain experience as biologists, collects and rears tadpoles for husbandry, breeds frogs in captivity, and oversees a variety of research projects including microbial community studies (stay tuned for a blog post on this!).
All this planning can make even the most warm-blooded biologists’ enthusiasm go cold, so we often focus on other Precious Frog projects in the winter months. All the work we do during the year must be documented, so reporting is a huge portion of winter work. During this time, we get to examine what we have learned and what we would still like to know, which helps direct our work efforts for the coming year. In an upcoming blog post we will share a story on Chaplin Road wetland which has been a site of population restoration for the Oregon Spotted Frog.
Precious Frog partners working on wetland restoration are particularly busy building site plans for future habitat improvements. If you are interested in helping us out during our upcoming field season, check out our volunteer opportunity page.
Text by Aleesha Switzer
Photos by Isabelle Groc