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Become a citizen scientist for local “wetlands watch” program

Posted by Gigi Allianic, Communications

How would you like to lend a helping hand to frogs, toads and salamanders in our backyard?
You can by becoming a volunteer citizen scientist to monitor our ponds and wetlands!

Pacific treefrog spotted at Forterra's Hazel Wolf Wetland. Photo: Mike Mallitt. 
Over a six-month period, citizen science volunteers will monitor eight different species of frogs, toads, and salamanders in wetlands throughout western Washington, which may include Mercer Slough Nature Park, parks in Seattle and King County and, potentially, Snohomish County Public Works sites.

Volunteers are required to participate in a classroom and field training session on February 10 or February 17. Teens between ages 14 and 18 are welcome and encouraged to join a monitoring team with at least one other teen participant. Sign up for a training session at

We will team up with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to conduct the field training. Participants are equipped with hip waders, GPS units, aquascopes, and other monitoring tools as they learn how to identify and document egg masses of different amphibian species in a way that’s safe for people, wildlife and habitats. Once trained, volunteers will form teams and choose a wetland or pond to monitor on a monthly basis—recording data and taking photos of any amphibians they encounter.

An Amphibian Monitoring volunteer surveys Magnuson Park for egg masses with her team, which is comprised of ZooCorpsteen volunteers. Photo by Lyra Dalton, WPZ staff
The Citizen Science Amphibian Monitoring program is offered through Woodland Park Zoo’s Living Northwest program, in partnership with Northwest Trek Wildlife Park, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Launched in 2012, the program provides much-needed data on amphibian populations for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The volunteer scientists gain knowledge of and appreciation for amphibians and their wetland habitats, and the skills to do relevant, hands-on scientific data collection.

The ancient class of amphibians includes salamanders, newts, an obscure group of legless creatures known as caecilians and, of course, the icons, frogs and toads.

Participants must attend one of the following training sessions:

February 10, 9:30 a.m.–noon at Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in  Bellevue
February 17, 9:30 a.m.–noon at Camp Long in West Seattle

To sign up for a training session, go to

Rough-skinned newt observed near Redmond Watershed Preserve by iNaturalist user daval
We'll see you there!