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Community conservation makes a splash in amphibian monitoring

Posted by Brianna Widner, Community Science Specialist, with Katie Remine, Manager, Living Northwest

The 2023 Amphibian Monitoring Community Science program observed more than 42 bodies of water with 646 observations by 97 community science volunteers—now that's something to croak about!

Northwestern Salamander Egg Mass, Team Hazel Wolf Wetlands, 2023

Each year, Woodland Park Zoo's Amphibian Monitoring community volunteers help collect scientific data by observing amphibians in local conservation wetland areas. Our volunteers log hundreds of observations of amphibians across western Washington in the iNaturalist online collection of biodiversity observations. iNaturalist is a global community of people who assist conservation efforts by recording observations of organisms and share them with each other to gain a better understanding of the natural world.

Woodland Park Zoo’s dedicated Amphibian Monitoring volunteers went out from January through late summer 2023 to look for hidden gems. More precious than silver or gold, these volunteers were looking for amphibians! Through the program, community science volunteers receive training in how to conduct wetland surveys of egg masses, tadpoles and adult amphibians; how to photograph their findings and how to enter their data online in iNaturalist.

Pacific Treefrog, Dawn Huss, 2023

Every year since 2012 incredible volunteers have teamed up with us to monitor amphibian populations in Snohomish and King counties. With over a decade of publicly available data, we can look at trends over time and flag notable changes to land managers and other relevant parties. Woodland Park Zoo has also used what we’ve learned from our volunteers to train other interested groups how to conduct amphibian monitoring in their own area.

2023 Field Observations 



American Bullfrog 


Amphibians (not identified to species) 


Long-toed Salamander 


Northern Pacific Tree Frog 


Northern Red-legged Frog 


Northwestern Salamander 


Rough-skinned Newt 




Our volunteers’ data informs efforts such as graduate level research, habitat management decisions by Seattle Parks and Recreation, and securing funding for amphibian habitat restoration and forming a network of amphibian researchers so we can combine our conservation efforts. Their efforts also help foster a connection between humans and the living world around us. 

Over the last several decades, amphibians – including frogs, toads, salamanders and newts – have experienced the highest rate of species decline among vertebrate animals. These losses have occurred due to impacts such as wetland loss, disease, pollutants, invasive species and climate change. Understanding the impact on our Pacific Northwest species helps biologists and conservationists plan for their survival.

You can see more of the incredible amphibians with whom you share Washington waterbodies at the Amphibians of Washington iNaturalist project. The data are open for public use; we’d love to hear if you apply it to a project of your own! 

If you want to jump in on this fun and important conservation work, you can register here to volunteer for amphibian monitoring (spots are limited; priority registration deadline is Monday, December 18, 2023). Thank you to all our amazing community scientists who make this work possible!