Volunteers span Iowa listening for frogs and toads in unique survey

TRIPOLI — Stacey Snyder watched the sun set over her northern Iowa hometown one evening last month.

Observing an American flag blowing gently across the street, she estimated the power of the wind on a three-point scale: “I would say it may not be a ‘three,’ because it’s not totally extended, but it’s getting there.”

The conditions need to be just right — not too cold, windy or bright — for frogs and toads to feel comfortable serenading their potential mates. It’s why Snyder was sitting on her front porch May 5, prepared to make her yearly voyage to listen for the creatures who call nearby wetlands home.

In donating their listening skills to a state-run science project, volunteers like Snyder are helping ensure Iowa’s frogs and toads keep singing within a landscape that has lost an estimated 95% of its original wetlands.

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