Calgary

A few good 'citizen scientists' needed to gather data on wetlands

An environmental research institute is looking for a few Calgarians to download its app and go find frogs.

Calgary app helps identify amphibian sounds and sightings

This view of the wetlands near Monterey Park in northeast Calgary is one of several vistas you may see while tracking data on frogs, toads and salamanders. (Parks Foundation Calgary)

A Calgary environmental research institute is looking for a few good citizen scientists to help it compile data on Calgary amphibians.

That was the message delivered Wednesday by Nicole Kahal of the Miistakis Institute when she spoke with the Calgary Eyeopener's Angela Knight from a wetlands area in Monterrey Park in the city's northeast.

Knight is spending a few days this summer exploring the Rotary Mattamy  Greenway, a 138-kilometre-long series of interconnected paths that surround Calgary.

"While you're out enjoying the pathway, you can participate in a citizen science project called Call of the Wetland by downloading our app on either the App Store or Google Play, and visiting wetlands and letting us know which amphibians you are seeing or hearing," said Kahal.

Kahal said that there are six amphibian species that they are trying to compile data on: three frogs, two toads and one salamander.

The most popular? That would be the chorus frog, Kahal said.

"They're quite small, which makes them harder to see and they blend in with their environment, so listening for them is really the easiest way to tell which species are in the wetland."

Most elusive species?

"We're really hoping to observe the northern leopard frog in Calgary," she said.

While the noisiest time of the year — mating season in May — has passed, the institute's survey continues through the end of August, Kahal added.

"August is a great time to see adult frogs swimming and jumping over your local wetlands," she said.

Here are a few photos of the sights you may see on your wetland wildlife tracking adventure:

A viewing platform at the wetlands in northeast Calgary on the Rotary Mattamy Greenway. (Parks Foundation Calgary)
A viewing platform of wetlands, part of the Rotary Mattamy Greenway in Calgary. (Parks Foundation Calgary)
There are wetlands at several different vantage points along the 138-kilometre-long Greenway in Calgary. (Parks Foundation )
The wetlands in northeast Calgary at sunrise on Wednesday. (Angela Knight/CBC)
Wetland area in northeast Calgary. (Parks Foundation Calgary)
The boreal chorus frog, shown here, is found across most of Canada. Its call is similar to the sound of running a finger across the teeth of a comb. (Manitoba Herps Atlas)

With files from Angela Knight and the Calgary Eyeopener.

About the Author

Stephen Hunt

Digital Writer

Stephen Hunt is a digital writer at the CBC in Calgary. Email: stephen.hunt@cbc.ca