In Maryland, a group of 1300 amateur scientists have teamed up to document species of amphibians and reptiles by using high tech acoustic monitoring devices and mapping technology. They’re the seventh graders of Calvert County School System and they’re an integral part of the Maryland Amphibian and Reptile Atlas.
MARA is a five-year project created by the Natural History Society of Maryland and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to document the current distributions of amphibians and reptiles in the state. The information will be used as a baseline to determine future changes in distribution of herpetofauna. The project relies heavily on the participation of citizen scientists, such as the students of Calvert county, to report sightings and log locations of amphibians and reptiles.
Wildlife Acoustics SM2+ bioacoustics recorders are placed just outside of the schools to record amphibian vocalizations. Periodically, students listen back and analyze the vocalizations right in their classrooms. The location and identity of the species are then logged in the MARA database. They even have an impressive blog full of photos, stories, and updates called their Frog Blog.