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MMWD Blog: Think Blue Marin

Welcome to our blog! Written by staff at MMWD, “Think Blue Marin” explores all things water in south and central Marin—water supplies, conservation, new projects, watershed management, and more.

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Feb 04

The 2015 Frog Docents & Turtle Observers Season Is Nearly Here!

Posted on February 4, 2015 at 10:41 AM by Ann Vallee

by Vincent Rogers and Patrick Doughty, AmeriCorps Members, Marin Municipal Water District
The Marin Municipal Water District is seeking volunteers to dedicate a few hours of their time to monitor two vulnerable animal species on the Mt. Tamalpais Watershed. The foothill yellow-legged frog (Rana boylii), a species of "special concern," and the western pond turtle (Actinemys marmorata), a federally listed "vulnerable species," need extra care this spring, and MMWD needs volunteers who want to watch out for them.

Frog Docents

 foothill yellow legged frog
Foothill yellow-legged frog
(Photo by Ian Austin)

Help protect the breeding habitat of the foothill yellow-legged frog at Little Carson Falls. Habitat disruption and exotic species are displacing this native frog from its historic range. Frog docents must be at least 18 years old and capable of strenuous hiking. They will be trained to monitor human activity near the frogs’ breeding habitat and educate hikers. The training includes a three-mile, round-trip hike to Little Carson Falls and a discussion of frog biology, population threats, and methods for engaging the public.

This required orientation will take place on Saturday, February 28, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and meets at Sky Oaks Watershed Headquarters, 49 Sky Oaks Road, Fairfax. Frog docents are needed from March through June, especially on weekends when visitor traffic is heaviest. Each visit to the falls takes about four hours. Get outdoors, have an extraordinary volunteer experience, and contribute to our understanding and protection of this native species!

Read more about the program, including the 2014 Frog Docent Summary Report.

Turtle Observers

 western pond turtle
Western pond turtle
(Photo by Kaisa Lee)

Become a trained turtle observer and you will monitor and record behavior of the native western pond turtle around Phoenix, Lagunitas, Bon Tempe, and Alpine lakes. Turtle observer training will include a hike around Lake Lagunitas and a discussion on turtle biology, data collection, and methods for engaging the public.

Turtle observer volunteers are required to attend an orientation on Saturday, March 7. Turtle observers will be active from March through June. Volunteers can be as young as 8 years old if accompanied by an adult. This program represents a great opportunity to spend quality time with family or friends in a beautiful outdoor setting!

Read more about the program, including the 2014 Turtle Observer Program Report.

How to Register and More Information

Volunteer in groups, pairs, or fly solo. Email or call 415-945-1128 for more information and to register for an orientation. Rain will not cancel the orientations (but may require rescheduling of the hikes).

Volunteers will interact with watershed visitors. The trainings will emphasize successful techniques for interacting with the public and for encouraging dialogue about the watershed and our impact on the natural systems. You do not need any special biology or science background to enroll, only a desire to learn and share your knowledge with the public.


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