‘Frogs of Michigan’ featured at Bay LIFE meeting March 14

IRON MOUNTAIN – Walt Summers, retired district conservationist for the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, will present a narrated power point program entitled “Frogs of Michigan” to the LIFE group in Fornetti hall at Bay West Community College in Iron Mountain at 10 a.m. Thursday, March 14.

The program will expose the audience to the different frogs and toads that do live in Michigan and near-by portions of Wisconsin. Participants will hear about the life history of frogs, what local frogs look like and what their spring songs sound like.

There are more than 3,400 species of frogs and toads worldwide, with the majority living in the tropics. Michigan (and northern Wisconsin) are home to only 13 species but they are important to our ecosystem.Unfortunately, many human activities are harmful to frog and toad populations. Wetland habitats are often drained for agriculture or urban development.

Water pollution can destroy or degrade the ponds, lakes, marshes, and streams that remain. The unwise use of pesticides is harmful to frogs and toads, both by killing them directly and by reducing their insect food supply. There is often much that can be done to protect existing frog and toad populations and to restore habitat that has been lost or damaged.

Frogs and toads are important contributors to a healthy ecosystem, especially in the fragile wetland areas. Efforts to protect these animals and their wetland habitats will produce many benefits, both for ourselves and for future generations.

Walt Summers and his wife, Phyllis Carlson have been involved in the Michigan Frog and Toad Survey Program run by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for 25 years. By using specified methods, they have endeavored to actually locate and count populations of breeding frogs in the spring in Dickinson County in each of these years. Through this effort, the population fluctuations of frogs and toads have been tracked in Dickinson County. It has been determined just how well different types of frogs and toads have been doing during this time. By adding these results to surveys from all over Michigan, it has been possible to establish how well these animals are doing across the entire state.

Light refreshments will be provided. The general public is invited.

A interested in learning about the Michigan Department of Natural Resources Frog and Toad Survey, or interested in becoming a volunteer to assist with the collection of information for this program are also invited to acquire information about the program.