An initiative of Earthwatch Institute

ClimateWatch-ing in your backyard!

Friday 5 March, 2010
You don't need to be out and about in your local park or bushland reserve to be a ClimateWatcher. As Jan Maitland discovered, some of the indicator species may be right at your doorstep!

Mrs Maitland lives in the Hills Shire, about 35 kilometres to the north-west of Sydney. She was pleasantly surprised when she heard the "popping" noise in her backyard was the Striped Marsh Frog, one of the species of the ClimateWatch program.

"I had heard of ClimateWatch before and was curious to know if any of the species were near where I live. After searching on the website, I discovered this "popping" noise coming from my backyard pond was in fact the Striped Marsh Frog."

Mrs Maitland says it's not hard to listen out for the frogs calling. "Some nights I can hear what are a dozen or more frogs calling. It's a real chorus!"

Each time Mrs Maitland hears the frogs calling she logs onto the ClimateWatch website and records these observations.

"It really is easy to be a ClimateWatcher, and once you have saved your location, like my backyard pond, on the website, it doesn't take long to enter in the data needed. It's great to know that simple observations like this are valuable to scientists."

The observations recorded on the ClimateWatch website contributes to an online database for anyone studying the impact of climate on ecosystems. This will help scientists understand the effects of climate change on Australia's unique plants and animals.

It's easy to be a ClimateWatcher - simply follow these steps:

  • Register online
  • Search for the indicator species found near you
  • Understand what to observe
  • Get outdoors and watch for indicator species
  • Record what you see
  • Enter your observations online

Throughout autumn, you too can record observations on the Striped Marsh Frog. Simply listen out for their distinctive call (a short "popping" or "tuk" sound) or note when you see their eggs (a floating foam of bubbles in still water), then record these observations on the ClimateWatch website.

Happy ClimateWatch-ing!