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Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Ellington Agricultural Center
440 Hogan Road
Nashville, TN 37220
(615) 781-6500
Calling all Amphibian Fanatics: The Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program

If you are a good listener, can identify birds by their songs, or have a good ear for music, AND you love frogs and toads, you need to know about the Tennessee Amphibian Monitoring Program (TAMP). TAMP is the herpetological equivalent of “birding by ear.” A joint venture between the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Middle Tennessee State University, this listening survey program will train you to recognize the calls of Tennessee’s 22 species of frogs and toads, then allow you sign up for a monitoring route, very similar to a breeding bird survey. Volunteers conduct their surveys four times per year.

With the data gathered from TAMP, habitat management and conservation agencies and organizations hope to better understand the distribution and relative abundance of our frogs and toads and how they are being affected by threats ranging from habitat loss to disease to pesticides and herbicides.

What do I need to be a TAMP volunteer?

  • Have a passion for field work.
  • Be 18 years of age or older if working alone.
  • Complete a 4-hour training workshop OR complete the online version of the workshop (in development as of summer 2019).
  • Pass an online quiz proving you know your frog and toad calls.
  • Run your survey route once during each sampling season, a total of 4 times per year, beginning each survey no earlier than 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Submit your survey data to TAMP.

Both a remote version of the training as well as the qualifying quiz are scheduled to be available online by the end of summer 2019. Learn more about what it takes to be a TAMP volunteer. View the survey routes currently available for new volunteers.

Robert English, the TAMP State Coordinator notes, “It's important to note that the system is set up so that any volunteer (including me) who submits data for a species that would be a new county record must provide adequate documentation via an acceptable recording or image. This information is sent to Austin Peay State University for verification and to receive a catalog number. Volunteers then submit the record to Herpetological Review. So, like many birding records, the degree of documentation required coincides with the rarity of the species in question. This is another way of insuring quality control.”

Get a sense of the equipment recommended for TAMP volunteers. If you are still interested, then please contact Robert English for further information or to sign up!

View or download a photo-illustrated factsheet version of this TAMP article.

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