Nature-Based Learning: Spring Chorus of Frogs & Toads
On the heels of a New England winter, spring in Western MA can be very engaging to the senses. This week, take inventory through your senses and notice what’s “speaking” to you.
- What do you SEE? Pink azaleas? Purple violets?
- What do you SMELL? Lily-of-the-valley? Spring rain?
- What do you TASTE? Bitter dandelion leaves? Oniony ramps?
- What do you FEEL? The warmth of the sun? A mild breeze?
- What do you HEAR? Calls of chipmunks? Twitter of birds?
As you move through the final month of spring, notice what you observe through your senses and how your observations might change and evolve. Our sense of place is interwoven with the seasons and our five senses, deepening our connection to place through seasonal changes. Embedded within this awareness are self-directed learning opportunities that are sparked by curiosity and supported by community-based resources.
WHAT DO YOU HEAR? Native species are a community-based resource that can deliver lessons through our senses. Take, for instance, deep listening to the frogs and toads native to Western MA. Have you ever noticed how their chorus changes through the season? How they are quiet on some evenings and very noisy on others? Pay attention to their chorus (or lack of) and let it guide your learning! It’s a great way to support interests and education in herpetology, biology, and ecology. Start by learning the calls of different native frogs in your region. This video demonstrates how their chorus blends and changes over five months (in just 22 seconds!).
GET CURIOUS: Once you are able to identify the different calls of the frogs and toads in your area, see if you can single out their contribution to an evening spring/summer soundscape. If you find yourself wondering why you hear them one evening, and not the next, get curious and look for the answers. Maybe their mating season has ended? Is the weather a factor? Are they loud or quiet before or after rain? What’s the high and low temperature for that day? These questions and the search for the answers guide learning while putting into practice the process of self-directed education, encouraging curiosity, and delivering the rewards of following your interests.
- Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Macaulay Library has audio recordings of different species to support your learning of different calls.
- AmphibiaWeb provides information on amphibian declines, natural history, conservation, and taxonomy.
Photo credit: (c) Sienna Wildfield. Video credit: Cable Natural History Museum
Nature-Based Learning with Curly Willow on the Westfield River. Nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains on the east branch of the Westfield River, Curly Willow on the Westfield is an emerging space for the passionately curious. A convergence of mindfulness and community-based education. Member, Community-Based Education Network™.