Connecting with the community during the annual Wetland Weekend events

MAD Scientist Associates is always happy to team with the City of Westerville Parks & Recreation Department to connect with the community in sharing about wetlands and the natural wonders held within sites like Highlands Park.  On Friday, May 18, the third of our Frog Friday events was held, and nearly 100 community members of all ages came out to learn about the frogs on site:  American toad (Anaxarus americanus) adults and tadpoles, bullfrog (Ranas catesbeiana), green frog (Ranas clamitans), and gray treefrogs (Hyla versicolor). Toad tadpoles were also seen in abundance, and a large mass of gray treefrog eggs were observed.  MAD provided nets that children used to collect frogs for closer observation (then released them).  

On Saturday of the Wetland Weekend, we hosted our annual Wetland Workshop, also at Highlands Park.  Mark Dilley welcomed the 75 attendees and gave them a brief introduction to wetlands and their importance to our drinking water and overall ecosystem.  MAD staff members and interns hosted stations around the wetlands to help visitors learn about its various aspects:  soils, amphibians, invertebrates, and wildlife.  Exploration was also encouraged, allowing participants to wade into the nature play area wetlands to use small nets to discover the life forms below the water.  Some notable wildlife observations include: mallard ducks (Anas platyrhynchos), and great blue heron (Ardea herodias), and a nesting blue bird pair (Sialia sialis).  The rain caused us to wrap up a bit early, but a lot of fun and learning took place!

A big thanks to Schneider's Bakery for donating a box of doughnuts for our event participants to enjoy.  Watch our events calendar next May to join in the Wetland Weekend fun!

2017 Frog Fridays at Highlands Park Wetlands

In 2016, Frog Fridays began as a fun way to get the community involved in wetland exploration when amphibian activity is at its peak, and Mark had a free Friday evening. Since then, they have evolved into regular events hosted by the City of Westerville Parks and Rec. department with attendance records exceeding 100!
Events were held periodically on Friday evenings from 7:45 to 9:00 pm. MAD provided amphibians and macroinvertebrates for viewing, as well as sampling equipment for participants to use while exploring the wetland. Frequently observed wildlife include American toads, green frogs, bullfrogs, and gray treefrogs. Oftentimes participants saw the silhouettes of mallards and great blue herons flying in to roost for the night, as well as bats and swallows who emerge in the evening to eat flying insects. 
We had a few unfortunate weather events that caused events to end early or be postponed, but we were amazed that diehard amphibian fans were undeterred by cold, rain, and on one occasion, lightning!