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Coming Up...

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FV 2024 Mini-Conference

 

4th July 2024,
Elgin Inn Hawthorn


It's not too late to register for the highlight of the Frogs Victoria year!

Register here to give a short talk at the Frogs Victoria 2024 Mini-Conference.

​Anything frog-related welcome

Practice a talk or show off a polished presentation in front of a friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable audience. 

Talks can be 5 or 10 minutes, with optional additional question time.

For inspiration, check out last year's event.  

All are welcome in the audience - no RSVP/registration necessary

Evening starts at 5:30 pm for dinner and drinks (available for purchase), talks start at 7pm


 

 

 

 

Please join us Thursday 4th July 2024
From 5:30 pm for dinner and drinks (available for purchase)
Talks start 7 pm

Elgin Inn
75 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn VIC 3122

 

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James Frazer, Coordinator, Melbourne Water Frog Census talks about the community engagement and citizen science-based frog monitoring program that has run since 2001. Learn how volunteer-collected frog data have been used to inform waterway planning and monitor the impact of on-ground interventions such as habitat creation and environmental watering. James has a background in natural resource management, threatened species recovery programs, and community engagement.


On a warm night in Melbourne’s suburbs, many people of a froggy persuasion met in the upstairs room of Public House, Richmond. Due to successful RSVPing by attendees, all in the room took a seat for the November 2018 Frogs Victoria event. We promised a double bill of speakers engaged in the professional frog world, by which I mean the frog-related professions, not the world of gainfully employed frogs.


Melbourne Water Frog Census


First up was James Frazer, co-ordinator of Melbourne Water’s Frog census. James’s introduction was accompanied by some delightful background musical bangers accidentally provided by the venue, but soon after Mr. Frazer began, we were able to hear him a lot better as he treated us to froggy-data tales from the Melbourne area.


James explained to us why Melbourne Water is interested in frogs. Happily, the answer is at least in part because Melbournians are interested in frogs. Additionally, frogs are of course excellent indicators of waterway health, in which Melbourne Water is very interested. Frogs are, as we know excellent ambassadors for engagement and environmental custodianship, which James uses to spread the message that the future of amphibians is currently looking dire, but the people of Victoria can help.


The 2016 launch of the Frog Census app created, or at least measured, a spike in the interest of human residents in their amphibian neighbours. James used a convoluted flow chart to demonstrate with some impact, the previous methods of collecting Frog Census data – paper reports that required writing (sometimes with a pen!), scanning and emailing back to the office. Thankfully those methods are long gone and the replacement app is user-friendly and fun, with pictures, IDs and electronic buttons.


Every Frog Census report is used to influence management and strategy. I say all… apparently not every report is perfect and some of James’s work seems to be somewhat like that of a detective – finding out what the report is supposed to be. But once the reports are verified a good picture of Melbourne’s frogs is created. At least some of this goes towards “big data” and is available to people outside of Frog Census for others to use. The data can inform wetland monitoring, management and creation.


The Frog Census also provides curriculum tools, a frog pond guide, monitoring and ID guides. James works closely with other conservation groups in strategic partnerships to further the frog message and support like-minded individuals and groups. The Frog Census is a great way for anybody to get involved in frog science and conservation.


For the frogs, Lynette Plenderleith Chair, Frogs Victoria.


P.S. If you’re hungry for more, check out:

@melbournewater, @jim_feather


Updated: Dec 10, 2020



Words by Lynette Plenderleith; Photos by Teisha Sloane-Lay


Many thanks to all of you who came to our launch party last week. I hope you had as much fun as I did!

If you missed it, or if you want to reminisce, please read on…


Frogs Victoria is launched! Last Thursday, on what promised to be an excellent night for frogs both inside and out, amphibian aficionados of all morphs arrived at the Elgin Inn, Hawthorn. Some were there to learn about frogs, some where there to meet friends (old and new) and some were there to listen to their hero, the celebrated Murray Littlejohn.


The first few of the frog-inclined leapt through the door a little after 5:30 – straight from the stress of work to the warmth and comfort of an open fire, a well-stocked bar and local frog lovers. As darkness fell and rain rolled in, the committee welcomed scientists, conservationists and frog enthusiasts through the door and directed them to the bar where the diligent staff did their best to keep up with the ever-increasing crowd. After a moderate amount of responsible drinking and a bite to eat, more than sixty people fit any way they could in front of the projector screen.



The Frogs Victoria inaugural committee –

Teisha Sloane-Lay, Nick Clemann, Lynette Plenderleith with Patron Murray Littlejohn


After consuming more than my share of pumpkin pizza, I welcomed the crowd and introduced the inaugural committee – myself, Teisha Sloane-Lay and Nick Clemann. Nick took centre stage and spoke of the desperate situation of frogs in Victoria and highlighted decreasing numbers of the Baw Baw frog. One of the reasons we were all there. He then introduced another reason we were all there – Murray Littlejohn. Nick’s slides listed Murray’s career highlights, but he didn’t read them out. After all, we did all need to get home eventually. But Nick did mention a few personal things about Murray – he is to Nick as he is to many of us, a mentor and an inspiration.


Frogs Victoria Patron Murray Littlejohn came forward and took the microphone in the humble and warm way that he does. He says it’s been at least five years since he last did a talk, but you wouldn’t know it. Murray is the consummate professional. Erudite and articulate, entertaining and illuminating. The keynote address, “Zonal Hybridization between Geocrinia laevis and G. Victoriana (Smooth Froglets) in Western Victoria” began.


The audience were treated to photos of the species in question, including egg masses, the breeding site and an amplectant pair of G. victoriana. We also saw photographic evidence of Peter Rawlinson allegedly borrowing Murray’s favourite mug without prior permission. Decades of bioacoustics research have not dulled Murray’s sense of humour.



A master at work: Living legend Murray Littlejohn


The data stretched as far back as 1961, at the beginning of Murray’s studies when he didn’t even have enough data to publish. Murray told of how their first missive declaring the discovery of the hybrid zone was buried at a secure location for future additions upon excavation and we saw a photograph of Murray doing as such in 1973.


One of the most exciting and memorable moments for the audience was listening to recordings of the two species and their hybrids calls. Geocrinia laevis and G. Victoriana have very different advertisement call signatures and the hybrids were a portmanteau more perfect than one would imagine. It was almost comical. Maps of the range of the species precisely delineated the hybrid zone and Murray presented supporting evidence from protein syntheses. The resulting hybrid delimitation fit exactly Murray’s earlier definition.


After a few questions from the audience, Murray was encircled by his fans eager to further discuss his work and life. More discussions were enjoyed by the attendees. Some serious, some not, some by friends and some by people who were meeting for the first time.


The massive number of people that turned out is testament to the dedication, passion and affection that we have for native Victoria fauna, particularly our marvellous frogs. We are excited to see what the future holds and hope you’ll join us for it. A million thanks for your support.


For the frogs, Lynette Plenderleith Chair, Frogs Victoria.


P.S. We have plans afoot for remote access to future meetings for all of you who contacted us to let us know that you live too far away to attend events in Melbourne. Watch this space!



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