SAVE THE FROGS! is recruiting volunteers to help build a wetland for Illinois Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris illinoensis) in the Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois. The event will take place April 27th and 28th, 2023 in celebration of the the 15th Annual Save The Frogs Day! What better way to celebrate the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation than in a beautiful wildlife refuge with fellow amphibian enthusiasts?
Volunteers will get hands-on ecological experience and learn a tremendous amount about wetland construction and restoration, as well as amphibian ecology and conservation. Attendees will have the opportunity to help build a wetland, learn about the rare Illinois Chorus Frog and its unique sand prairie habitat, and explore life in a wetland.
The project takes place from 9am to 4pm, rain or shine, on Thursday, April 27th and Friday April 28th, 2023. Volunteers can help on either or both days.
The project is being led by wetland expert Tom Biebighauser, who has been training SAVE THE FROGS! staff and volunteers since 2014 and has built over 2,850 wetlands. Tom is the Founder of Wetland Restoration and Training LLC and Co-Founder of the Sheltowee Environmental Education Coalition. SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and biologist Steph Bishir of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) will be assisting with logistics, educational activities, volunteer coordination and communicating the project to the general public.
There is no cost to participate, though volunteers are responsible for their own transportation, food and lodging, and donations are welcome and encouraged.
Please spread the word about this exceptional learning opportunity and fill out the Volunteer Expression Of Interest Form below if you would like to participate.
Enjoy these photos from the April 27th and April 28th, 2023 wetland construction events at Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois!
Illinois Chorus Frogs Wetland Construction: Project Info
The Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge is a fabulous place for nature, wildlife and outdoor activities.
You’re invited to help build a wetland for the threatened Illinois Chorus Frogs (Pseudacris illinoensis). The wetland construction site is in the refuge, which has a past history of farming activities that have degraded the amphibian habitat. The wetland we will build is one of 12 that have been designed, many of which are scheduled to be built in March 2023.
Tom Biebighauser will be onsite directing the construction of the wetlands. SAVE THE FROGS! Founder Dr. Kerry Kriger and Steph Bishir of the USFWS will be on site leading educational activities.
Your volunteer participation will directly assist Illinois Chorus Frogs!
What Volunteers Will Learn
You will learn how to build naturally appearing and functioning wetlands for the Illinois Chorus Frogs and other rare species.
Tom Biebighauser will explain how to use a laser level, tape measure, and soil auger to design wetlands, and how to dig a basin for a wetland, lay in an aquatic-safe plastic liner, cover it with soil and seed the new wetland with native vegetation. You will learn Tom’s highly effective techniques for building low-cost, naturally-appearing and functioning wetlands that require little to no maintenance.
Aside from our focus on Illinois Chorus Frogs, we will also learn about and look for Small-Mouthed Salamanders (Ambystoma texanum) and Eastern Tiger Salamanders (Ambystoma tigrinum). And we may go dip-netting for invertebrates.
“This is going to be fun!” – Tom Biebighauser
We need your help building these wetlands. You’ll be actively engaged in hands-on training to create breeding habitat for Illinois Chorus Frogs.
Our goal is that you help on site and also get inspired to build wetlands on your own, using what you learn at this event in combination with the detailed information in Tom Biebighauser’s book “Wetland Restoration And Construction – A Technical Guide”, and the SAVE THE FROGS! Academy Wetlands Course.
There is no fee to register or to participate in this training.
Participants must pay for their own food, travel, and lodging. There are a number of hotels located in Jacksonville, IL, about a 20-minute drive from the refuge; at Jim Edgar Panther Creek (a 30-minute drive), there are tent sites and cabins.
Bring gloves, a garden rake, high visibility vest, and hardhat if you have them (we plan to have extras you may borrow). Bring your own lunch and water. Dress warm and bring a raincoat. Rain pants can come in handy too!
There has never been a better time to get outside, breathe the fresh air and do something beneficial for the planet, so we hope you can attend!
Below is a map of the event location (the green triangle), about seven miles north of the town of Meredosia, IL. We will be restoring a wetland at Kloker Prairie, in the Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge.
Spread The Word
This training is designed for anyone who wants to learn how to build wetlands, including biologists, students, teachers, kids, heavy equipment operators, consultants, engineers, soil scientists, hydrologists, and private land owners. Please share this webpage with others who might be interested!
Volunteer Expression Of Interest Form
If you are interested in participating in this project, please complete the Volunteer Expression of Interest Form below so we know the days you are available. We will be in touch once we hear from you.
Meet The Project Leaders
Tom Biebighauser has restored over 2,850 wetlands and streams across Canada, in 26 States, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, and Taiwan, since 1979. He has developed highly effective and low-cost techniques for building wetlands and streams for endangered and threatened species of plants and animals. Tom retired from the US Forest Service in 2013, after working 34 years as a Wildlife Biologist, where he initiated wetland and stream restoration programs across the United States. Having built over 1,400 dams, he has since decommissioned over 300 dams. Tom instructs a Graduate-level class on Wetland Design at the University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering, along with classes for the University of Alberta and the British Columbia Institute Technology. He has written four books about wetland restoration, and has received 44 awards for his outstanding contributions.
Dr. Kerry Kriger
Dr. Kerry Kriger is the Founder & Executive Director of SAVE THE FROGS!. He conceived Save The Frogs Day, the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action, and has given over 450 presentations on amphibian conservation in 20+ countries. Dr. Kriger holds a Ph.D. in Environmental Science from Griffith University in Gold Coast, Australia, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. He is a recognized expert on the amphibian disease chytridiomycosis, a topic on which he has published 20 articles in peer-reviewed international scientific journals. Dr. Kriger is also the Founder of Nonprofit ICU, through which he provides consulting and mentorship to nonprofit executives, and Zero2Webmaster, a web design agency with a special interest in creating websites dedicated to environmental protection.
Stephanie has served as a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service since 2016. She has worked with a number of Refuges in the Midwest, including Big Stone NWR, St. Croix WMD, and Big Oaks NWR. Stephanie holds an M.S. degree from Southeast Missouri State University, where her studies focused on wood frog movements and habitat use. She continues to have a keen interest in amphibian conservation, and is working to improve amphibian habitat and increase the presence of the state-threatened Illinois Chorus frog on the Refuge. She also works on a variety of other projects and surveys throughout the year, including waterfowl and shorebird migration counts, invasive plant species control, tree plantings, and prescribed fires. You can contact Stephanie at: email@example.com
Phone: 309-535-2290 ext.12
Wetland Project Design Form
The first step to building a successful wetland is to design it…determine its location, size, the construction method that will be used, etc; and then to document all the project requirements. Below you can read Tom’s very thorough wetland design report, which details the specifics of the Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge wetland restoration project. We plan to be building Wetland Number 8, which is detailed in the document. You can download the PDF.Meredosia-Illinois-Kloker-Prairie-Wetland-Project-1-11
Save The Frogs Day
This wetland restoration and training event is being held in celebration of Save The Frogs Day, the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action! Be sure to check out the Save The Frogs Day homepage and the 2023 Save The Frogs Day webpage as well.
“I’ve loved frogs since I was a kid and as an adult I have a huge appreciation for the role both they and their wetland habitats play in our ecological systems.”
– Chris Schwartz, Wetland Vounteer and Frog Artist
Please contact us with any questions.
Project Leader Stephanie Bishir standing by one of four wetlands built at Meredosia National Wildlife Refuge in Illinois in March 2023. Photo by Lenore Sobota