A large part of AF's mission involves engaging the community on issues impacting the wildlife in their neighborhoods. You can see some of our favorites below:

Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program

Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program

The Metro Atlanta Amphibian Monitoring Program (MAAMP) is a community science program aimed at connecting people with the amphibian communities in their neighborhood. Whether their yard or local park, in Atlanta, there's a great chance there are amphibians there, and increasing our knowledge of which species continue to occur where can help guide efforts to connect amphibian populations throughout the city. Each connection, each yard, each park, can help to make our neighborhood amphibian communities healthier.

The program provides Identification Workshops throughout the city and throughout the year to educate the public and recruit and train community scientists. The MAAMP has its own website, linked below, where you can find species accounts for all 28 species of amphibian native to the Georgia Piedmont, and more information to get involved. The project also collects data through iNaturalist. You can see the data here with over 1,500 observations.

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Copperhead Rescue & Advocacy Program

Copperhead Rescue & Advocacy Program

AF didn't plan to take on Copperhead advocacy and outreach, but since our founding, we began receiving dozens of 'Copperhead' calls. Many of these callers included the fact that they had also killed the snake, and importantly, the vast majority of these snakes were not even Copperheads. We were astounded that only 6% of the calls were actually Copperheads. In other words, 94% of the calls were misidentified snakes, which were often killed, and we felt compelled to find a way to help our reptilian friends.

The Copperhead Rescue and Advocacy Program or if you will, the CRAP, involves giving regular Copperhead workshops in the city to help our community identify facts from fiction, how to live alongside all wildlife, and perhaps most importanly — how to properly identify a Copperhead. We also operate a Copperhead hotline in Atlanta, where our team of trained and certified volunteers will come and safely relocate a confirmed Copperhead, free of charge. AF's Copperhead Hotline: 678 753 4302

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Biology of the Despised

Biology of the Despised

Since 2016, AF has highlighted a different group of maligned and misunderstood creatures — those with the baddest 'bad raps' of all — the truly despised. Each year, during the Atlanta Science Festival (ASF), we partner with the West Atlanta Watershed Alliance (WAWA) to highlight a different despised group, such as Snapping Turtles, Copperheads, toads and snakes.

Did you know that amphibans and reptiles were (non-scientifically) conflated into the field of 'Herpetology' in the 1800's by a Swiss botanist (Linnaeus), who simply 
despised both of those groups, and so he joined them together as God's 'Foul and Loathsome Creatures'? Then, he thanked the Lord for 'not creating many of them' whatever that means.

While we are grateful to Linnaeus for creating binomial nomenclature (Genus/species), we flat out reject his notion and rather, we state these animals are neither 'foul' nor 'loathsome' — we try to address this by meeting myths and rumors with facts and fascination. We often get a lot of people attending these Biology of the Despised events, and we take that as a vey positive sign that there is potential to turn fear into fascination. If you are interested, we do these each March during ASF, just click the link below to see more details and register.

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Annual Salamander Stroll

Annual Salamander Stroll

Since 2016, AF and Clyde Shepherd Nature Preserve (CSNP) (Dekalb County, GA) have been offering the Annual Salamander Stroll and bioblitz (rapid bioinventory assessment) during the Atlanta Science Festival (ASF). March is an optimal time to perform such an amphibious stroll in central Georgia, and this all ages event has proven to be an incredible chance for people to see their first wild salamanders, or see first hand how resilient amphibian communities can be in urban environments when restoration and conservation measures have been effectuated.

For example, when we first started surveying CSNP in 2014, preserve staff informed us that it had been over 20 years since a Spotted Salamander had been seen on the preserve. It's an urban park, and land in developed areas can put a lot of pressure on amphibian communities, particularly for species like Spotted Salamanders, which rely on healthy ephemeral wetlands (short hydroperiod wetlands that typically dry out completely once a year) and they also migrate to and from their breeding pond. Migratory amphibians rely on two intact habitats (uplands + wetlands) as well as unobstructed paths connecting them. CSNP enacted restoration measures, such as removing the invasive plants (with goats!) and constructing an ephemeral wetland to support native amphibians. We started seeding the wetland with some of our baby Spotted Salamanders, and within a few years, we began detecting healthy adult Spotted Salamanders returning to the wetland to breed. The Annual Salamander Stroll is perfectly timed to see Spotted Salamander eggs which were laid by Spotted Salamanders (or their progeny) which were experimentally released by AF staff.

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Bio-inventory of Blue Heron Nature Preserve

Bio-inventory of Blue Heron Nature Preserve

The Blue Heron Nature Preserve is not only home to AF, but it's beautiful and sensitive 30 acres are also home to lots of wildlife — including amphibians. Healthy amphibian communities most often translates to healthy communities of plants and animals. Frogs, toads, salamanders, and newts are excellent indicators of ecosystem health. We partner with the preserve on an iNaturalist community science program in the form of an ongoing bio-inventory of the preserve. You can see the data (and contribute) at the link below.

Please! If you see any toads while visiting BHNP — photograph them and let us know on iNaturalist. We thought there would be more toads when we got here.

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Special Projects List

Special Projects List

We are so grateful for our community's desire to help AF achieve our mission! While there are many ways to get involved listed throughout this website, one low-committment wa y to help is to join our Special Projects List. The Special Projects List is open to all, and when an 'all hands on deck' opportunity arises, which coud be a large-scale project at AF (in Atlanta), or a bioblitz inventory of a park or Wildlife Management Area, or anything, we'll send a message out on the list, and if you are available to help — great!

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Conservation Research Bridge Program — FAQs

  • What do I get from attending the Bridge Program at the Amphibian Foundation?

    There are many benefits to joining us as a Research Assistant or Research Scholar in the Bridge Program for Conservation Research. Benefits such as:

    • A broadened set of skills within the fields of conservation biology, experimental biology, organismal biology, all focusing on a variety of related disciplines.
    • Field and laboratory experience
    • Certification as a Master Herpetologist
    • Certification in Handling & Management in Venomous Reptiles
    • Mentored Research Experience
    • Cultivation of a network of research, academic, and agency professionals
    • Contribution to the conservation of state and federally listed endangered species
    • Career support in the form of recommendations, resume and CV building
    • Article writing and publications (2+ semesters)
    • Mentored Research design and implementation (2+ semesters)
    • Professional & Scientific presentations at conferences (Winter semester)
  • Who can enroll in the Conservation Research Bridge Program?

    All Bridge Program students must:

    • Be at least 18 years old at the time the program starts.
    • Follow written English and verbal instructions from program staff.
    • Follow the AF code of conduct regarding in-person and online activities.
    • Be able to move about independently or with a companion assistant in a range of outdoor wilderness habitats including but not limited to aquatic wetlands, forests, and urban parks.
    • Communicate clearly and efficiently with staff and peers about safety concerns or problems.
    • Make scheduled payments on time.
    • Have access to a home computer or laptop and a working cell phone.
    • Follow biosecurity and COVID protocols at all times.
  • Does it matter in which semester I enroll?

    Students can expect a similar training experience, regardless of which semester they are enrolled in. That said, certain opportunities are heightened during key activity periods of the year. For example, During Winter semesters (Dec-April), there is an increase in focus on Flatwoods Salamander monitoring, and during the Summer semesters (May-Sept), there is heightened focus on rearing Gopher Frog tadpoles for experimental release into the wild, and urban turtle community monitoring on our nature preserve.

    Here is a list of studies which occur year-round:

    Lab Husbandry + Propagation
    Urban Ecology
    Science Communication
    Course Enrollment
    Venomous Training & Certification
    Field Studies
    Amphibian Disease Studies
    Microbiome + Invasive Species Studies
    Biomechanics Studies
    Behavioral Studies

  • Can you help me find housing?

    Absolutely! Many of you are coming from outside the greater Atlanta area, and will need to at least temporarily relocated to participate in the Bridge Program. We are happy to help find suitable housing, and potentially suggest AF staff, interns, and volunteers looking for roomates.

  • When can I start?

    Preferably, you can start at the beginning of any of the three semesters (Spring, Summer, and Fall). We are happy to make arrangements with you if that is not possible.

  • What does tuition include?

    Tuition costs include on-campus instruction, courses + certifications, field equipment (boots, waders, etc ...), mentoring and access to the AF labs, libraries, resources, and connections

  • What does tuition not include?

    Housing, food, transport, and laptop (recommended), though there is a dedicated Apple computer with loaded software, in the Bridge.

  • Are scholarships, grants, and awards available?

    The Conservation Research Bridge Program is a tuition supported program, though we are actively seeking out grants and awards to support scholarships for students. There are several scholarships currently available, which can be viewed here. Once you apply to the program, we will work with you to apply all applicable and available scholarships.

  • Does the Bridge Program accept international students?

    Yes! While we are happy to assist with supporting documents and the visa application in general, the application itself is the responsibility of the applicant.

An introduction to the founding of the Conservation Research Bridge Program

Available Scholarships and Grant Awards

AF aggressively applies for grants and awards to support tuition relief for our prospective Research Assistants.

Available Scholarships are Listed Here.