This January, I traveled to the ditches of Plaquemines and St Bernard to hear the glorious choruses of winter frogs with the Louisiana Master Naturalists, as part of the North American Amphibian Monitoring Program. Among elders, specialists, and interested naturalists with ears, we silently stood in the shoulder of highway 46 and listened for the breeding chorus of Pseudacris fouquettei, The Cajun Chorus Frog.
I'm sure we looked funny, standing still in the dark as cars passed. But our ears were working to find the calls of these little beauties. We also heard the roar of engines moving past, all part of the sonic environment of St Bernard, and something that doesn't seem to bother the raucous frogs.
We also heard the Peep! of "Spring" Peepers (Pseudacris crucifer ) and the stretched-rubber song of Southern Leopard Frogs.
It may seem silly to stand on the roadside at night, but the night sounds are ours as Louisiana citizens. What will happen to the frogs should the waters be polluted or salted? Where do they evacuate? Article IX of the Louisiana Constitution protects and replenishes the esthetic quality of the environment--and so the frogs are protected as they are singing for their succor. At least the judges have to listen to the frogs--will our legislature? Will the state act to protect and restore the Central Wetland homes of these creatures? Are they, like, us, only here for as long as paradise holds out?
Regardless, paradise is here, now; if we are listening.
Scott Eustis is GRN's coastal wetland specialist and a certified master naturalist in the state of Louisiana.
Learn your frog songs here!
Article IX §1. Natural Resources and Environment; Public Policy Section 1. The natural resources of the state, including air and water, and the healthful, scenic, historic, and esthetic quality of the environment shall be protected, conserved, and replenished insofar as possible and consistent with the health, safety, and welfare of the people. The legislature shall enact laws to implement this policy.