Oregon Spotted Frog Rearing

In early 2009, we began an unprecedented partnership with the Oregon Spotted Frog Recovery Group to rear endangered Oregon spotted frogs. The Oregon spotted frog (OSF; Rana pretiosa) is a state endangered and federally threatened species. This warm water marsh specialist has vanished from over 70% of its historic range. Under the direction of Senior Research Scientist Dr. Marc Hayes, inmates and staff at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center worked with Evergreen graduate students and other rearing institutions to augment the amphibian’s populations in the Puget Sound region. This was SPP’s first conservation program working with an endangered animal; as far as we know, it was the first prison program of its kind.

Oregon spotted frog in a rearing tank at Cedar Creek Corrections Center. Photo by Matthew Williams of the New York Times.

Oregon spotted frog in a rearing tank at Cedar Creek Corrections Center. Photo by Matthew Williams of the New York Times.

From the start, inmates in the program proved to be fully capable conservation technicians. They followed animal husbandry protocols with care and diligence. They achieved high rates of survival and reared large, mature frogs. The support of prison staff and student coordinators was also critical, and their combined efforts brought many Oregon spotted frogs into the world: in six seasons, inmates, staff, and students raised and released 879 frogs to wetland sites!

The program operated for six seasons between 2009 and 2015. The program is likely on hold while scientists shift attentions to assessing which recovery strategies work best. For us, it is an opportunity to reflect on successes and the many contributors who have dedicated their time to this effort.

SPP program coordinator Fiona Edwards prepares to release an Oregon spotted frog that was reared at CCCC. Photo by Sadie Gilliom.

SPP program coordinator Fiona Edwards prepares to release an Oregon spotted frog that was reared at CCCC. Photo by Sadie Gilliom.

Planete Grenouille (“Planet Frog”) was an exhibition at the the National Natural History Museum in Paris throughout the summer of 2013.

Planete Grenouille (“Planet Frog”) was an exhibition at the the National Natural History Museum in Paris throughout the summer of 2013; the exhibition included several photos of SPP’s program by Cyril Ruoso. Photo by Brittany Gallagher.

Blogs on the Oregon spotted frog program

A Technician’s Experience in a Room Full of Frog Scientists (2016)

Frog Release 2015: Celebrating the Program that Paved the Way! (2015)

Working with the Oregon Spotted Frog (2015)

New Turtle & Frog Technicians (2015)

Freedom of the Frogs! (2014)

New Coordinator for the Frog and Turtle Program (2014)

Planète Grenouille (2013)

246 Oregon spotted frogs released on September 24th! (2012)

SPP Oregon Spotted Frog Program Transitions (2012)

SPP at Save the Frogs (2012)

New Frog Rearing Practices at Cedar Creek (2012)

59 Frogs released at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in March! (2012)

Inmate Frog Technicians Experiment with Cricket Rearing (2012)

DOC Enables Former Frog Technician to Join in the Annual OSF Release Event (2011)

Annual Oregon spotted frog release! (2011)

Frog Predator Response Experiment at CCCC (2011)

Frog Project Initiates New Research (2011)

Farewell Frogs! (2010)

Offenders Prepare for Frog Release (2010)

New Frogs Have Arrived! (2010)

Frog Project Receives Grant from Oregon Zoo Foundation (2010)

Saving frogs takes teamwork (2009)