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Your Invitation to Join Team Toad: Help Monitor Boreal Toad Habitat with the Denver Zoo

Colorado’s boreal toads need our help if they’re going to survive. To prevent boreal toad populations from completely disappearing, the Denver Zoo is using their animal care expertise to breed these native amphibians at Denver Zoo and then release the tadpoles into the wild. This will also give wild populations more of a chance to build genetic resistance to the chytrid fungus.

A Boreal Toad in a Chaffee County breeding area. Photo by Lee Coveney.

With funding from Chaffee Common Grounds to expand wildlife education, GARNA is partnering with Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) and the Denver Zoo to take conservation action to bring boreal toads back from the brink.

The Greater Arkansas River Nature Association (GARNA) has partnered with the U.S. Forest Service, CPW, Envision Chaffee County, Chaffee Common Ground, the Chaffee County Visitor’s Bureau, plus several local volunteer groups, to expand education about the boreal toad through signage and now, by recruiting citizen science volunteers to help monitor toad habitat.

To save the boreal toad, the Denver Zoo needs to understand how this toad is doing in Colorado. That’s where volunteers come in. In the summer months, volunteer community scientists will play a key role in boreal toad conservation by monitoring historic toad habitat.

This data will help by identifying future sites for wild reintroduction and locating unknown populations (potentially even ‘super-toads’ that may have a natural resistance to chytrid fungus).

Citizen scientists will support the Boreal Toad Conservation Team (the broader effort to conserve boreal toads in the Southern Rockies). As a member of Team Toad, volunteers will collect key data on boreal toads and their habitat, which researchers need to understand how this species is doing in Colorado and inform species management decisions. Together, partners are working towards a boreal toad that is flourishing rather than disappearing.

The Denver Zoo and GARNA will be providing four guided hikes on June 15-18 to teach volunteers how to monitor and collect data about boreal toad habitat. Hike difficulties range from moderate to advanced, are free and open to the public, and take place in the Chaffee and Lake County high country. Call the GARNA office at 719-539-5106, email, or visit to learn more.

Through community collaboration, GARNA inspires a conservation ethic by providing educational opportunities and experiences so that those who live, work, and play in the Upper Arkansas Valley are motivated to take care of the natural resources and leave a legacy of responsible use of the natural environment.

GARNA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit environmental organization based in Salida, Colorado. To support their work by becoming a member, visit: