Naturalist Ed Series: Amphibian Life Cycles in the Watershed

Amphibians are thought to be extremely sensitive to changes in the environment and are particularly adapted to specific aquatic conditions for all or part of their life cycle. Join us during the optimal time of year to learn about these amazing, surprisingly adaptive, animals that include frogs, toads and salamanders! We will explore their natural breeding habitats as we travel to Osborn Preserve’s Copeland Creek, looking for amphibians along the way. You will also learn about SSU amphibian research involving breeding, adult behavior, larval habitat requirements, and habitat-use by a variety of different species.


Beth Sabo, Sonoma State University researcher, Girman Lab.

Beth’s research investigates how amphibian larvae share or sort themselves within the complex matrix of stream meso-habitat. Her research looks closely at hydrologic and geomorphologic features that shape creek environments and ponders what associations, if any, are there between small scale stream habitat and amphibian larvae distribution, competition, and / or cohabitation.


Amphibians require moisture for at least a portion of their life cycle. We’ll learn about the life cycle of these indicator species who are sensitive to environmental changes. Explore the riparian and other communities at the preserve to find and observe a wide variety of amphibians. Researcher Beth will provide an insider view about Sonoma State University’s studies involving amphibian life cycles, especially the larvae stage. Beth will teach us about the survey techniques and tools commonly used to conduct this research. Along the way, we’ll learn about the biology of amphibians, how they are affected by climate, habitat loss and environmental degradation, and what we can do to support the conservation of these amazing animals.

This event is part of the Naturalist Ed Series. The event within this Series allows participants the option to become Osborn Naturalists to address nature-deficit disorder. No experience required. Must be age 18 years or older.


The events within the Naturalist Ed Series are held outdoors at SSU’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve, a 15-minute drive from SSU’s main campus. All events occur rain or shine.

The maximum hike is 1 mile with a 200-foot elevation gain. 

Directions are provided in your registration confirmation email. A sink for handwashing, potable water and restrooms are available on site. Please arrive to park in advance of the registered event start time. The preserve gate will be unlocked 15 minutes before the event start time. You will be asked to sign a liability waiver upon your arrival. We will meet outside at the Osborn Education Center which is across the footbridge on the east side of the parking lot. No pets or smoking are permitted.

Parking is limited so please consider carpooling, and let us know if you plan to do this so we can open more registration spots accordingly.

COVID-19 Safety

At registration, you will be asked if you can provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination. All staff are vaccinated. Do not attend if you test positive for COVID-19 or if you have any symptoms that may be indicative of COVID-19, even if you are vaccinated. You are highly encouraged to properly wear a mask when indoors (e.g., education center at Osborn Preserve, carpooling to or from the preserve), even if you are vaccinated. Bandanas, gaiters or vented masks are not suitable. We will spend all of our time outdoors where social distancing is possible. All SSU updated guidelines can be found here.

What to Bring

Please bring a suitable mask, backpack, water bottle, snacks for the trail, writing implement and paper. We recommend layered clothing, covered shoes, a hat, rain gear, sun and insect protection and hand sanitizer. 

How to Sign Up

See registration link below. Each participant should register separately.

This event is free of charge.

About the Center

Sonoma State University’s Center for Environmental Inquiry empowers university students to work with community members on the environmental challenges of the North Bay. Our mission is to create an engaged and environmentally ready society, one where all people have the skills to find solutions to the challenges facing our earth. SSU Preserves are open to everyone engaged in education or research. Reservations are required.

Osborn Naturalists

We offer a Naturalist Ed Series to become an Osborn Naturalist. Please contact Julie Wittmann for more information about how to become an Osborn Naturalist at You can also learn more about becoming an Osborn naturalist here.

Fairfield Osborn Preserve
Admission Fees
Contact Email
Contact Phone
Contact Name
Kerry Wininger
Date & Time Registration Link
Sunday, January, 29, 2023, 10:00am to 1:00pm