It was a warm, spring evening in a small village in Vermont. Patches of snow littered the forest floor, and a slushy precipitation fell from the sky. A deafening chorus of peeps and croaks rang through the night. Little did the inhabitants of this village know, an epic journey was underway.
This journey was the annual migration of a menagerie of amphibians, traveling from their over-wintering sites in forest uplands to their breeding grounds in vernal pools and other wetlands. Triggered by the first warm, rainy nights of spring, hundreds, or even thousands of small creatures simultaneously rise from their long winter slumber to make this expedition to procreate. Over half a dozen different species of frogs and salamanders partake in this dangerous trek, from Spring Peeper to Spotted Salamander. Unfortunately, their migration route is often intercepted by roads. It is a horrifying reality that many of these defenseless animals may never reach their final destination. Road mortality can be detrimental to the amphibians, disturbing or even destroying entire populations.
Thankfully, more and more people are learning of this little-known mass migration. North Branch Nature Center is one of several organizations around the state which has taken on the task of recruiting and training volunteers to act as crossing guards for our four-legged friends, ensuring they live to mate and sustain future generations of their species. Deep down in the mud, Vermont’s frogs and salamanders are still hibernating, but when it comes time to migrate over the next month they will again need our help. To learn more about amphibian migration and NBNC’s Amphibian Monitoring Program, please visit our website or attend one of our trainings sessions and learn how you can monitor and rescue amphibians:
* Thursday, March 17, 6:30 p.m. Phoenix Books, Essex, VT
* Wednesday, March 23, 6:00 p.m. Waitsfield Elementary School, Waitsfield, VT
* Tuesday, March 29, 6:30 p.m. North Branch Nature Center, Montpelier, VT