Amphibian Friends Newsletter 2019

by Kim White

Dear Amphibian Friends,

While updating our newsletter I am home from school enjoying another snow day, but warm weather is soon to come so we better prepare for our twelfth year of helping the amphibians cross St. Peters and Wells Roads. Yes, with the help of all of you, the North Coventry Township officials and the North Coventry Police we have helped many, many amphibians migrate safely.

My amateur weather forecaster husband says that after March 10th the winter will be over and we will get some warmer weather and a nice thaw. All of those Spotted Salamanders, Jefferson Salamanders and Wood Frogs are just waiting for a warm rainy night to make their move across the road.

Migrations begin during a February or March thaw and are usually finished by early April. On average we have about 3 or 4 nights that we may need to be outside helping the amphibians cross. Here are the three conditions that need to be met if there is going to be a migration:

1.  Temperatures above freezing

2.  Actively raining or very wet

3.  Dark

The safety of our volunteers is of utmost importance.  All children must have VERY close adult supervision and stay on Wells Road, which the North Coventry Township and North Coventry Police allow us to close so the children can watch and help the amphibians.

Guidelines for Volunteers

  • Please come dressed for the weather.  Bring a flashlight (head lamps are popular), rain gear, and a non-metallic bucket. Safety vests will be given out at check-in.
  • Wells Rd. will be closed from Saint Peters Rd. down to a coned off area. It is best to drive in from Hill Camp Rd., onto Wells Rd. and park on the right side of Wells Rd. up to the cones.
  • Walk up and check-in at my blue Highlander at the top of St. Peters Rd. and Wells Rd. before heading out onto St. Peters Rd. You will be given instructions and a vest.
  • Volunteers will position themselves on a segment of St. Peters Rd. and watch that section.  The majority of amphibians need help crossing St. Peters Rd. directly in front of the vernal pool and a short distance to the north.
  • If a vehicle approaches, you will pick up any amphibians that are in danger and help them cross the road in the direction that they were heading. Sometimes it is very hard to tell so we take them to the side most amphibians are travelling. Bare clean hands are best so it doesn’t interfere with the protective coating on the amphibian’s skin.
  • We are NOT allowed to impede traffic in any way.
  • Try to keep a rough tally of what kind of amphibians you see, how many you see, and which way they are crossing.  When you are finished volunteering for the night, please checkout and let us know what you tallied.  The migration usually begins at dusk and the traffic slows by 9 or 10 depending on what night of the week it is. 

If you received this email, you are on the email alert list. This means I will send out an email alert to let you know if I think the weather conditions are optimal for a migration.  I try to get an email out in the afternoon. If evening comes and you are still in doubt whether to come out, call my cell. I will take a good guess at what the amphibians are going to decide to do.

Thank you,

Kim White, Coordinator of Volunteers