“This amphibian crossing brigade training program began at Antioch University New England with Environmental Studies alum David Moon.” Sarah Wilson said about an article printed in the Washington Post on May 14th. She and Brett Thelen, science director of Harris Center for Conservation Education in Hancock, N.H. (also Antioch alums), are quoted in the piece.
Wood frogs lie frozen in suspended animation. Salamanders wait below the frost line for the signal to return where they were born. A trifecta of thawing ground, favorable temperature and rain cues them to emerge and migrate to vernal pools for nights of communal courtship and explosive breeding.
When they do, Keene, N.H., is committed to making sure they don’t land under the wheels of passing cars.
For the second year, Keene’s City Council unanimously voted to set up road closures and barriers on nights of major amphibian migration. It’s a two-way gift: nature returns the favor, leaving lasting impressions on those who thrill to see hundreds of frogs hopping out of the woods.
The article also discusses other migrations crossings for rare salamanders, toads, and frogs around the country and the costly infrastructure some towns have put in place to create a permanent solution for amphibians who have likely held the exact same migration patterns for thousands of years.
“My daughter and I got involved in the “critter crossing” about 14 years ago when she was in 5th grade,” Sarah Wilson remembered. “It was something we did together every spring on rainy warm nights when the salamanders and frogs were migrating to their vernal pools. When the author of the article was interviewing Brett about the process, Brett mentioned Emily (my daughter) and me and how we had been doing it for a long time together. In fact, Emily wrote her college essay on amphibian crossing.”